Roundup: Roeder Trial Kicks Off

Robin Marty

The trial of Scott Roeder for the murder of Dr. George Tiller started off on Friday. Sadly, it appears that the trial will be less about the actions of the accused, and more about the actions of the victim.

The trial of Scott Roeder, who is being prosecuted for murdering Dr. George Tiller, started off on Friday.  Roeder, who has already admitted to the murder, has pleaded "not guilty" in the slaying of the doctor well-known for providing late trimester abortions.

Sadly, it appears that the trial will be less about the actions of the accused, and more about the actions of the victim.

"I do think it’s important for us to honor Dr. Tiller’s courage and, frankly, his martyrdom," [Terry O’Neill, president of the pro-choice National Organization for Women (NOW)] said.

"It appears Scott Roeder is going to try to put Dr. Tiller on trial, and to me that is just monstrous."

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Currently, Judge Warren Wilbert has rejected Roeder’s "necessity defense," but is considering allowing evidence to support a voluntary manslaughter conviction, although he did state it would be an "uphill battle.

Wilbert again denied the [necessity defense] request, telling Roeder at Friday’s hearing
that the argument "I had to shoot and kill Dr. Tiller to save unborn
babies" from abortion doesn’t meet the necessity defense because
abortions are legal and there has never been a finding that Tiller was
performing illegal abortions. Wilbert said the argument also fails by
its very definition because one life is not worth more than another.

Feminist Majority Foundation, which supports abortion rights, said that
despite his repeated rejections of the necessity defense, Wilbert is
essentially allowing Roeder to present a justifiable homicide defense.

is unconscionable and it is unjustifiable," said Katherine Spillar, the
group’s executive vice president. "We fear it will simply embolden
anti-abortion extremists and it will be open season on doctors."

The real question, of course, is what is really going to be on trial – Roeder, or the practice of abortion itself.

Yet Mr. Roeder, who has pleaded not guilty, and his supporters have
made it clear that they hope the trial will focus less on who killed
Dr. Tiller than why — in essence, an effort to send the jury on a
broader examination of abortion and the practices of one of the few
doctors in the country who was known to provide abortions into the
third trimester of pregnancy.

The judge in the case, Warren
Wilbert of Sedgwick County District Court, has said he will not allow
the case to be transformed into a trial on abortion. But he also
indicated late last week that he might allow jurors to consider a
defense theory by which Mr. Roeder could be convicted of voluntary
manslaughter if jurors were to conclude that Mr. Roeder had, as Kansas
law defines it, “an unreasonable but honest belief that circumstances
existed that justified deadly force.”

With the fear that it is the practice of abortion itself that will be put on trial, the obvious focus now is on jury selection.

Philip Anthony, a Washington jury consultant not involved in the
case, said the problem with an abortion-related trial is that most
prospective jurors don’t recognize that they are biased on some level.

is sort of the No. 1 issue this case deals with — where virtually
everybody has an opinion of one sort or another, even if they haven’t
stopped to think about it in their lives,” Anthony said. ”At the end
of the day, they probably have an opinion and that makes it very
difficult in jury selection.”

Potential jurors who are adamantly
opposed to abortion or who favor abortion rights — and who acknowledge
they look at this case with a bias from the start — will likely be
eliminated by the court without either side having to waste a strike,
Anthony said. But it’s the unstated biases of the rest that pose the
biggest challenge to both sides.

That of course, leads to the next logical question: do you strike a juror for his or her abortion views?

Roeder has admitted to reporters that he pulled the trigger. His
only defense lies with convincing the jury that he was somehow
justified in doing so, because he was trying to save unborn children.
(Which might not save him from prison — but it could qualify him for
conviction of a lesser crime, like manslaughter.) He really needs
jurors with pro-life views if he’s going to pull that off.

I’m not so sure that strategy is going to work. Judging from
comments here on CSKC, there are a lot of pro-life people out there who
— as much as they might hate abortion — don’t like men who
assassinate church door greeters, either.


Mini Roundup: There are good uses for tech, and bad uses for tech.  People really need to learn the difference.


January 11, 2010

men to be mateless by end of decade

People’s Daily Online

million Chinese men face lonely future: report

health heads to coast
Viet Nam News

candidates air views on
abortion, gay rights
Chicago Daily Herald

Selection Tough as Kan.
Abortion Trial Begins

supports victims of rape
BBC News

asks families to consider

Montgomery Advertiser


January 10, 2010

couple embraces challenges of
Mason City Globe Gazette

clinics offered

SW Iowa News

governor contenders differ on guns,
Chicago Daily Herald

must be on agenda
Morning Call

James residents to weigh in on
abortion debate
Jamaica Observer

Battle in 2009 as All Tiller and Stupak

Curbs Let Stupak Sell Bill
Wall Street Journal

view: Ugly
rant wasn’t worth printing
Duluth News Tribune

will advance
Daily News

Sidelines of Murder Trial, Division Among
Abortion Opponents
New York Times

News: Health Care,
Abortion, Stem Cells, ACLU, Israel, Texas,

requires emergency birth control access

The Media Have Mangled The
Pro-Life Story
American Thinker

News: Obama, Abortion, Coakley, Scott Roeder, South Korea, Sweden


January 9, 2010

clinic to new location
Daytona Beach News-Journal

doctor slaying goes to trial in Kansas


Right Hand of the Fathers
New York Times

abortion legal, but don’t use federal funds for it
The Tennessean

Republicans For Choice PAC Actually Support Any Republicans For Choice?
Ethiopian Review

rights activists get ready for another year of challenges
Washington Post

Gov. Charlie Crist Accused of Flipping on Abortion to Get

review: Susan Jacoby reviews ‘Condom Nation’ by Alexandra Lord
Washington Post


January 8, 2010

Crist just reverse course on abortion?

Orlando Sentinel

makes liaisons dangerous
Sydney Morning Herald

spreads chlamydia

Government Rejoins Worldwide Consensus on Reproductive Health
PR Newswire

to consider Nevada Personhood initiative
San Jose Mercury News

Senate Still Far Apart on Pro-
Abortion Health Care Bill, But It’s Coming

Barack Obama Will Renominate Two
Abortion Advocates for Judgeships

views matter in Roeder trial?
Kansas City Star

truck parked in front of Taylor’s office
Laurel Leader Call

and Coakley Continue to Feud on
Abortion in Massachusetts Senate Race

petition too general for November ballot
Las Vegas Sun

Language in Obamacare

Attack: NARAL Hits Possible Gillibrand Challenger
Huffington Post

defense’ denied in
abortion doc slaying
Kansas City Star

Care Countdown: Differences Over
Abortion Funding Pose Hurdle

Few Standing Between Current Law and Tax Payer Funded

Maurice Vellacott right about
Globe and Mail

Companies Prefer
Abortion as Cheaper than Giving Birth: PP

Bishops Rep: Health Care Reform Bill Pro-
Abortion on Funding, Conscience

legalises same-sex marriage, but not

Becomes A Battleground Over Abortion


Uses Ford’s Words Against Him »
New York Daily News

Democrats in New York Overwhelmingly


Friday Five: Former Planned Parenthood Director Abby Johnson

Up for the World’s Women
Huffington Post

wants couples to not have babies
Milwaukee Business Journal

appoints anti-Christian
Spero News

Lopez Down on In Vitro – So Why is IVF Contrary to
Pro-Life Values

To Host Noted

scary Jesus make the news
San Francisco Chronicle

not smoking may limit
birth-control bone loss

Roundups Politics

Campaign Week in Review: Republican National Convention Edition

Ally Boguhn

The Trump family's RNC claims about crime and the presidential candidate's record on gender equality have kept fact-checkers busy.

Republicans came together in Cleveland this week to nominate Donald Trump at the Republican National Convention (RNC), generating days of cringe-inducing falsehoods and misleading statements on crime, the nominee’s positions on gender equality, and LGBTQ people.

Trump’s Acceptance Speech Blasted for Making False Claims on Crime

Trump accepted the Republican nomination in a Thursday night speech at the RNC that drew harsh criticism for many of its misleading and outright false talking points.

Numerous fact-checkers took Trump to task, calling out many of his claims for being “wrong,” and “inflated or misleading.”

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 Among the most hotly contested of Trump’s claims was the assertion that crime has exploded across the country.

“Decades of progress made in bringing down crime are now being reversed by this administration’s rollback of criminal enforcement,” Trump claimed, according to his prepared remarks, which were leaked ahead of his address. “Homicides last year increased by 17 percent in America’s 50 largest cities. That’s the largest increase in 25 years. In our nation’s capital, killings have risen by 50 percent. They are up nearly 60 percent in nearby Baltimore.”

Crime rates overall have been steadily declining for years.

“In 2015, there was an uptick in homicides in 36 of the 50 largest cities compared to the previous years. The rate did, indeed, increase nearly 17 percent, and it was the worst annual change since 1990. The homicide rate was up 54.3 percent in Washington, and 58.5 percent in Baltimore,” explained Washington Post fact checkers Glenn Kessler and Michelle Ye Hee Lee. “But in the first months of 2016, homicide trends were about evenly split in the major cities. Out of 63 agencies reporting to the Major Cities Chiefs Association, 32 cities saw a decrease in homicides in first quarter 2016 and 31 saw an increase.”

Ames Grawert, a counsel in the Brennan Center’s Justice Program, said in a statement posted to the organization’s website that 2016 statistics aren’t sufficient in declaring crime rate trends. 

“Overall, crime rates remain at historic lows. Fear-inducing soundbites are counterproductive, and distract from nuanced, data-driven, and solution-oriented conversations on how to build a smarter criminal justice system in America,” Grawert said. “It’s true that some cities saw an increase in murder rates last year, and that can’t be ignored, but it’s too early to say if that’s part of a national trend.” 

When Paul Manafort, Trump’s campaign chairman, was confronted with the common Republican falsehoods on crime during a Thursday interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper, he claimed that the FBI’s statistics were not to be trusted given that the organization recently advised against charges in connection with Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server during her tenure as secretary of state.

“According to FBI statistics, crime rates have been going down for decades,” Tapper told Manafort. “How can Republicans make the argument that it’s somehow more dangerous today when the facts don’t back that up?”

“People don’t feel safe in their neighborhoods,” said Manafort, going on to claim that “the FBI is certainly suspect these days after what they did with Hillary Clinton.”

There was at least one notable figure who wholeheartedly embraced Trump’s fearmongering: former KKK Grand Wizard David Duke. “Great Trump Speech,” tweeted Duke on Thursday evening. “Couldn’t have said it better!”

Ben Carson Claims Transgender People Are Proof of “How Absurd We Have Become”

Former Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson criticized the existence of transgender people while speaking at the Florida delegation breakfast on Tuesday in Cleveland.  

“You know, we look at this whole transgender thing, I’ve got to tell you: For thousands of years, mankind has known what a man is and what a woman is. And now, all of a sudden we don’t know anymore,” said Carson, a retired neurosurgeon. “Now, is that the height of absurdity? Because today you feel like a woman, even though everything about you genetically says that you’re a man or vice versa?”

“Wouldn’t that be the same as if you woke up tomorrow morning after seeing a movie about Afghanistan or reading some books and said, ‘You know what? I’m Afghanistan. Look, I know I don’t look that way. My ancestors came from Sweden, or something, I don’t know. But I really am. And if you say I’m not, you’re a racist,’” Carson said. “This is how absurd we have become.”

When confronted with his comments during an interview with Yahoo News’ Katie Couric, Carson doubled down on his claims.“There are biological markers that tell us whether we are a male or a female,” said Carson. “And just because you wake up one day and you say, ‘I think I’m the other one,’ that doesn’t change it. Just, a leopard can’t change its spots.”

“It’s not as if they woke up one day and decided, ‘I’m going to be a male or I’m going to be a female,’” Couric countered, pointing out that transgender people do not suddenly choose to change their gender identities on a whim.

Carson made several similar comments last year while on the campaign trail.

In December, Carson criticized the suggested that allowing transgender people into the military amounted to using the armed services “as a laboratory for social experimentation.”

Carson once suggested that allowing transgender people to use the restroom that aligned with their gender identity amounted to granting them “extra rights.”

Ivanka Trump Claims Her Father Supports Equal Pay, Access to Child Care

Ivanka Trump, the nominee’s daughter, made a pitch during her speech Thursday night at the RNC for why women voters should support her father.

“There have always been men of all background and ethnicities on my father’s job sites. And long before it was commonplace, you also saw women,” Ivanka Trump said. “At my father’s company, there are more female than male executives. Women are paid equally for the work that we do and when a woman becomes a mother, she is supported, not shut out.” 

“As president, my father will change the labor laws that were put into place at a time when women were not a significant portion of the workforce. And he will focus on making quality child care affordable and accessible for all,” she continued before pivoting to address the gender wage gap. 

“Policies that allow women with children to thrive should not be novelties; they should be the norm. Politicians talk about wage equality, but my father has made it a practice at his company throughout his entire career.”

However, Trump’s stated positions on the gender wage gap, pregnancy and mothers in the workplace, and child care don’t quite add up to the picture the Trumps tried to paint at the RNC.

In 2004, Trump called pregnancy an “inconvenience” for employers. When a lawyer asked for a break during a deposition in 2011 to pump breast milk, Trump reportedly called her “disgusting.”

According to a June analysis conducted by the Boston Globe, the Trump campaign found that men who worked on Trump’s campaign “made nearly $6,100, or about 35 percent more [than women during the April payroll]. The disparity is slightly greater than the gender pay gap nationally.”

A former organizer for Trump also filed a discrimination complaint in January, alleging that she was paid less than her male counterparts.

When Trump was questioned about equal pay during a campaign stop last October, he did not outline his support for policies to address the issue. Instead, Trump suggested that, “You’re gonna make the same if you do as good a job.” Though he had previously stated that men and women who do the same job should be paid the same during an August 2015 interview on MSNBC, he also cautioned that determining whether people were doing the same jobs was “tricky.”

Trump has been all but completely silent on child care so far on the campaign trail. In contrast, Clinton released an agenda in May to address the soaring costs of child care in the United States.

Ivanka’s claims were not the only attempt that night by Trump’s inner circle to explain why women voters should turn to the Republican ticket. During an interview with MSNBC’s Chris Matthews, Manafort said that women would vote for the Republican nominee because they “can’t afford their lives anymore.”

“Many women in this country feel they can’t afford their lives, their husbands can’t afford to be paying for the family bills,” claimed Manafort. “Hillary Clinton is guilty of being part of the establishment that created that problem. They’re going to hear the message. And as they hear the message, that’s how we are going to appeal to them.”

What Else We’re Reading

Vox’s Dara Lind explained how “Trump’s RNC speech turned his white supporters’ fear into a weapon.”

Now that Mike Pence is the Republican nominee for vice president, Indiana Republicans have faced “an intense, chaotic, awkward week of brazen lobbying at the breakfast buffet, in the hallways and on the elevators” at the convention as they grapple with who will run to replace the state’s governor, according to the New York Times.

“This is a party and a power structure that feels threatened with extinction, willing to do anything for survival,” wrote Rebecca Traister on Trump and the RNC for New York Magazine. “They may not love Trump, but he is leading them precisely because he embodies their grotesque dreams of the restoration of white, patriarchal power.”

Though Trump spent much of the primary season denouncing big money in politics, while at the RNC, he courted billionaires in hopes of having them donate to supporting super PACs.

Michael Kranish reported for the Washington Post that of the 2,472 delegates at the RNC, it is estimated that only 18 were Black.

Cosmopolitan highlighted nine of the most sexist things that could be found at the convention.

Rep. Steve King (R-IA) asked, “Where are these contributions that have been made” by people of color to civilization?

News Politics

Rep. Steve King: What Have People Of Color Contributed to Civilization?

Ally Boguhn

King came under fire this month after local news station KCAU aired footage showing that the Iowa representative keeps a Confederate flag displayed on his desk.

Rep. Steve King (R-IA) on Monday questioned what “contributions” people of color have made to civilization while appearing on an MSNBC panel during the Republican National Convention in Cleveland.

King’s comments came during a discussion on racial diversity within the Republican Party in which fellow panelist Charles P. Pierce said, “If you’re really optimistic, you can say this was the last time that old white people would command the Republican Party’s attention, its platform, its public face.”

“That [convention] hall is wired by loud, unhappy, dissatisfied white people,” Pierce added.

“This ‘old white people’ business though does get a little tired, Charlie,” King responded. “I’d ask you to go back through history and figure out, where are these contributions that have been made by these other categories of people that you’re talking about. Where did any other subgroup of people contribute more to civilization?”

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“Than white people,” Hayes attempted to clarify.

“Than Western civilization itself,” King said. “It’s rooted in Western Europe, Eastern Europe and the United States of America and every place where the footprint of Christianity settled the world. That’s all of Western civilization.”

Another panelist, reporter April Ryan, countered “What about Asia? What about Africa?” before the panel broke out into disarray. Hayes moved to cut off the group, telling them, “We’re not going to argue the history of civilization.”

“Let me note for the record that if you’re looking at the ledger of Western civilization, for every flourishing democracy you’ve got Hitler and Stalin as well,” Hayes said. “So there’s a lot on both sides.”

Hayes justified abruptly ending the conversation about King’s comments in a series of tweets, saying that he had been “pretty taken aback by” the comments.

“The entire notion of debating which race/civilization/ ‘sub group’ contributed most or is best is as odious as it is preposterous,” Hayes tweeted. “Which is why I said ‘we’re not debating this here.’ But I hear people who think I made the wrong call in the moment. Maybe I did.”

King came under fire this month after local news station KCAU aired footage showing that the Iowa representative keeps a Confederate flag displayed on his desk. King, speaking with Iowa talk radio host Jeff Angelo, defended keeping the flag in his office.

“This is a free country and there’s freedom of speech,” King said, according to Right Wing Watch. “And, by the way, I’d encourage people to go back and read the real history of the Civil War and find out what it was about. A small part of it was about slavery, but there was a big part of it that was about states’ rights, it was about people that defended their homeland and fought next to their neighbors and their family.”

As the Washington Post’s Philip Bump explained in a report on King’s comments, “there have been a great number of non-white contributions to human civilization.”

“Civilization first arose in cities in Mesopotamia, in what is now Iraq and Syria. Arabic and Middle Eastern inventors and scientists brought astronomy to the world, which in turn aided innovations in navigation,” Bump wrote. “Critical innovations in mathematics and architecture originated in the same area. The Chinese contributed philosophical precepts and early monetary systems, among other things. The specific inventions that were created outside of the Western world are too many to list: the seismograph, the umbrella, gunpowder, stirrups, the compass.”