(Washington D.C., June 2, 2009) The American Humanist Association laments the murder of Dr. George Tiller, who was shot and killed while attending a church service in Wichita, Kansas on Sunday. Dr. Tiller had been the target of repeated anti-abortion protests and attacks for being one of only a few doctors who would provide late-term abortions.
“Dr. Tiller was a brave warrior for women’s reproductive health,” said Karen Frantz, communications and policy manager for the American Humanist Association. “There is no doubt he saved women’s lives, and he continued to do so even while facing threats against his own life.”
The vast majority of late-term abortions are done when the life or health of the mother is in danger, or when the fetus suffers from extreme developmental abnormalities. The procedure is mired in legal and cultural controversy, and this highly charged nature of late-term abortion has led some to question whether Dr. Tiller’s shooting was motivated by religion.
“Regardless of whether Dr. Tiller’s murderer was motivated by religious beliefs, there can be no denying that religion has often fueled the most fanatical elements within the anti-choice camp,” said American Humanist Association president David Niose.
“The fanaticism of religious extremists demonstrates why public policy should be based on rational analysis and sound science,” Niose continued. “Most theological interpretations cannot be thoroughly and intelligently debated, and they should not be part of the policy debate.”
The American Humanist Association (www.americanhumanist.org) advocates for the rights and viewpoints of humanists. Founded in 1941 and headquartered in Washington, D.C., its work is extended through over 100 local chapters and affiliates across the United States.
Humanism is a progressive philosophy of life that, without theism, affirms our responsibility to lead ethical lives of value to self and humanity.