Ebay announced yesterday that it will block an online auction planned to support the legal defense of Scott Roeder, the alleged murderer of Kansas abortion provider George Tiller, MD. According to the Los Angeles Times, eBay said, "Based on the details we know about the anticipated listings, we believe these would violate our policy regarding offensive material. The company intends to remove any listings that are posted due to policies that bar listings promoting or glorifying violence or hatred.
After plans for the auction were announced, Kathy Spillar, executive vice president of the Feminist Majority Foundation told the Kansas City Star that "the network of extremists promoting and defending the murder of doctors is contributing to escalating threats against clinics and doctors across the country." Items Roeder's associates planned to sell included an Army of God manual, an autographed protest bullhorn, and a prison cookbook written by Shelley Shannon, who shot Dr. Tiller five times in 1993.
The trial for Roeder has been postponed until January 2010. Roeder's trial for first degree murder and two counts of aggravated assault had originally been set to begin in September of this year. If convicted of all charges, Roeder faces life in prison with the possibility of parole after 25 years.
Dr. Tiller, who was medical director of the Women's Health Care Services clinic in Wichita, Kansas, was killed in May at his church. The Department of Justice opened an investigation in June to look into possible federal crimes associated with the murder. 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: Los Angeles Times 10/27/09; Feminist Daily Newswire 10/26/09; Kansas City Star 10/24/09