U.S. News

Kansas abortion doctor's killer threatens new clinic owner

KANSAS CITY, Kansas (Reuters) - The man convicted of killing Kansas late-term abortion provider Dr. George Tiller is accused by prison officials of trying to intimidate a woman who reopened his clinic in April, a corrections department spokesman said.

Scott Roeder, who is serving a life sentence for shooting Tiller to death at a church in 2009, faces administrative charges based on comments he made in a telephone interview with an abortion opponent that were posted on YouTube, state corrections department spokesman Jeremy Barclay said Wednesday.

Roeder, 55, would be subject to disciplinary action if found guilty on the charges at an administrative hearing, Barclay said.

Tiller’s clinic in Wichita, Kansas, closed after his death and was reopened in April as the South Wind Women’s Center. A non-profit group, Trust Women Foundation, owns the clinic and is directed by Julie Burkhart.

Roeder had testified that he killed Tiller, 67, to stop abortions. In a telephone interview from prison in April with Dave Leach, an abortion opponent in Des Moines, Iowa, Roeder said reopening the clinic would put Burkhart at risk.

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

Roeder said reopening the clinic was a “shame and a disgrace.”

Burkhart said early this year her home has been picketed and she has been called a killer in some anti-abortion brochures.

She said recently that the clinic would perform abortions through the 14th week of pregnancy, a preference of the clinic’s doctors. Kansas law allows abortions up to 20 weeks into pregnancy.

Editing by David Bailey and Maureen Bavdek