Pro-life groups have planned a series of prayer and memorial events for this weekend in Wichita, Kan., where late-term abortion doctor George Tiller was killed late last month.
The two-day effort, named "A Time for Healing ... A Time for Life," will include a prayer walk across Wichita, a number of prayer vigils, and a memorial service at Women's Health Care Services, the abortion clinic Tiller had run from 1975 until last month, when he was shot and killed during a Sunday service at his Lutheran church.
"As members of the pro-life and faith community, we are coming together for a time of prayer and remembrance. We will be praying for the Tiller family as well as asking God to bring healing to the City of Wichita," commented the Rev. Patrick J. Mahoney, director of the Christian Defense Coalition, which is sponsoring the weekend events with Operation Rescue and Living Word Outreach of Wichita.
"The activities will also include a time of remembering the 70,000 innocent children who lost their lives at Women's Health Care Services as well as the women who have been bruised and diminished through abortion," he added.
As one of the few late-term abortion practitioners in the country, Tiller had been strongly criticized by the pro-life community up until the May 31 shooting at Reformation Lutheran Church in Wichita, where Tiller worshipped. At the time of his death, Tiller was under investigation by the Kansas State Board of Healing Arts for 11 petition allegations against him.
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 week 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 Roeder's case, originally set for June 16, has been continued until June 30, according to The Associated Press. In the meantime, Roeder remains jailed on a $20 million bond, which was raised from $5 million due to a threatening statement he made on June 7.
In comments made Wednesday, pro-life leader Mahoney said, "Now is the time for every American to work together for a nation in which violence has no place and human rights are embraced."
"We will ... be asking God to end the violence both inside and outside of abortion clinics," he stated ahead of this weekend's events.
The first event for "A Time for Healing ... A Time for Life" will be a 7:30 p.m. prayer vigil on Friday at Living Word Outreach in Wichita. The prayer vigil and memorial service at Women's Health Care Services will be held Saturday at noon.