Closing of Tiller's clinic evokes mixed reactions

George Tiller's clinic will close in the wake of the Wichita abortion provider's shooting death, his family said Tuesday through its lawyers.

As abortion rights proponents decried the loss of one of the few clinics in the nation that performed late-term procedures, abortion opponents called the clinic's closing a bittersweet victory.

Lee Thompson and Dan Monnat, the family's lawyers, said in a statement that the clinic, Women's Health Care Services, which had ceased operations after Tiller's death, will be permanently closed.

Tiller family members will not be involved in any other similar clinic, the statement said. There was no indication what would happen to the building at 5107 E. Kellogg or its equipment.

The family said the privacy of patients' medical records would "remain as fiercely protected now and in the future as they were during Dr. Tiller's lifetime," but would not elaborate.

Tiller was shot to death May 31 in the foyer of the Wichita church he attended. Scott Roeder, 51, has been charged with first-degree murder.

"We are proud of the service and courage shown by our husband and father and know that women's health care needs have been met because of his dedication and service," the family said, adding that they plan to honor Tiller's memory through private charitable activities.

The Kansas National Organization for Women responded to news of the clinic's closing in a statement, saying it was "confident that another provider will step forward and pick up the torch in continuing to provide reproductive health services in Wichita."

With the Wichita clinic closed, the closest abortion providers are now in Overland Park, about a three-hour drive each way.

Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri, which runs a clinic that provides abortions in Overland Park, would not comment on the closing.

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