Commentary: Violence can't shape public policy

Whether one supports or abhors the right to abortion, the shuttering of George Tiller's Wichita clinic is a tragedy for American democracy.

Irrational violence has trumped public policy. A practice, which this country has debated but which remains legal, has now been severely restricted because of a killer's savage actions.

The basis of civilization is that we agree to submit to the rule of law in order for society to flourish. The killing of Tiller, allegedly by Scott Roeder, a man with strong anti-abortion views, is antithetical to that principle. It is dismaying to see a killer achieve his objective.

The fear of violence – Tiller's was the fourth slaying of an abortion provider – has helped to whittle down the number of physicians willing to perform abortions, especially those in the second and third trimesters of pregnancy.

Before Tiller's death on May 31, only two publicly known clinics performed late-term abortions. No one publicly offers the services now in Kansas, although a Nebraska physician has said he plans to set up a practice.

To read the complete editorial, visit The Kansas City Star.