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

iolence -- against doctors providing abortions. Dr. Tiller was featured in "most-wanted" posters resembling the posters used by the FBI to track down most-wanted criminals. Some of these posters offered a $1,000 reward for stopping physicians from performing abortions. Two physicians featured on these posters were later assassinated. Some anti-abortion extremists, including the extremist who tried to murder Dr. Tiller, defend the murder of abortion providers as "justifiable homicide." These actions are facilitated by websites such as the infamous "Nuremburg Files," which until it was shut down by a federal judge in 1999 published the names, addresses, and other identifying information of abortion providers, with the names of those who had been killed crossed out in black.

Smear campaigns are carefully coordinated by anti-abortion extremists to pressure abortion clinics to go out of business. Employees of Dr. Tiller's clinic have been subjected to continuous smear campaigns since the 2004 "Year of Rebuke" organized by the anti-abortion group Operation Rescue. The "name and shame" campaign involved targeted picketing of each clinic employee. Protesters picketed outside private homes, mailed postcards to the neighbors of clinic employees, greeted employees at restaurants with photos of mangled fetuses, and even sorted through employees' home garbage. They also drove a moving billboard of bloody postabortion fetuses around the neighborhoods where clinic employees live and work. Operation Rescue even mounted an attack against over 200 companies doing business with the clinic or Dr. Tiller personally, demanding that they cease their affiliations or face a boycott. Recently, antiabortion extremists in Wichita have begun a public intimidation and shaming campaign entitled "People Are Watching," where they wear binoculars and stake out the movements of Dr. Tiller and his employees.

Many of these forms of harassment are protected speech under
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SOURCE Center for Reproductive Rights
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