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DOJ increases federal protection at clinics after abortion doctor killing

[JURIST] US Attorney General Eric Holder [official website] said that appropriate steps would be taken [statement] to help prevent acts of violence related to the Sunday shooting of abortion doctor George Tiller [BBC profile]. Holder has enlisted the US Marshal Service [official website] to offer protection to other at-risk people and facilities in the country. Additionally, Holder maintained that the Department of Justice (DOJ) [official website] would work to bring the killer to justice. On Monday, a suspect was arrested [AP report] in the shooting although charges have not yet been filed. Tiller was shot Sunday in the foyer of a church in Wichita, Kansas where he served as an usher. Holder addressed his commitment to the investigation:

The murder of Doctor George Tiller is an abhorrent act of violence, and his family is in our thoughts and prayers at this tragic moment. Federal law enforcement is coordinating with local law enforcement officials in Kansas on the investigation of this crime, and I have directed the United States Marshals Service to offer protection to other appropriate people and facilities around the nation. The Department of Justice will work to bring the perpetrator of this crime to justice. As a precautionary measure, we will also take appropriate steps to help prevent any related acts of violence from occurring.

A US Marshals spokesman confirmed [AP report] the intent to increase protection to prevent related acts of violence, although it is unclear who or what specifically will receive protection.

Tiller, who performed late-term abortions at his clinic, has had his life endangered in the past. His clinic was bombed in 1985 and he was shot twice in 1993. He last received protection from the Marshals service in 2001. In January, President Barack Obama repealed [JURIST report] a Reagan-era directive that banned federal funding for international family planning programs that provide information regarding abortion.

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Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

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