By Philip Rucker
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, June 1, 2009 2:45 PM
Antiabortion activist Randall Terry today added fuel to the debate over the killing yesterday of a prominent Kansas late-term abortion provider, saying George R. Tiller "was a mass murderer and, horrifically, he reaped what he sowed."
Terry, the founder of Operation Rescue, said today that the pro-life movement bears no responsibility for the slaying of Tiller during Sunday church services in Wichita, Kan. In the wake of Tiller's death, Terry said abortion opponents "have to be confrontational" and "have to use highly-charged rhetoric" to advance their movement.
"The pro-life movement right now is at a crossroads," Terry said at a midday news conference at the National Press Club. "We have become steadily politically irrelevant, our leadership is graying, retiring and dying, and many of the new leaders do not have the fortitude and clarity of thought to not flinch in an hour of crisis like this. So the words that I'm going to say today are specifically geared towards shoring up the pro-life movement."
Terry spoke of Tiller in religious terms, saying the doctor will be remembered as "one of the villains of history."
"I grieve for Dr. Tiller because he left this life, perhaps without proper preparation to face God," Terry said. "The thought of him leaving this life with blood on his hands for having killed so many thousands of children and not having been prepared to meet his maker is a dreadful, terrifying thought."
Terry has been arrested dozens of times for antiabortion demonstrations, most recently at the University of Notre Dame, where he protested President Obama's commencement address. Today he criticized the administration of Obama, who is pro-choice, for saying "they want a dialogue" with abortion opponents.
"But they don't," Terry said. "They want us to shut up and go away. They want us to let them continue their grisly trade, and we're not going to."