George Tiller

When Dr. George Tiller, the U.S.'s best-known provider of late-term abortions, was shot in the head on the morning of May 31 while serving as an usher at his Lutheran church in Wichita, Kans., both sides of the abortion debate braced for battle. Supporters called him a martyr; critics called him a murderer. Both groups deplored his killing: abortion-rights activists warned that it could signal a fresh wave of clinic violence; abortion opponents warned that it would lead to the demonizing of their movement.

Tiller, who had originally planned to become a dermatologist, lived with the knowledge that his actions made...

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