Alleged killer of Dr. George Tiller Scott Roeder has been charged with
murder and aggravated assault and will be held without bail, the AP reports.
"If convicted of murder, Roeder would face a mandatory life sentence
and would not be eligible for parole for at least 25 years." But Roeder will not be eligible for the death penalty:
Sedgwick County District Attorney Nola Foulston, at a news
conference following Tuesday’s hearing, said evidence against Roeder
ruled out the death penalty.
Foulston said the case does not meet
the special circumstances required for the death penalty in Kansas.
Such circumstances include the killing of a law enforcement or jail
official, more than one person, someone kidnapped for ransom and a
slaying during a rape.
On Huffington Post, Martha Burk asks how the federal government plans on better protecting clinics and health care workers to ensure that this kind of violence — or even lesser acts of intimidation and harm — don’t happen again.
the mobilization? I would have liked to see the President surrounded by
his law enforcement team–leaders of the Department of Justice,
Department of Homeland Security, and their component agencies such as
the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives and the
FBI–making a very high profile public statement with coverage on all
the major media outlets stating unequivocally that this kind of
domestic terrorism will not be tolerated. I want the president to stand
up and say that EVERY avenue of law enforcement, from financial
investigations to violation of gun laws, will be used against the
extremist groups, including extremist Christian groups, who foment and
support this kind of terrorism.
So far, we have only a statement from Attorney General Eric Holder that
he has made the US Marshal Service available for greater security at
clinics, but there is not so much as a press release on the DOJ
website. We need more. The New York Times has called on Mr.
Holder to consider taking the additional step of revitalizing the
National Task Force on Violence against Health Care Providers that
former Attorney General Janet Reno established during the Clinton years.
Meanwhile, a debate rages about the moral culpability of the
anti-choice movement at large, and of inflammatory conservative pundits
like Bill O’Reilly.
puts a fine point on it: "More to the point, would Tiller have been a
victim if abortion rights opponents groups had not made him so
"People have a right to disagree about abortion,
but it’s impossible to separate (Sunday’s) tragedy from the violent
language that has been directed for years at doctors like George
Tiller," said Michael B. Keegan, president of People For the American
Way, which supports abortion rights.
"Those who have inflamed emotions and
dehumanized their opponents around the issue of abortion should take
pause before they continue such dangerous rhetoric."
The New York Times’s examination
of the part Bill O’Reilly played highlights an inflammatory clip
publicized by Media Matters:
Monday, Media Matters for America, a left-wing group that catalogs what
it calls “conservative hate speech,” published a 2006 clip from Mr.
O’Reilly’s radio show in which he said, “If I could get my hands on
Tiller,” followed quickly by: “Well, you know. Can’t be vigilantes.
Can’t do that. It’s just a figure of speech.”
O’Reilly veteran and NARAL Pro-Choice New York vice-president Mary Alice Carr has sworn off appearing on O’Reilly’s show for good, she says, in a Washington Post op-ed today. An O’Reilly producer invited her to come onto the show in the wake of Tiller’s murder to discuss the reasons why women have late-term abortions, and, Carr writes, she was tempted to use the opportunity to set the record straight:
I admit that after the call from the producer, I hesitated. What an
opportunity, I thought, to sit across from O’Reilly and call him out
for what he has done and where his responsibility lies. To speak for
everyone in America who is hurt and scared and angry. I have never been
a Fox News hater; clearly, I’ve used the show for the benefit of my
movement and my organization, and I’ve answered his questions on some
of the toughest issues around. Didn’t I have the right to also call him
out for his speech?
But then I realized I just couldn’t. Because if the murder of a man
in a house of worship wasn’t enough to make Bill O’Reilly repent, what
hope did I have?
Finally, Ellen Goodman’s moving column asks whether Scott Roeder really acted alone:
It is believed that the shooter acted alone.
that’s true. No one else was standing beside suspect Scott Roeder when
it is believed he killed Dr. George Tiller in the sanctuary of his
But Michael Griffin also acted alone when he killed
David Gunn in 1993. Paul Hill acted alone when he killed John Britton
in 1994. John Salvi acted alone and so did Eric Rudolph and James Kopp.
This suspect is hardly lonely in this murderous cast of lone actors.
It was an isolated incident.
it was. There was no grand scheme of assassinations. But it was also an
isolated incident when Tiller’s clinic was first bombed in 1986. It was
an isolated incident when he was shot in both arms in 1993. Each
anthrax threat, each invasion, even the vandalizing that took place
last month at his Wichita clinic were all linked in a chain of
Other News to Note
June 3: Politics Daily: The Abortion Debate Chasm Widens
June 3: Oregon Live: Turn down the heat on abortion rhetoric
June 3: HuffPo: Abortion, Apocalypse, and "Killing for Life"
June 3: Fox News: Media Coverage Differed in Killing of Abortion Doctor, Army Recruiter
June 3: Jezebel: Stop The Presses: Abortion Protesters Are Disingenuous?
June 3: Vancouver Sun: Lower drinking age tied to pregnancy complications
June 3: Nursing In Practice: First estradiol-based oral contraceptive for the UK
June 3: WCATV (Charlottesville): Pro-Life Activist Gaining National Attention Speaks In Charlottesville
June 3: The Catholic Spirit: Violence has no place in the pro-life movement
June 3: KMBC-TV (Kansas City): New PETA Billboards Reference Abortion
June 3: HuffPo: Why I Wear the Penny: A Planned Parenthood Clinic Escort’s Reaction to the Tiller Murder
June 3: AP: Events in abortion debate in Tiller’s home state
June 3: HuffPo: Abortion & Catholicism: Can’t You Find Something Better To Do?
June 4: The Times (UK): Heard the one about the male Pill? Seriously, it’s the dog’s neuticles
June 3: The Moderate Voice: Pro Choice vs. No Choice
June 3: NYTimes: Guns, Gays and Abortion
June 1: Watching the Watchers: The real tragedy of Dr. Tiller’s murder
June 2: CBS News: Abortions More Frequent For Private Religious School Students
June 3: BeliefNet: The Inconvenient Truths (For Both Sides) About Late Term Abortions
June 3: The Lancet: This week in medicine (Preview of June 6 content)
June 3: Reuters: Kegel exercises do not hinder labor and delivery
June 2: CBS Montana: MT tie in abortion doctor murder