Repro Wrap: Anti-Choice Terrorists Get More Trials, More Publicity, and other News

Kansas has passed a new legislative rule that affects mandatory minimum sentences and that has a number of people behind bars appealing. Most notable among those convicted is Scott Roeder, the man who murdered Dr. George Tiller in 2009. Roeder’s lawyers have decided to appeal his sentence, arguing that the mandatory minimum of 50 years with no possibility for parole that he faces is no longer constitutional. But as part of their appeal, they also intend to argue that the jury should have been able to convict him of voluntary manslaughter, a lesser offense, predicated on the idea that Roeder believed that he had to kill Dr. Tiller in order to “save the lives” of the embryos and fetuses that the abortion provider would terminate.

A new trial for Roeder means a repeat of the media circus that surrounded his last court appearances. It also means a resurgence of the anti-choice terrorists that supported Roeder in his quest to murder the doctor, or after the fact. Operation Rescue will no doubt be present, as both the local arm of the militant anti-choice wing and because of Cheryl Sullenger’s link with Roeder. Also expected to make an appearance would be those who associate themselves with justifiable homicide, such as Operation Save America members, Missionaries to the Preborn and, of course, the Army of God, who call Roeder an “American Hero” and facilitate conversations with him.

There’s little doubt that Army of God is already involved in this new hearing. Violent anti-choice terrorists flooded the original trial with their support, including legal documents, and they have apparently drawn up more briefings this time as well. “The high court has been presented with a litany of issues on appeal, both from abortion opponent Scott Roeder’s court-appointed defense attorney and from filings written for him by militant anti-abortion activists,” writes the Associated Press. Foremost among these filings is a reiteration that Roeder believed he was saving lives, or what anti-abortion activists refer to as the “necessity defense.”

Roeder’s new hearing isn’t the only place the Army of God is popping up, either. They’ve also decided to host Eric Rudolph’s autobiography on their site. Rudolph is in jail for multiple bombings, including both abortion providers and the site of the 1996 Olympics. Rudolph originally tried to publish the book through a publisher, but was forbidden from making money off of his crimes, so now the website will host it for free download.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office has called Rudolph’s book “reprehensible.” “It is reprehensible for a criminal who killed a police officer and caused so many families so much pain, to attempt to justify his crimes at this late date,” Peggy Sanford, spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office, stated in an email to “If Rudolph makes any effort to profit from this publication, the U.S. Attorney’s Office will take appropriate steps to ensure that does not happen.”

Guttmacher has released its latest state of reproductive rights legislation analysis, and recent count shows that although anti-choice laws have slowed down, there have been more restrictions passed in the last three years than there were in the decade prior. No wonder pro-choice groups are arguing that 2014 is the year to stop playing defense on abortion and birth control access. For that to happen, however, we need strong politicians in office who will uphold the right to bodily autonomy. The question becomes: what do we do with candidates who don’t have that track record?

That’s one that will soon need to be asked in Wisconsin, as Kathleen Vinehout challenges Mary Burke for the Democratic endorsement for Governor. Republican Scott Walker is one of the most vulnerable GOP governors in the 2014 cycle, but the two women most likely to take him on have vastly different records on the right to an abortion. Vinehout, a former Democrat for Life, says that she has “evolved” on the issue, however, as the pro-life platform has turned into an all or nothing “protect life from fertilized egg to moment of natural death by ceasing of heartbeat” litmus test.

Vinehout might not be the only politician in Wisconsin evolving, either. Even the Republican party itself seems to be cooling on their anti-choice platitudes, with the Senate leader saying there may no longer be enough support to pass anymore restrictions this legislative session. Then again, that could just be a facade, since no one ever wants to have a number of contentious social issue votes happening right before a reelection.

Except of course for Republican Governor Sam Brownback. The Kansas leader says he’s not sure if any abortion restriction will come to his desk this year, especially the contentious “heartbeat” ban that would make abortion illegal as early as 4 weeks post conception. If they do, however, he wants people to remember that he “is prolife,” so he’d sign anything he can get his hands on.

Pro-life advocates in Louisiana want to make abortion the primary voting issue during the 2014 election, and Ohio is still desperate to get a “personhood” amendment on the ballot. In Texas, clinics continue to remain closed because of unnecessary regulations while crisis pregnancy centers are taking over the landscape with their advice on how to stay pregnant and their refusal to help people avoid pregnancy in the first place. One small part of the birth control mandate was blocked from going into effect this week, but soon we will see if any of the other lawsuits will bear fruit. In Israel, abortions will be free if you are between the ages of 20 and 33, regardless of the reason you want one, but you will have to tell a panel of judges why you are requesting it.

Finally, two fantastic profiles this week: one an extensive look at Dr. Kenneth Edelin, who passed away this week. Dr. Edelin was convicted of manslaughter by a racist jury when performing a legal abortion in 1975. The second is an interview with Tamesha Means, the woman suing the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops for not allowing her to obtain an abortion when she was miscarrying at a Catholic hospital.

Photo credit: Thinkstock


Jim Ven
Jim Ven8 months ago


Jerome S
Jerome S8 months ago

thanks for sharing.

Karen H.
Karen H4 years ago

Republicans in the House of Representatives are looking to make 2014 another banner year for anti-abortion laws. A panel of 12 MEN on the House Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing on a bill Thursday that would deny tax subsidies to women and small businesses who purchase health insurance plans that include abortion coverage.
The Republican National Committee has announced it plans to delay its annual winter meeting this year so members can attend the annual March for Life, an anti-abortion rally in Washington, D.C.
Now’s the time to bombard your representatives to tell them how you feel.

Marie W.
Marie W4 years ago

Sharia Law is what the so called Pro Lifers preach.

Carole L.
Carole L4 years ago

Janice T
“We can have God in prison but we cannot have him in schools or government. This is not fair!”

oh I dunno, they don't let any of the other gods in schools or government either. You don't hear any of their followers whining about it. what makes your god so much more special than other gods or beliefs?

holly m
“But what about the rights of the unborn?”

what about the rights of the already-born?

pam w.
pam w4 years ago

Janice T.....since you want your god in public schools...have you ANY idea how many non-Christians pay their taxes and send their children to public schools?

Don't you think those good people deserve a RELIGION-FREE education in the schools they help pay for?

Same thing's true with government. If you want to it silently. I ASSUME you think your god can hear you? Then why impose it on people who don't share your belief?

Michael T.
Michael T4 years ago

Sorry the I didnt' mean to include the last paragraph in the previous post.

Michael T.
Michael T4 years ago

Brain performance after birth proceeds through stages with the first stage spanning 2 years from a baby with no awareness of environment to a child aware of the environment and the ability to discriminate among varying stimuli

In the first months outside the womb awareness of self begins to develop and it begins to do things that are no longer just reflexive development and become the stirrings of conscious experimentation and awareness of self.

Processes are activated after fertilization which develops both the anatomy and physiology of a future human being in a maturation process in which it eventually becomes one. It usually takes about 9 months during what is called gestation when eventually other processes allow it to pass through the mother’s vagina whereupon it becomes a full human being.

Even then, it is still lacking a fully developed brain. I will say it again, neither the embryo, nor fetus, possess a consciousness. This fact eliminates any ability of this potential human being in directing its own biological development. Since I have nullified your claim that an embryo or fetus directs its’ own development, the question of who or what else does is immaterial. You should know this.

Michael T.
Michael T4 years ago

Holly, a couple of things. It might help if you read some of the previous posts where there is some factual information that might help you think otherwise.

It is a child once it is born, not before. In the womb it is a fetus. No one is murdering innocent children.

At birth Cortical control is minimal and there is no myelin in cerebral hemispheres until 1st month postpartum. Even at 3 months post natal white and gray matter is barely demarcated and only becomes apparent at 6 months. Dendritic development in the newborn cortex is poor, and correlates with the absence of alpha activity in the ECG of newborn.

Even at three months out of the womb a full term baby doesn't have any differentiation between the cerebral cortex and the myelinated fibers that are there for the transference of impulses. There is no cortex yet to process the impulses. Meaning a 3 month old doesn't even think yet. It will take this baby another 3 months for that gray matter to begin to function in determining the first conscious interpretations of self. It will take another year and a half to begin to sort where baby ends and the world begins.