Local Abortion Activist React to Doctor Tiller's Death

June 1, 2009 7:37:16 PM PDT
Security is being stepped up at clinics around the country after the weekend murder of a Kansas doctor who provided late-term abortions. Doctor George Tiller was shot in a Kansas Church Sunday morning. Police say 51-year-old Scott Roeder is the gunman. Roeder is associated with several anti-abortion groups. The death of Doctor Tiller has drawn strong reaction from local abortion opponents and supporters.

Fresno's Planned Parenthood is a frequent target for protesters. But on Monday none showed up. Both sides sat back and reflected on Doctor Tiller's death. Josh Brahm is an antiabortion activist who works with Right to Life Central California. He said, "It's just senseless." Patsy Montgomery supports abortion rights and works at Planned Parenthood. She said, "I was shocked and saddened.""

Fresno has two clinics where abortions are performed: Planned Parenthood in Central Fresno and Family Planning Associates in downtown. The US marshal service increased security for some clinics across the country. But not at local facilities which also reported no threats.

Local abortion opponents said the doctor's murder casts a negative spotlight on their movement. Brahm said, "People think that it's connect to major profile organizations like us and it's like ... No these are crazy ridiculous who have nothing to do with us. But people are going to make the connection anyway and that makes my job harder."

Montgomery said her staff is always on a heightened state of alert and her supporters continue to stand by them, "Sharing their prayers, their wishes, we had a wonderful woman who saw protesters outside one of our health centers in Merced and walked in and wrote out a very generous check and donation to us"

Montgomery and Brahm remain far apart when it comes to abortion rights. But they agree the doctor's death is a horrible tragedy.

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