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Center for Reproductive Rights Deeply Saddened by Murder of Dr. George Tiller
Date:5/31/2009

ive health and reproductive autonomy.

Since the constitutional right to an abortion was recognized in the U.S. Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade in 1973, U.S. physicians who provide abortions have been targeted for harmful treatment by both state and non-state actors. Anti-abortion extremists, who cannot legally prohibit women from exercising their rights, target physicians to make it nearly impossible for them to provide abortion services. Despite frequent attacks on his physical security, professional reputation, and personal and family life, Dr. Tiller has kept his clinic doors open because of his commitment to women's human right to reproductive healthcare.

Dr. Tiller, like other physicians who provide abortions in the U.S., is forced to work under circumstances far more dangerous and difficult than other healthcare providers. There is a long history of violations to physicians' physical security--including murder, attempted murder, and assault and battery--without adequate protection from the state. Physicians providing abortions increasingly are faced with other forms of violence and harassment, including destruction of personal property, smear campaigns, intimidation of family members, and stalking.

The government has failed to take adequate measures to protect Dr. Tiller. Federal and state laws are inadequate to deter many forms of violence and harassment directed at him and his family, and enforcement of protective laws that do exist has waned in recent years. Further, the 2 state and federal government have passed legislation targeting abortion providers like Dr. Tiller with threats of criminal penalties and other sanctions that are not imposed on providers of comparable medical services. State laws in Kansas are specifically designed to impose additional burdens on abortion providers, with an explicit view towards shutting down Dr. Tiller's clinic. Finally, state actors have allowed private groups
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SOURCE Center for Reproductive Rights
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