Friday, the AP published a story regarding the public vitriol directed towards Judge Wilbert, Kansas judge in abortion case comes under scrutiny. The article mentions that Wilbert was endorsed by the Kansans for Life PAC in 2008. We had been informed of this a few days ago, but knowing how endorsements are given for judges, we did not feel this would impact his decisions. We also discovered Dan Monnat, one of Dr. Tiller's attorneys, had represented Wilbert a couple of years ago. The AP expanded further on that saying Monnat had donated to Wilbert's re-election campaign. Honestly, from what Judge Wilbert has said in court so far, we could not tell one way or the other what his opinion on abortion was. He has used fair language (even using "medical clinic" to describe WHCS), and his rulings have made sense.
Which leads us to A Tough Case to Make at the Tiller Murder Trial in Newsweek.
This means Roeder has to demonstrate not one, but four things. First, that there was a threat to a third person. Second, that the threat was imminent. Third, that imminent threat was the result of an unlawful act. And, fourth, that he honestly believed all of this. If Roeder fails to prove just one, his defense falls apart. Roeder will have to convince the jury that he believed the fetus counts as a "third party"; so far, no state has ever declared a fetus a person. Proving Tiller to have been an imminent threat also poses a challenge, given that he was shot at church, not at his abortion clinic. Even if Roeder could prove that he honestly believed the fetus to be a third party, and that Tiller was indeed an imminent threat, he would still have to convince the jury that he honestly believed Tiller was committing an "unlawful act." Such a belief, however, would have absolutely no basis: despite numerous attempts by former Kansas Attorney General Phil [sic] Kline, Tiller was never convicted of performing an "unlawful" abortion.
A "formidable and daunting task" indeed.
And now to some unreasonableness. We've had two comments left on another post pointing out what appears not to be obvious: here on Roeder Watch, we're biased. We are honest in our pro-choice bias, but we are not blind in our bias. We're not, as danbeyer said, "pro death zealots". In fact, we're quite pro-life. We're anti-war (which is pro death) and anti-death penalty (likewise pro death) among other things. We're also actively anti-discrimination. And denying women a choice in reproduction is discrimination against women. The right to choose abortion is not in any way similar to slavery in America. Abortion is not our "golden calf" as Mark Archer says. We do not worship or idolize choice. We're quite well-rounded in our activism, but the past few months since Scott Roeder came to our city and killed a doctor in his church has shifted our focus for the time being. That being said for the past few years,we have worked to stop the slow destruction of access in Kansas. The right and access to reproductive options, including abortion, are among the several rights necessary for women to be able to fully participate in society. It is not the only right, but it is a fundamental right for full participation.
In May 2009, Scott Roeder walked into a church here in Wichita, Kansas, and shot Dr. George Tiller. This act was intended to scare other people from providing access to abortion and to frighten women in general. This was an assassination, and this was terrorism. You are free to disagree. But this is what Roeder has admitted to, and we will call it what it is.
Trial update: jury selection continues. Thus far, 25 out of 61 jurors have passed legal challenges with very few being dismissed. The defense has stated they fear the jury may be in danger and has requested special instructions to be given to jurors.