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UPDATE: Abortion Doctor Assassin Trial

UPDATE: Abortion Doctor Assassin Trial

The man who admitted to gunning down Dr. George Tiller (pictured here with his wife Jeanne) in church last May went on trial in Kansas on last week. Tiller was one of a small number of doctors performing late term abortions in the U.S.

Scott Roeder admitted to shooting the Tiller, but he is pleading not guilty to murder, as Robin Marty reports in RH Reality Check. Yesterday, Judge Warren Wilbert shocked observers by allowing Roeder’s lawyers to argue that their client is guilty of voluntary manslaughter, not premeditated murder.

Kansas law allows the accused to plead “imperfect self-defense” if he had an “honest but unreasonable belief” that deadly force was necessary to protect innocent third parties. Roeder says he killed to protect the unborn. Pro-choice activists are alarmed that the judge allowed Roeder to use this defense. If he beats the murder rap, Roder could face just five years in prison. In the unlikely event that his legal gambit is successful, the precedent could be tantamount to declaring open season on abortion providers.

No doubt Nidal Hasan sincerely believed that he was protecting innocent lives when he murdered 12 soldiers at Fort Hood last November. Somehow, I doubt the Army will be as deferential to Hasan’s crazy religious ideas as Judge Warren Wilbert has been to Roeder’s.

In other health care news, Robert Reich of TAPPED asks whether the rich or the middle class will pay for health reform:

There’s only one big remaining issue on health care reform: How to pay for it. The House wants a 5.4 percent surtax on couples earning at least $1 million in annual income. The Senate wants a 40 percent excise tax on employer-provided “Cadillac plans.” The Senate will win on this unless the public discovers that a large portion of the so-called Cadillacs are really middle-class Chevys—expensive not because they deliver more benefits but because they have higher costs.

Reich cites a shocking statistic: Less than 4% of the variation in the cost of insurance coverage is based on differences in benefits provided. Most of the difference in price is based on the perceived riskiness of the beneficiaries. So, if you’re in a high risk pool comprised of, say, retired autoworkers, you’re going to pay a lot more for the same benefits than someone in a younger, healthier risk pool. When you look at it that way, it seems unfair to pay for reform on the backs of people who are already paying more for the same thing due to circumstances beyond their control.

President Barack Obama and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius are meeting withtop labor leaders on the “Cadillac tax,” as Brian Beutler of Talking Points Memo reports. Obama and Sebelius are trying to hash out a compromise that would be acceptable to the unions, who so far, have been implacably opposed to taxing expensive health care plans. The unions are reluctant to give any ground on this issue because so many of their members have accepted expanded health care benefits in lieu of wage increases over the years. Taxing those benefits now would effectively erase some hard-won gains by workers. Obama and the unions are reportedly discussing some kind of grandfather clause proposal that would exempt existing plans and only tax new plans.

Elsewhere in our high-deductible democracy, it turns out that health insurers secretly steered more than $20 million to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to oppose health reform while publicly professing to support the effort, according to Josh Harkinson of Mother Jones. The bagman was America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP). While AHIP was soliciting donations to run attack ads, AHIP’s top lobbyist, Karen Ignagni penned an op/ed in the Washington Post assuring the public that AHIP supported reform.

Steve Benen of the Washington Monthly hopes that the scandal will give ammunition to Democrats in the last big push to pass health care reform: “Policymakers struggling to resolve differences on the final reform bill may want to keep a simple adage in mind: Don’t let AHIP’s duplicitous campaign win.”

This post features links to the best independent, progressive reporting about health care by members ofThe Media Consortium. It is free to reprint.  This is a project of The Media Consortium, a network of leading independent media outlets.

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63 comments

+ add your own
9:42AM PST on Jan 25, 2010

sorry but this is NOT a update on the case but something for you to made a point!

8:33AM PST on Jan 23, 2010

Are we all agreed that we hope to see the sad tide of abortive process diminish?

6:19AM PST on Jan 23, 2010

Well in your case at the death of a child.

1:10PM PST on Jan 22, 2010

"we ALL enjoy the benefits of freedom of speech."

In your case at the expense of the health and lives of women and girls.

7:27AM PST on Jan 22, 2010

we ALL enjoy the benefits of freedom of speech.

3:38AM PST on Jan 22, 2010

Until the adversaries of abortion can feed several hundred million mouths they do not have the means to feed, they need to keep their own mouths shut.

2:29PM PST on Jan 21, 2010

Preborn- 11-weeks after Conception.
Heart is Beating (since-18-25-DAYS)BRAIN waves have been Recorded at 40 DAYS,The baby swallows and can make a Fist,The baby has fingerprints and can kick,All the body systems are WORKING.The baby weighs abouth 1 Ounce-And is 2-to-3 inches long,The BABY cough fit comfortably in the Palm of the MOTHER HAND, Give this baby a CHOOSE to LIFE.(Adoption people are weighting)
I am R.N.nurse over 40 years,

9:32PM PST on Jan 20, 2010

"is not a newborn just as dependant on the mother for life?"

What if the fetus is doomed to die anyway?

8:45PM PST on Jan 20, 2010

Roger; is not a newborn just as dependant on the mother for life? It is absolutely helpless.

4:36PM PST on Jan 20, 2010

Roeder is scum and anyone who supports his views and actions is just as disgusting and pathetic as he is.

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Kristina Chew Kristina Chew teaches ancient Greek, Latin and Classics at Saint Peter's University in New Jersey.... more
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