For Immediate Release
Mai Shiozaki, 202-628-8669, ext. 116; cell 202-641-1906
NOW Applauds Life Sentence for Roeder, Calls for Anti-Abortion Rights Violence to be Acknowledged as Terrorism
Statement of NOW President Terry O'Neill
WASHINGTON - The National Organization for Women is grateful that anti-abortion
rights murderer Scott Roeder was given a life sentence for his
deliberate killing of Dr. George Tiller last May. Judge Warren Wilbert
made a just decision in handing down the strictest sentence possible,
ensuring that Roeder will not be eligible for parole for 51 years and
eight months (even with possible time off for good behavior).
Dr. Tiller was a courageous and caring doctor who provided women with
safe and legal abortions. Because he was one of the few doctors in this
country who performed late-term procedures, many of the women he
treated were in desperate circumstances with no where else to turn. In
order to treat his patients, Dr. Tiller braved blockades, harassment,
assault and countless threats, as well as a previous attempt on his
life. He knew his life was in constant jeopardy, and that he would
likely die at the hands of an anti-abortion rights terrorist. Roeder saw
to it that this tragedy came true.
While Roeder will sit in jail for the rest of his life, the issue of
anti-abortion rights terrorism is far greater than one man. For decades,
NOW has worked to put an end to clinic violence. Doctors, security
guards, clinic escorts, even receptionists have been murdered. Others
have been severely wounded. Clinics have been bombed, set on fire and
otherwise vandalized. All in the name of denying women their fundamental
right to the full range of reproductive health services.
As we've seen recently, factions of the radical right are getting
riled up again. But any reproductive rights advocate can tell you that
they have long been riled up when it comes to women having control over
their own bodies. And we've seen how ugly it can get. Brave physicians
like Dr. LeRoy Carhart are trying to fill the gap left by Dr. Tiller, to
carry the torch of reproductive freedom, but they can't do it without
protection and support.
NOW calls once again on the U.S. Justice Department to investigate
this hostile campaign, and to prosecute both the assassins and the
ringleaders of what rightly can be termed terrorism.
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The National Organization for Women (NOW) is the largest organization of feminist activists in the United States. NOW has 500,000 contributing members and 550 chapters in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.