Sarasota woman recalls encounter with slain doctor

06/05/09 Mitch E. Perry
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In Wichita, Kansas, police and federal marshals are preparing for the funeral tomorrow of late-term abortion provider George Tiller.

Tonight in Tallahassee, and tomorrow in Jacksonville vigils will be held for Tiller- they’re part of 50 such events held by pro-choice groups in the week since Tiller was gunned down in church last Sunday by 51-year-old Scott Roeder.

Much has been said, pro and con, about George Tiller this week. He was one of just a handful of doctors left in the U.S. who still performed late term abortions- that made him a lightning rod for anti-abortion rights activists legislators, and some political commentators.

He faced repeated legal challenges. In March, he was acquitted on 19 misdemeanor counts relating to how he obtained second opinions for late-term abortions. Last year, CNN reports that an inquiry initiated by abortion opponents who petitioned state authorities to convene a grand jury ended without charges.

Hearing criticism about Tiller led Sarasota resident Sherry Svekis to speak this week publicly about an abortion she received from Dr. Tiller back in 1985.

She tells WMNF that a year after her operation, Dr. Tiller contacted her to see if she would like to adopt a child.

Nobody was harder on Dr. Tiller over the years than Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly, who for years badgered Tiller on both his cable news program, and on his syndicated radio show.

Sherry Svekis says she wasn’t that familiar with O’Reillys criticisms until this week.

On Thursday, the Tampa Tribune published Svekis' letter to the editor, about her interaction with Dr. Tiller.

Yesterday, former FBI whistleblower Colleen Rowley told the website Talking Points Memo that the FBI missed an opportunity to intervene before Scott Roeder murdered George Tiller. As details emerge, authorities say Roeder, who was convicted in a bombing plot in 1997, was seen attempting to vandalize Tiller’s clinic in the days leading up to his murder.

Rowley, an FBI agent in Minneapolis who documented FBI failures leading up to 9/11, said the Roeder case “should have been jumped on much more aggressively.”

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