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
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. . . .