The lawyers of Scott Roeder, who allegedly murdered George Tiller, MD, in May, are seeking to relocate the trial so that it will take place outside of Sedgwick County, in Witchita, Kansas. The lawyers argue that due to media coverage of Dr. Tiller's Death and Roeder's subsequent arrest, it is unlikely that Roeder will get a fair trial in Sedgewick County, the Kansas City Star reports. A hearing regarding this request will take place in December, though Court officials state that Sedgwick County rarely grants change of venue requests.
When asked if he killed Tiller, Roeder responded "That is correct," according to the Los Angeles Times. Roeder stated that despite his confession, he will not change his not-guilty plea because he does not consider his act murder. Roeder said he plans to use a so-called necessity defense, arguing that his actions were motivated by "the fact [that] preborn children's lives were in imminent danger," reports the Associated Press. A similar defense used in an abortion clinic trespassing case was rejected by a 1993 Kansas Supreme Court ruling.
Tiller family attorney Lee Thompson told the Kansas City Star that Roeder's defense is very unlikely to hold up in court. "Any pretense that it's justifiable is legally wrong and reflective of the extremism that seems to characterize this act, which is nothing more than an act of premeditated violence," he said.
Kathy Spillar, executive vice president of the Feminist Majority Foundation, told the Kansas City Star that Roeder's confession "clearly shows his connection to the most extremist branch of the antiabortion movement, which has long advocated this defense, that somehow the murder of doctors is justifiable."
Roeder's trial for first degree murder and two counts of aggravated assault has already been postponed until January 2010. If convicted of all charges, Roeder faces life in prison with the possibility of parole after 25 years.
Media Resources: Kansas City Star 11/12/09, 11/10/09; Feminist News Wire 11/10/09, 9/21/09; Los Angeles Times 11/10/09; Associated Press 11/9/09
8/28/2015 Alaska Court Protects Abortion Access for Low-Income Women - The Alaska Superior Court struck down a state law yesterday that would have severely limited abortion access for low-income women in Alaska.
The state's Superior Court also struck down a Department of Health and Social Services regulation that placed narrow specifications on Medicaid coverage for abortions, requiring that Medicaid-funded abortions be determined by a physician to be "medically necessary." Last year, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Planned Parenthood sued on behalf of the Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, claiming that the narrow definition of "medically necessary" arbitrarily established conditions designed to restrict the ability of low-income women to access abortion services.
The law was temporarily blocked last July by an Alaskan state court judge.
Superior Court Judge John Suddock ordered yesterday that the state be blocked from implementing this regulation, ruling that it placed an undue burden on low-income women seeking abortion services in Alaska.
"By providing health care to all poor Alaskans except women who need abortions, the challenged regulation violates the state constitutional guarantee of 'equal rights, opportunities, and protection under the law'," the ruling read.
"We applaud the superior court for striing down these cruel restrictions on women's health and rights that violate the Alaska Constitution," said Chris Charbonneau, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands. . . .
8/26/2015 Saudi Women Prepare to Vote for the First Time - The fight for gender equality is making slow but notable progress in Saudi Arabia, where women will be allowed to vote for the first time in upcoming December elections.
This shift in Saudi law came in 2011, when a royal decree announced that women would be allowed to vote and run in local elections beginning in December of 2015. . . .