When Life Imitates (Bad) “Art” Imitating Delusion: Roeder’s Lawyer Says “No Such Thing” As “Necessity Defense”

Jodi Jacobson

Roeder's lawyer says so-called necessity defense is a fiction of the imagination of extremist anti-choice groups.

A couple of weeks back, a much-criticized episode of Law and Order portrayed a “fictional” situation in which a man murders an abortion provider and then claims a “necessity defense,” his “need” to kill a doctor providing completely legal medical services to protect “unborn children.”

In real life, however, no such defense exists.

Instead, it is a fiction of the imagination of extremist anti-choice terrorists who believe that their self-justified ends also justify whatever means they use to achieve them.

Law and Order adopted its premise from extremist anti-abortion groups–thereby giving them legitimacy–seeking to use this defense for Scott Roeder, the man who murdered Kansas Dr. George Tiller last May
Well thankfully, reality has now intruded.  The Wichita Eagle reports this morning that Roeder’s own lawyer says no such defense exists.

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“There’s no such thing as the necessity defense,” said Steve Osburn,
head of the Sedgwick County Public Defender’s Office and Roeder’s lead
counsel. “This is a fictional defense made up by these people.”

It’s not a legal defense, either, Osburn said.

“There is nothing in the law of Kansas, or anywhere else, that allows this kind of defense,” Osburn said.


defense that Roeder had hoped for, says the Eagle, “isn’t recognized by law, but it is
included on numerous Web sites, mostly by anti-abortion activists. That
includes ScottRoeder.org, sponsored by a group calling itself the
“radical fringe,” registered to an address in Wisconsin.”

Even some anti-choice extremists realize the ridiculous nature of this “defense.”

first reaction was, ‘Hey, Roeder, this isn’t ‘Law and Order.’ Or
Hollywood,” said Troy Newman, president of Operation Rescue in Wichita.
matter what his defense is, it is not representative of the pro-life
movement, and I wish he’d stop trying to identify with people who abhor
people who use violence to justify their religious beliefs.”

The Eagle article goes on to describe the issues around jury selection and legal process in the forthcoming trial for Roeder.

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