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Defending Dr. Tiller
A memorial of flowers outside the Women's Health Care Clinic in Wichita, Kan., on June 1, 2009. The clinic was owned by Dr. George Tiller, who was gunned down during church services the day before. (AP)

A memorial of flowers outside the Women's Health Care Clinic in Wichita, Kan., on June 1, 2009. The clinic was owned by Dr. George Tiller, who was gunned down during church services the day before. (AP)

Ten days ago, abortion provider Dr. George Tiller was shot dead in the foyer of his Wichita, Kansas church.

Yesterday, Tiller’s clinic in Wichita was closed, after years of threats and attacks — and now murder.

Abortion opposition has spoken with gunfire. Today, we’ll hear from a prominent defender. Episcopal priest Katherine Ragsdale has called abortion a “blessing.” She says there’s been too much compromise with opponents, too little straight-up defense.

This hour, On Point: In the face of gunfire, a full-throated defense of a woman’s right to choose abortion.

You can join the conversation. Tell us what you think — here on this page, on Twitter, and on Facebook.

Guests:

The Reverend Katherine Ragsdale joins us in our studio. She is the incoming dean and president of Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and outgoing executive director of Political Research Associates, which tracks right-wing political movements. She’s a board member of NARAL Pro-Choice America and a former chair of the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice. She has been Vicar of St. David’s Episcopal Church in Pepperell, Mass., since 1996.

You can read her remarks on abortion as a “blessing,” in a speech in Birmingham, Alabama, in July 2007.

Joining us from Washington is Jim Wallis, founder and editor of Sojourners, a progressive evangelical Christian magazine and faith community. An influential voice on religion and politics in America, he’s the author of several books, including “The Great Awakening: Seven Ways to Change the World” and “God’s Politics: Why the Right Gets It Wrong and the Left Doesn’t Get It.” (Listen to his previous interview with On Point in January 2005.)

More links:

The Boston Globe profiled Rev. Ragsdale, with a look at her involvement in national political issues, this past March.  Last week The Boston Phoenix ran this longer consideration of her thinking on abortion.

In a lenthy interview with Christianity Today last year, Jim Wallis explained his thinking on abortion, gay marriage, and other issues.

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