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Jewish groups speak out on Tiller killing

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WASHINGTON (JTA) — Jewish groups expressed their shock and sadness at the murder of abortion doctor George Tiller.

"Dr. Tiller devoted his life to ensuring that women did indeed have choices when confronted with an unintended or untenable pregnancy," said National Council of Jewish Women President Nancy Ratzan. "His murder — his assassination — is intended to terrorize not only all involved with providing abortions but anyone even remotely associated with abortion rights."

Tiller was shot and killed Sunday in the foyer of his Kansas church, allegedly by anti-abortion activist Scott Roeder, who is being held without bail. Tiller had provided abortions, including late-term procedures, for more than 30 years.

The Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism and the American Jewish Congress also expressed their outrage at the murder. An AJCongress statement called the killing "criminal anarchy, not legitimate protest" and "a crime against our democracy."

Cheryl Gutmann, chair of the Commission on Social Action of Reform Judaism, said the Tiller murder "is a tragic reminder that we must find common ground on the divisive issue of abortion."

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