Federal marshals are protecting a Boulder abortion clinic and the doctor who runs it, a Boulder police spokeswoman said Monday afternoon. The increased security was in place a day after Dr. George Tiller, who ran a similar clinic providing late-term abortions, was gunned down at a church Sunday morning in Wichita, Kan.
Boulder physician Warren Hern, among a handful of doctor in the country to provide very late-term abortions, said Sunday he has been targeted by the anti-abortion movement for years. His Boulder Abortion Clinic has specialized in late-term abortions since its founding in 1975.
“I’m next on the list,” Hern said.
“The U.S. Marshals Service has taken the lead in making security decisions about Dr. Hern,” said Boulder Police Department spokeswoman Sarah Huntley. “We are providing extra patrols, which we’ve done from time to time over the years, both for Dr. Hern’s home area and the clinic itself, in response to the violence over the weekend.”
“I can confirm we’ve been directed by the attorney general to actually increase or perform protection for a number of physicians and facilities countrywide,” said Ken Deal, chief deputy with the U.S. Marshals Service for Colorado, “but I can’t comment or confirm anything locally.”
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder dispatched federal marshals “to offer protection to other appropriate people and facilities around the nation” on Sunday after Tiller was shot to death.
“Every doctor that does abortions has been under an assassination threat for decades,” Hern told The Colorado Independent hours after Tiller’s death. “The anti-abortion movement message is, ‘Do what we tell you to do or we will kill you,’ and they do. This is a fascist movement.”
Hern said the assassination of Tiller, a close personal friend, is the “absolutely inevitable consequence” of decades of anti-abortion fanaticism.
A spokeswoman declined to say whether federal marshals have stepped up security at any of Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains‘ 25 Colorado facilities, including nine where abortions are performed.
“We have a dedicated, professionally trained security staff that ensures women and families can access us in a safe way,” said Monica McCafferty. “We always implement appropriate protective measures as new threats emerge,” she added.
“We are saddened by this attack, but we are not intimidated by it.”