Wichita The man charged in the killing of a Kansas abortion provider has sent a letter to the president of Operation Rescue, accusing him of “cowardice” in condemning the shooting while seeking to protect himself.
The letter from Scott Roeder is the latest split in a widening rift between mainstream anti-abortion groups and those that advocate violence against abortion providers. The Associated Press obtained a copy of the letter Friday.
Roeder is charged with first-degree murder and aggravated assault in the May 31 shooting of Dr. George Tiller at his church. Roeder has pleaded not guilty.
Operation Rescue president Troy Newman confirmed that he received the letter Thursday but declined to comment other than calling it “more prattle” from Roeder. Newman said Roeder’s letter, the second he has now gotten, was forwarded to a detective.
In the letter, Roeder chided Newman for seeking protection for himself after getting death threats from abortion rights supporters following Tiller’s shooting.
“Why is it so difficult to proclaim the humanity of the unborn child? Could it be that this is so politically incorrect and there might and most probably would come a wave of persecution along with it,” Roeder wrote.
He also took issue with statements by Operation Rescue that regulators were on the verge of pulling Tiller’s medical license, by which the group was referring to a disciplinary petition pending at the time of Tiller’s death.
“Two more months would have meant approx. 300 more babies would have lost their lives,” Roeder wrote. “Is this what you call Operation Rescue?”
Anti-abortion groups, including Operation Rescue, have widely condemned Tiller’s killing. But the condemnation from Newman — who has publicly called Roeder a “lunatic” — rankled Roeder and some other abortion opponents.