For the most part, I have tried to stay away from this whole issue largely because it is such a heated one and generates much passion on the part of those both in favor and those opposed. Also, generally speaking, I part ways with most of my liberal-minded cohorts on the issue of abortion, believing that all too often abortions are sought as a means of birth-control rather than necessity.
However, the recent developments surrounding Scott Roeder, the man accused of murdering late-term abortion provider George Tiller, have caused me to want discussion and input on the fund-raising efforts that are underway to provide him with what is being called a "Necessity Defense."
What do you think?
1)Should abortion be legal?
2)When should late-term abortion be legal?
3)Should Roeder, the Army of God, and their followers be considered terrorists?
4)Will such a defense ever be effective in a jury trial?
5)In your opinion, was Roeder justified?
TO ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Posted on Sat, Oct. 24, 2009
Online auction to raise funds in Scott Roeder case
By JUDY L. THOMAS
The Kansas City Star
An Army of God manual. A prison cookbook compiled by a woman doing time for abortion clinic bombings and arsons. An autographed bullhorn.
These are among the items that abortion foes plan to auction on eBay and other Web sites in a fundraiser for Scott Roeder, the Kansas City man charged with killing Wichita abortion doctor George Tiller.
“This is unique,” said Regina Dinwiddie, a Kansas City anti-abortion activist who will sign the bullhorn. “Nobody’s ever done this before. The goal is that everybody makes money for Scott Roeder’s defense.”
One abortion-rights leader called the auction deplorable and said it could lead to more violence.
“The network of extremists promoting and defending the murder of doctors is contributing to escalating threats against clinics and doctors across the country,” said Kathy Spillar, executive vice president of the Feminist Majority Foundation.
Roeder, charged with first-degree murder in the May 31 shooting of Tiller, is scheduled to go to trial in January.
Dave Leach, an Iowa abortion opponent who is organizing the auction effort, said he was aiming for a Nov. 1 launch.
EBay would not reveal whether eBay would permit the auction to launch.
“EBay does not allow listings that promote or glorify violence, hate, racial or religious intolerance, or items that encourage, promote, facilitate or instruct others to engage in illegal activity,” the company said in a statement.
Among items that will go on the auction block, Dinwiddie said, are three drawings she received in the mail Wednesday from Roeder. Two drawings were done by another inmate at his direction, but Roeder autographed all of them.
“They’re wonderful pencil art drawings,” she said. “They were done in jail.”
One is a sketch of David and Goliath.
“It has David with a slingshot in one hand and the head of Goliath in his other hand and the name ‘Tiller’ on Goliath’s forehead,” she said. “On the corpse on the ground, it says ‘child-murdering industry.’ ”
Leach said he was continuing to collect items.
His own donation: An Army of God manual, an underground publication for anti-abortion militants that describes dozens of ways to shut down clinics, including bombing. Leach published a reprint of the manual in 1996 in his magazine, Prayer and Action News.
“I plan to cover up the offending eight pages of bomb recipes and instead insert a note saying that in order to avoid legal problems, we advise our bomb-loving friends to seek their bomb recipes in a U.S. Army Manual, which is approved by the Justice Department,” Leach said. “I will also enclose my April 1996 issue, which contains bomb-making excerpts from a declassified U.S. Army Manual widely available in Army surplus stores.”
Another item to be auctioned, Leach said, is a collection of recipes compiled in prison by Shelley Shannon, the Oregon woman who shot and wounded Tiller in 1993 and was later convicted in a series of abortion clinic arsons and bombings.
“When they have birthdays or something in prison, they don’t have access to bake a cake,” said Leach, who recently paid a visit to Shannon in a Minnesota prison. “So they’ve figured out how to make quite a number of confectionary things.”
One recipe is for prison cheesecake, he said.
“It starts of with four little plastic tubs of pudding, a container of powdered creamer, a packet of powdered lemonade, and a little tub of cream cheese, like what you put on bagels, and stir it all together,” he said. “Shelley said it’s really pretty good.”
Leach said Shannon also is donating “her awesome handwritten book of commentary on the news and her part in it over the past few years, including her original cartoons.”
Dinwiddie, who made headlines in 1995 when a federal judge ordered her to stop using a bullhorn within 500 feet of abortion clinics, will contribute several items.
Dinwiddie is a friend of Roeder. She also was a friend of Paul Hill, who shot an abortion doctor and his escort to death in Pensacola, Fla., in 1994. Hill received a death sentence for the killings and was executed in 2003.
“Regina is digging out her old VHS tapes of Paul Hill in her home praying before Shelley’s trial,” Leach said. “She wants to start that one off at $500.”
The bullhorn autographed by Dinwiddie is similar to those she used when protesting outside abortion clinics.
“My original ones have all been confiscated by police,” Dinwiddie said, “but I’ll have a signed one, since I was the only person in the whole world that’s ever had an injunction against a bullhorn.”
Michael Bray, an Ohio activist who spent four years in prison for the firebombings of abortion-related facilities on the East Coast in the 1980s, is donating an autographed copy of his book, “A Time to Kill.” The book is described as “an ethical treatise on the use of force in defense of the child in the womb.”
Leach said the auction was intended to raise money for the defense of Roeder, who was being represented by public defenders.
Leach and others would like to help Roeder hire a lawyer to present what is known as a necessity defense. That strategy would argue that Tiller was killed to prevent a greater harm — killing babies. Other anti-abortion activists charged with violent crimes have tried to use such a defense but with little success.
“If we are not successful in finding a lawyer we can afford, we will distribute the money to prisoners who have sacrificed their years for the cause of saving lives,” Leach said.
Roeder said in a phone interview that he was excited about the auction.
“I think it’s great,” he said. “I appreciate all of the efforts going into that. I’m all for anything that might bring some donations in.”
But he declined to comment about whether he would use such a defense.
For their part, abortion-rights advocates said the auction was appalling.
“The idea of an eBay auction featuring a video of Paul Hill, who murdered a doctor and volunteer clinic escort; the work of Shelley Shannon, who attempted to murder Dr. Tiller; and the writings of Michael Bray and Dave Leach, individuals who promote the killing of doctors, is reprehensible,” Spillar said.
In another effort to support Roeder, Leach has produced a series of videos that he released on several Web sites, including YouTube. In the videos, Leach suggests that Roeder may not get a real trial by jury because the judge probably would refuse to allow jurors to hear why Roeder “had to do what he did.”
In his videos, Leach is “interviewed” by two girls, ages 8 and 10, who play the role of reporters on “Pee Wee TV.”