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

the U.S. Constitution. However, the established link between forms of intimidation and violence against abortion providers requires heightened diligence on the part of state actors to monitor potential threats, provide proper training to law enforcement and other public officials to offer the same level of protection to abortion providers as other human rights defenders, and promptly investigate instances when public expression crosses the line to threatening behavior. Because the law treats abortion providers differently than other healthcare providers, the U.S. government has failed to adequately protect Dr. Tiller from attacks on his physical security or provide an adequate remedy once attacks have occurred.

II. Government Regulations and Restrictions on the Right to an Abortion

The state has a duty to respect the right of human rights defenders to the lawful exercise of their profession. However, the federal and state governments are making it increasingly difficult for Dr. Tiller to exercise this human right, in turn compromising his ability to provide comprehensive reproductive healthcare to his patients. A panoply of state and federal laws create a complicated legal minefield, placing him at greater risk of legal liability than physicians who provide comparable medical services. He works with fear of criminal sanctions, civil liability, or loss of his medical license if he unintentionally fails to comply with one of the many regulations governing every aspect of his medical practice.

A. Criminal Penalties and other Severe Sanctions

Laws that single out abortion providers regulate everything from the methods physicians use to perform abortions, the physical plant requirements of their facilities, and staffing levels and qualifications. Failure to comply with these requirements can result in substantial criminal sanctions, civil penalties, or loss of medical licensure. In contrast, all
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SOURCE Center for Reproductive Rights
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