(Photo: AP Images / Charlie Riedel, file)
The Kansas-based abortion clinic of the late George Tiller will be "permanently closed," effective immediately, his family announced Tuesday.
In a statement released by their attorney, family members of the late-term abortion doctor said they will be "ceasing operation of the clinic and any involvement by family members in any other similar clinic."
Tiller had run the Women's Health Care Services clinic in Wichita from 1975 until last week, when he was shot and killed during a Sunday service at his Lutheran church.
"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," said the Tiller family just days after Tiller’s funeral, which drew more than 850 people. "That is a legacy that will never die."
Tiller's family also assured patients that the privacy of their medical histories and patient records will remain protected.
The clinic had been not been open since Tiller's murder on May 31.
Nebraska-based abortion practitioner LeRoy Carhart, who was friends with Tiller, had earlier told the Nebraska State Paper that he would take over the Wichita clinic.
The head of Operation Rescue, a pro-life activist group in Wichita that has long protested against Tiller's clinic, said he was thankful for the clinic's closure but would have wanted the outcome to have been achieved through "peaceful" means.
"This is a bittersweet moment for us at Operation Rescue. We have worked very hard for this day, but we wish it would have come through the peaceful, legal channels that we were pursuing," said the group's president Troy Newman.
"We believe we were very close to seeing disciplinary action taken against Tiller's license that would have closed this clinic through due process," he added.
In March, Tiller, one of the few late-term abortion practitioners in the country, was acquitted of 19 charges of illegal abortions but still faced 11 allegations that were being investigated by the Kansas State Board of Healing Arts.
Among the petition counts, Tiller was charged with performing an abortion on a fetus that was viable without having a documented referral from another physician not legally or financially affiliated with him.
An abortion patient filed the complaints against Tiller and his employee, abortionist Shelley Sella, after she suffered substantial complications from a late-term abortion performed at his clinic in September.
According to Operation Rescue, the investigation into Tiller's charges has now been closed but complaints against his employee, abortionist Shelley Sella, are still open and the investigations still pending.
While many Christian pro-life groups had strongly opposed Tiller's late-term abortion procedures, many strongly denounced his murder.
“Clearly the killing of abortion providers is unbiblical, unchristian and un-American. Such callous disregard for human beings brutalizes everyone,” wrote Dr. Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, in a commentary.
Pro-lifers were also quick to adamantly reject any connections between the pro-life movement and 51-year-old Scott Roeder, the suspected shooter in Tiller's death, who was formally charged last Tuesday with first-degree murder and aggravated assault.
Reports on the suspect describe him as being anti-abortion, anti-government, and “very religious” but in an Old Testament “eye-for-an-eye way.” A preliminary hearing on his case is set for June 16.