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

ake adequate measures to protect Dr. Tiller, such as ordering federal marshal protection, despite a known, significant association between severe intimidation tactics and violence against abortion clinic staff and physicians. Tellingly, Dr. Tiller's would-be assassin had participated in the Summer of Mercy blockades as a member of the Army of God, an underground network that believes violence is acceptable and justifiable to end abortion. The correlation between intimidation and severe violence continues today. In 2005, clinics facing one or more forms of intimidation were three times more likely to experience violence compared with clinics that experienced no intimidation tactics. Although the incidence of severe clinic violence has decreased over the past decade, moderate-level violence -- including vandalism, home picketing, and home or clinic invasions -- is on the rise.

Severe violence has decreased in large part because providers have been forced to take extreme security measures that are expensive and burdensome to maintain. Dr. Tiller wears a bullet proof vest. He moved to a home in a gated community with a state-of-the-art security system and barrier wall in order to protect himself and his family from shootings by extremists. His clinic has spent thousands of dollars to install maximum security measures, including security barriers, bulletproof glass, metal detectors, and security cameras. Maintenance of alarm systems and security personnel amount to tens of thousands of dollars per year. Although Dr. Tiller has been placed under federal marshal protection for brief periods of time, in general he must provide and pay for his own security.

The 1994 Federal Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act aims to protect physicians providing abortions and women seeking to access clinics. It was successfully used to prosecute Dr. Tiller's attacker. However, FACE provides only narrow protection against the most severe forms of violence,
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SOURCE Center for Reproductive Rights
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