Prison: Abortion doctor’s killer intimidated woman

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — The man convicted of killing one of the country’s few late-term abortion providers violated prison rules by trying to intimidate the woman who recently reopened the doctor’s clinic in Kansas, a state prison official said Wednesday.

Scott Roeder is serving a life sentence for fatally shooting Dr. George Tiller inside a Wichita church in 2009. In a recorded jailhouse call, Roeder tells an anti-abortion activist that reopening Tiller’s clinic “is almost like putting a target on your back.” The other activist posted the call on YouTube in April.

Following a closed disciplinary hearing, prison officials decided the call amounted to intimidation. Roeder will be punished with 45 days in disciplinary segregation with no outside communication, followed by 60 days of loss of privileges and a $20 fine, said Kansas Department of Corrections spokesman Jeremy Barclay.

During the recorded phone call, the other anti-abortion activist is heard saying that if someone shot the new abortion provider like Roeder shot Tiller, it would be “a blessing to the babies.” He said reopening the clinic where Tiller practiced was “a gauntlet thrown down, by someone who wants a fight.”

Roeder laughed and agreed.

“To walk in there and reopen a clinic, a murder mill where a man was stopped, it’s almost like putting a target on your back — saying, ‘Well, let’s see if you can shoot me,’” Roeder said on the recording.

Julie Burkhart, executive director of the abortion rights group Trust Women, in April opened Wichita’s first abortion clinic since Tiller’s death. The South Wind Women’s Center, which provides abortions and other medical services, is in the building that once housed Tiller’s clinic.

Burkhart did not immediately respond to a phone message seeking comment on Wednesday.

Roeder declined to comment on the administrative charge, but he was unapologetic in an email to The Associated Press on Monday. He accused Burkhart of disregarding his pleas to stop, saying opening the clinic was “blatantly asking God to swiftly judge this nation.”

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