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Maddow to AP: Retract George Tiller abortion story and apologize

Rachel Maddow called on the Associated Press Thursday to retract an article that she said "besmirched" a race for District Attorney in Kansas, by implying that Wichita District Attorney Nola Foulston deserved blame for the murder of abortion doctor George Tiller because she had earlier declined to prosecute Tiller.

According to the AP, Tiller's death had been an issue in the race between two anti-abortion Republicans to replace Foulston, a pro-choice Democrat. Assistant District Attorney Marc Bennett ultimately won the race Tuesday.

But the AP wrote last Friday that Bennett's position in Foulston's office might be a "liability" for him, because Scott Roeder, the anti-abortion activist who murdered Tiller, said that he did so because at one point Foulston declined to prosecute Tiller. 

From the AP's write-up

To understand why that's a liability in this race, it's important to note that Scott Roeder — the abortion opponent serving a life sentence for killing Tiller — once told The Associated Press that he believed the doctor would never be brought to justice as long as Foulston was in office.

The district attorney had refused to allow then-Attorney General Phill Kline to prosecute Tiller in her jurisdiction, resulting in a judge dismissing charges that the doctor had performed illegal late-term abortions. Tiller was later acquitted of misdemeanor charges that he failed to get a second opinion from an independent doctor before performing late-term abortions. Roeder killed the doctor weeks after the jury's verdict.

While Foulston has insisted she was simply upholding the law, many abortion opponents blame her for derailing Kline's prosecution and, ultimately, for Tiller's death.

"If Nola Foulston had done her job with George Tiller, he would still be alive today," said Troy Newman, president of Wichita-based Operation Rescue.

"He didn't get prosecuted so obviously he had to be shot?," asked Maddow. "So says Operation Rescue, and so writes down the Associated Press, thus resulting in newspapers all over the country printing this absolutely wackadoo, uncontested more-than-insinuation that an abortion doctor was murdered in Kansas, because what? He needed killing? Because he hadn't been 'brought to justice?'"

Maddow called on the AP to retract the article.

"The AP besmirched Tuesday's Kansas primary with this trash that they published about it this past Friday," she said. "I haven't said anything until now because I keep expecting them to retract it. Before this week is up the Associated Press ought to retract what they published and they ought to apologize."