Preliminary hearings for Scott Roeder, the alleged murderer of Kansas abortion provider George Tiller, MD, are set to begin Tuesday. Roeder has been charged with first degree murder and two counts of aggravated assault. If convicted, he faces life in prison with the possibility of parole after 25 years, reports the Associated Press.
Roeder has given multiple interviews on the shooting and the possible defenses he may attempt. In interviews with the Kansas City Star, Roeder claimed that Kansas laws state that a homicide is justifiable if committed "in the defense of self and others." He said his lawyers have advised against such a defense, because the victim in a justifiable homicide must be engaged in illegal activity.
Retired Shawnee County, Kansas, District Judge Terry Bullock told the AP, "Justifiable homicide typically means self-defense - you are defending yourself, your home, your wife or somebody like that," Bullock said. "It is not that you have a good motive." Roeder's brother David has said that Roeder has suffered from mental illness, and Roeder himself has acknowledged that he was diagnosed with schizophrenia as a teenager, raising the possibility of a diminished mental capacity defense.
The Department of Justice opened the investigation to look into possible federal crimes associated with the murder of Dr. Tiller in June. The federal government also convened a meeting of the National Task Force on Violence Against Reproductive Health Care Providers in the days following the murder and Attorney General Eric Holder deployed US Marshals to protect highly threatened clinics and staff.
Media Resources: Associated Press 7/27/09; Kansas City Star 7/25/09; Feminist Daily Newswire 6/8/09
10/31/2014 Federal Judge Exempts Another Catholic University from Birth Control Coverage - A federal judge ruled Tuesday that Ave Maria University, a Catholic university in Florida, does not have to comply with federal rules meant to ensure that covered employees can exercise their right to obtain birth control at no cost.
The Affordable Care Act requires all new health insurance plans to cover all FDA-approved contraceptives - such as the pill, emergency contraceptives, and IUDs - without charging co-pays, deductibles or co-insurance. . . .
10/31/2014 Women of Color in Tennessee Are United in Opposition to Amendment 1 - Just days before the general election in Tennessee, a coalition of community leaders, clergy, and advocates led a press conference encouraging women of color to vote no on Amendment 1, a dangerous and far-reaching measure on the state's ballot.
SisterReach, a grassroots organization focused on "empowering, organizing, and mobilizing women and girls in the community around their reproductive and sexual health to make informed decisions about themselves," organized the press conference "to call attention to the unique concerns Black and poor communities throughout Shelby County and across the state of Tennessee face on a daily basis" and to emphasize how the upcoming election "could further limit [black women's] reproductive, economic, political, and social autonomy."
"We assemble today to impress upon black women and women of color, many of whom are heads of households, to get out and vote," said SisterReacher Founder and CEO Cherisse Scott at the event.
SisterReach has been educating voters about the particularly dangerous impact of Amendment 1 on women of color. . . .
10/30/2014 Medication Abortion Access Threatened by Oklahoma Court Ruling - An Oklahoma state district court judge has refused to block a state law restricting medication abortion, clearing the way for the law to go into affect on November 1.
The Oklahoma Coalition for Reproductive Justice, together with a local abortion clinic in Tulsa, challenged HB 2684 in September, arguing that the law was an unconstitutional restriction on non-surgical abortion in the earliest weeks of pregnancy. . . .