Special Reports

Abortion doctor's security boosted

Federal agents have stepped up protection of a Boulder, Colo., abortion doctor after George Tiller's death, authorities said Monday.

Boulder police said the U.S. Marshals Service has taken the lead in providing security for Warren Hern, whose Boulder Abortion Clinic is one of a few in the nation that provides late-term abortions.

Ken Deal, chief deputy U.S. marshal for Colorado, confirmed that marshals are involved in a nationwide initiative to protect abortion doctors, but he declined to give specifics.

The Marshals Service in Washington said Attorney General Eric Holder had ordered it to "increase security for a number of individuals and facilities" because of the Kansas shooting. It gave no details.

Boulder police spokeswoman Sarah Huntley said city officers were conducting extra patrols near Hern's clinic. In Denver, police have been in contact with abortion providers about security, police spokesman Sonny Jackson said, but he declined to give details.

Tiller was fatally shot Sunday. A suspect was taken into custody in a Kansas City suburb a few hours later.

Tiller, like Hern, operated a clinic that performed late-term abortions.

Tiller owned a house in Dillon, Colo., a resort town near the Breckenridge ski resort in the mountains west of Denver.

"He was a very nice man, a gentleman," neighbor Jay Weinstein told the Summit Daily News on Monday.

Weinstein said Tiller skied and hiked when he was in Dillon, and the family had been renovating the home.

"When they first moved here we got hate mail from anti-abortion groups, saying there was a killer in the neighborhood," Weinstein said.

Denver Archbishop Charles Chaput and Focus on the Family founder James Dobson, two of Colorado's most prominent abortion opponents, issued separate statements Monday condemning Tiller's slaying.

Chaput called it an "inexcusable crime."

"The violence at the heart of every abortion and the abortion industry itself will never be ended by counter-violence," he said.

Dobson, based in Colorado Springs, said he was shocked by the shooting. He said he didn't agree with Tiller's practice but said whoever is responsible for his death should be prosecuted.

Hern dismissed such statements as "hypocritical nonsense."

He said the killing was a terrorist act resulting from 35 years of anti-abortion rhetoric and intimidation.

"The only difference between these people and the Taliban is about 8,000 miles," Hern said.