Wichita — A doctor who was once shot by an anti-abortion protester said he would mark the 29th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision on Saturday with a day of free first-trimester abortions for low-income women.
"We are in essence spitting in the eye of the opposition that say poor women should not have a termination of pregnancy," Dr. George Tiller said Friday.
Some 32 women had signed up for the procedures by Friday, he said.
The Supreme Court handed down the decision legalizing abortion on Jan. 22, 1973.
Tiller called it disgraceful that the poorest women have been denied abortions because federal money covers the cost of abortion for a low-income woman only when the pregnancy threatens her life or is the result of rape or incest.
He said he performs free abortions during the year that he has not publicized, and has signed up for the Sedgwick County's program offering free health care for disadvantaged people. A first-trimester abortion costs about $325.
His announcement of the free abortions has galvanized anti-abortion forces, who say people from around the country have called to say they plan to come to Wichita Saturday for protests outside his clinic.
Tiller, who has avoided media interviews in the past, said he was speaking out now because there was no better time to celebrate the freedom brought on by the Roe v. Wade decision.