Dr. Tiller's Assassin Found Guilty

Forty minutes for first-degree murder:

(CNN) -- A Kansas jury deliberated just 40 minutes before convicting a man who said he killed to stop abortions guilty of first-degree murder.

The jury found Scott Roeder, 51, guilty of gunning down Dr. George Tiller, who operated a clinic in Wichita where late-term abortions were performed. Roeder, 51, faces life in prison when he is sentenced on March 9.

There's also a brief discussion in the article on why the judge rejected the voluntary manslaughter defense--1) no imminent danger, and 2) performing abortions is legal:

[Dr. Tiller's assassin's] testimony was intended just as much for the jury as it was to convince Judge Warren Wilbert that evidence existed to support a possible conviction of voluntary manslaughter. A conviction on the lesser offense, which is defined as "an unreasonable but honest belief that circumstances existed that justified deadly force," would have set Roeder free from prison after five years.

Earlier in the trial, Wilbert said he would rule after hearing evidence in the case, acknowledging that he felt the defense faced "an uphill battle." Ultimately, he rejected the theory, saying testimony did not support the defense claim that Roeder's beliefs justified using deadly force against Tiller.

"There is no imminence of danger on a Sunday morning in the back of a church, let alone any unlawful conduct, given that what Tiller did at his clinic Monday through Friday is lawful in Kansas," the judge said.

ETA: I just saw this, from an AP article on the sentencing:

Roeder, the lone defense witness, testified Thursday that he considered elaborate schemes to stop Tiller, including chopping off his hands, crashing a car into him or sneaking into his home to kill him.

But in the end, Roeder told jurors, the easiest way was to walk into Tiller's church, put a gun to the man's forehead and pull the trigger.

"Those children were in immediate danger if someone did not stop George Tiller," Roeder said. "They were going to continue to die."

In addition to the Talibanesque plan to chop off Dr. Tiller's hands, what jumped out at me is the fact that for Dr. Tiller's assassin the uterine containers aren't even part of his bizarre belief system.

Because if your belief system allows that, you know, sentient pregnant women do, indeed, roam freely amongst us then you'd have to acknowledge that the way to indulge your belief about imaginary children in immediate danger is to go after the pregnant women themselves.

Maybe chop off the pregnant women's hands so they can't sign the consent form, or shoot non-pregnant females of reproductive age in the head preventively, or, better yet, kidnap pregnant patients, strap them down, forcibly insert an IV and a feeding tube and make them carry the pregnancy to term and deliver.

Hmm, on second thought, maybe it's for the best that people like Dr. Tiller's assassin don't believe that pregnant women capable of making decisions actually exist.

The Torter Who Wanted To Be President

The fact that presidential wanna-be John Edwards was a torter should have clued people in that he was unfit to run for dog catcher.

The fact that presidential wanna-be John Edwards had unprotected intercourse with his mistress (bonus points for doing that while his wife was in an immunodepressed state!) and, according to his former aide Andrew Young, was unaware that pregnancy might be a possible outcome, indicates that his grasp on reality is, at best, tenuous:

Young describes Edwards as "barely under control" the first time the two men discussed Hunter's pregnancy.

Edwards called Hunter a "crazy slut" and questioned who fathered the baby. He asked Young to help talk her into an abortion, but she wanted the baby.

Dog Zen

It's Monday morning, time for not one but two adorable puppies at Rule of Dog.

Dog Zen

A bit late but still guaranteed to put a smile on your face: Rule of Dog

Aid to Haiti, "Demented" AP Reporters, and Compassionate Invasions

Pharyngula has an appeal for disaster relief in Haiti for those of the godless persuasion so please consider donating if you haven't already done so.

On a related note, what is it with the poor quality of reporting from Haiti? When reporters don't regale us with stories of their accommodations, the hardships they've had to endure by sleeping outside by the hotel pool, and their innermost feelings they come up with garbage like this:

An apparently demented elderly woman began preaching on the sideline of the Mass: "Where is our justice? Now the palace of justice has been broken down ... we are all infected by disease. The end is near."

And how exactly did the reporters determine that the woman was "demented", based on what she was saying? Because in that case they clearly forgot to give us their clinical diagnosis of the Rev. Eric Toussaint who was holding a service at the destroyed cathedral:

"I watched the destruction of the cathedral from this window," he said, pointing to a window in what remains of the archdiocese office. "I am not dead because God has a plan for me."

"What happens is a sign from God, saying that we must recognize his power - we need to reinvent ourselves,"

You know, even if you believe in your heart of hearts that you're so much more special than the tens of thousands of your fellow citizens who died a horrible death and that the way your god signals you is by inflicting mass destruction, there are times, like the immediate aftermath of a 7.0 earthquake that leveled your city, when you should just keep your beliefs to yourself.

Of course, both the elderly woman and the Rev. Toussaint have been through an unimaginable ordeal and their actions should be judged through that prism. The same cannot be said about the AP reporters. Referring to a poor person who's just experienced a tremendous trauma and is probably still in shock, not to mention hungry and dehydrated, as "demented" is beyond unprofessional.

One more thing. Has anyone else noticed that we've just dispatched our military to yet another country and, once again, we're making it up as we go along?

I get that the military has unequaled capabilities and I also don't expect them to wave a magic wand and make everything better. But, for all intents and purposes, the window to find survivors in the rubble has closed (I still can't wrap my head around that one. Survive the quake only to slowly die in the rubble because there are no rescuers available. Tragedy on top of tragedy.) and the critical aid one is rapidly dwindling away.

Dig out survivors, control air traffic, clear the port and roads, provide hospital ships and distribute supplies, and assist the population, the local authorities and the U.N. troops with their immediate needs. Beyond that, maybe stop and assess if having our military engage in yet another long-term nation building project is the best use of our troops and, more importantly, is in the best interest of the Haitian people.

Kill All Ob/Gyns and Be Done With It?

I must admit I don't understand either the judge's or the prosecution's reasoning in the recent decision in the trial of Dr. Tiller's assassin. Any lawyers care to comment?


But what had been expected to be an open-and-shut murder trial was upended Friday when a judge decided to let Roeder argue he should be convicted of voluntary manslaughter because he believed the May 31 slaying would save unborn children. Suddenly, the case has taken on a new significance that has galvanized both sides of the nation's abortion debate.

So, a person can plan and carry out the assassination of fertility specialists or Ob/Gyns who only perform deliveries but have a high C/S rate and argue manslaughter because of a belief that the slaying would save already born female patients. In other words, just the fact that a person holds whatever personal belief is a good enough justification for manslaughter?


Prosecutors on Monday challenged the ruling, arguing that such a defense is not appropriately considered with premeditated first-degree murder when there is no evidence of an imminent attack at the time of the killing, and jury selection was delayed. A hearing was scheduled for Tuesday afternoon to give the defense time to respond.

How can a safe, effective, consented, and legal medical procedure be considered an attack?

What legal sleight of hand am I missing here?

Dog Zen

Monday morning, time for Rule of Dog.

Science Teacher Sells Evangelical Novel to Students

What does science class, a God-fearing doctor, a Devil-worshiping young woman, and Satan have in common? Unfortunately, a lot more than you would think:

Reading, writing and Lucifer?

A Brooklyn principal has reprimanded a sixth-grade teacher for selling students a book that tells how to "recognize those serving Satan and bring them to Jesus."

Steven Arizmendi sold "He Came to Set the Captives Free" to four of his students at Junior High School 220 in Sunset Park for $5 apiece. The science teacher also loaned copies of the evangelical novel to eight students.

The book, which follows a God-fearing doctor who wins over a Devil-worshiping young woman, bills itself as an "honest, in-depth account of Satan's activities today."

Fortunately, the crack team at the city's Education Department is on the case.

Plan B One-Step Cupon

You should always have emergency contraception like Plan B One-Step, Next Choice, or i-Pill handy if you're not planning a pregnancy but you might not always be too keen on the expense.

Good news on the financial front. Between a $10 off cupon for Plan B One-Step* from the manufacturer and the i-Pill for only $19.98 on Amazon the cost of a safe afterglow has become a bit more affordable. So, no more excuses, if you plan to have sex go forth and buy the emergency contraceptive pill first.

And since I mentioned emergency contraception, let me clarify a point I made in my last post on Plan B and Next Choice, and Plan B One-Step and i-Pill.

Plan B One-Step and the i-Pill are one-tablet (1.5 mg levonorgestrel) packs. You take the pill as soon as possible after the act of unprotected intercourse, up to 120 hrs (5 days). The sooner you take the pill, the better.

Plan B and Next Choice are two-tablet packs. The instructions tell you to take the first pill as soon as possible after unprotected intercourse up to 72 hours, and the second pill 12 hours later.

In my post I mentioned that you should disregard the instructions and take both pills at the same time (as soon as possible, up to 120 hrs). And why should you do that?

To make it easier on yourself. Research has indicated that both doses can be taken at the same time (one Plan B/Next Choice pill is 0.75 mg levonorgestrel, two are 1.5 mg; Plan B One-Step/i-Pill tablet is 1.5 mg) so, by taking both pills at once, you eliminate the risk of forgetting/something preventing you from taking the second dose 12 hrs later.

*Thank you, Stacey.

Dog Zen

Start your week right with Rule of Dog.

More on Plan B One-Step and i-Pill/ Nextime, Next Choice and Plan B

Princeton's Reproductive Health Technologies Project has a great chart of FDA approved emergency contraceptive pills (.pdf) currently available in the US.

Print it out, memorize it, and keep it handy! [May I suggest right next to your bed, you know, because there's nothing quite like whipping out a reference chart to enhance the mood.]

Two important things you should know:

1. Plan B, the two-pill packet, is being phased out (it's been discontinued). Don't be concerned if you cannot find it anymore. Use Next Choice, the two-pill generic instead or, even better, use Plan B One-Step or i-Pill / Nextime, the one-pill pack.

If you use Next Choice, disregard the package insert instructions to "take first tablet as soon as possible within 72 hours after unprotected intercourse and the second tablet 12 hours after the first dose". You should take both tablets as soon as possible after unprotected intercourse, up to 120 hours (5 days).

2. i-Pill / Nextime, the same as Plan B One-Step from Cipla / Paras, is available from (of all places!) Amazon for only $19.98.

Bottom line: If you are of reproductive age, sexually active and not planning a pregnancy, the emergency contraceptive pill should always be within your reach. Don't wait for an emergency to happen and then launch into a mad dash to find a place that stocks it. Be prepared and have the emergency contraceptive pill handy.