Roundup: Roeder Convicted, Mississippi Adds Personhood Amendment to Ballot


Of course the major news of the morning is that Scott Roeder, convicted for the murder of Dr. George Tiller, was given a life sentence with no chance of parole for 50 years — effectively the same as life without parole.

The sentencing hearing was unusually long at over nine hours, fact that reporter Ron Sylvester, tweeting for the Wichita Eagle, pointed out.

A lot of sentencing hearings last an hour. Many less than that. We are on hour 9 on Roeder’s sentencing.

Roeder exhibited no remorse during the sentencing hearing and many times complained to Sedgwick County District Judge Warren Wilbert that since he was not allowed to bring the “evidence” he wanted to trial, so he thought he could bring it to his sentencing hearing. The majority of his evidence was his belief that his actions were justified. CNN reports:

“You have the power to acquit and if you were to obey the higher power, God himself, you would acquit me,” Roeder told the judge, Warren Wilbert, before the sentence was handed down.

After Roeder had spoken for about 40 minutes about what he said was the biblical justification for the killing, Wilbert stopped him. “I’m sorry, I’m not providing you a forum for an all-night dissertation on the political debate on the issue of abortion,” Wilbert said.

Ron Sylvester writes:

During the hearing, Roeder interrupted lawyers and the judge and also spoke for 45 minutes in an attempt to mitigate his sentence. He read for 30 minutes from a book written by a man executed for killing an abortion doctor in Florida and compared his plight to that of Jesus Christ.

“The blood of babies is on your hands, Nola Foulston . . . and Ann Swegle,” Roeder yelled at prosecutors as sheriff’s deputies pushed him out of the courtroom after he was sentenced.

Roeder’s sentence was the maximum allowed under Kansas law.

“This crime was cruel and heinous, not only because it took our husband, father and grandfather, but because it was a hate crime committed against George — against all women and their constitutional rights,” Tiller’s family said through attorney Lee Thompson after the hearing ended.

In Other News

Mississippi will become the second state to put a constitutional amendment on the ballot that would redefine life as starting at conception. The Jackson Clarion Ledger reports:

An anti-abortion initiative that seeks to define a “person” as “every human being from the moment of fertilization, cloning or the equivalent thereof,” will be on the 2011 general election ballot.

Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann said Thursday that his office certified 106,325 signatures – well over the 89,285 required to place the initiative on the ballot.

ACLU Mississippi Executive Director Nsombi Lambright said her group is reviewing the initiative. The ACLU’s position is the issue should not be placed on the ballot because it would interfere with the state’s Bill of Rights, which cannot be altered through the initiative process, she said.

“If passed, this could allow extensive interfering in the doctor-patient relationship,” she said. “This instantly puts the government and law enforcement right in the center of families in Mississippi.”

Lambright said she’s also concerned it could affect life-saving treatments, as well as treatments for infertility and abortion in cases of rape and incest.

Colorado will also have a similar constitutional amendment to redefine life at conception placed on their ballot in 2010.

Bonus item: The Pope, when he’s not defending himself from allegations of not stopping molesting priests, found time to praise two newly elected Italian regional officials who pledged to halt the distribution of the abortion drug RU-486.

April 2, 2010

Debate over abortion drug rekindled in Italy The Associated Press 

Abortion issue on 2011 ballot Jackson Clarion Ledger

A Major Week for Anti-Abortion Supporters The State Column 

Truth in advertising Baltimore Sun

Restore NJ’s family planning budget The Star-Ledger – NJ.com

Abortion Activists Reach Settlement, Plan Event in Aurora Chicago Public Radio

Did Police Brutality Contribute to the Death of ‘IM GAY’ Oklahoma Activist Towleroad (blog)

April 1, 2010

Abortion Activists Reach Settlement, Plan Event in Aurora Chicago Public Radio

Police: Protesters at Rockford abortion clinic ‘more aware of laws’ Rockford Register Star

U.S. Army backtracks on gay discharges, no moratorium Reuters

Gays and the census: an honest view of American families Seattle Times

Africa: Sexuality Discourses – Between Patriachy, Pornography and Pleasure AllAfrica.com

Gates Foundation gives $23M to Kenyan birth control program Bizjournals.com

Gay Iranians increasingly fleeing their country after June’s crackdown Washington Post

Toronto transit balks at ‘Does God care if I’m gay?’ ad Vancouver Sun

Kenyan Parliament Approves Pro-Abortion Constitution Lifesite

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