In May of 2009, Scott Roeder, a 51-year-old airport shuttle driver who had a "religious conversion" in the 1990s, and who had been stalking Dr. George Tiller for ten years, finally succeeded in murdering Dr. Tiller. He waited until Dr. Tiller and the other members of the Lutheran Church in Kansas were inside the church during a service, then snuck in the back door of the church with a concealed weapon, quietly crept up behind Dr. Tiller (who was sitting next to his wife), then put the gun to Dr. Tiller's head and pulled the trigger.
Dr. Tiller performed abortions. Scott Roeder testified that in his own personal opinion, life begins at the moment of conception. Under that theory, even an abortion performed one day after the pregnancy began would be considered "murder." Scott Roeder's views are those of a small but fanatical minority, usually men who also believe women should not be allowed to use birth control, or have any rights in our society.
This "born-again" fanatic who claimed he was acting out of religious belief shot Dr. Tiller in the head then fled the church, brandishing his gun at a few of the men inside the church who stood up and tried to stop him. Apparently his religious conversion included the belief that he was entitled to murder not only doctors but also anybody who tried to catch him when he was fleeing the scene of the crime.
His attorneys wanted to argue to the jury that this loser had acted in "defense of others," and his conduct was lawful. Under that theory, the loser Scott Roeder would be not just judge jury and executioner, but also God, and only he could decide whether a woman could terminate a pregnancy. The claim was that he had to murder Dr. Tiller in order to stop future abortions. The judge did not allow this to be presented to the jury. The judge was right. Scott Roeder is not God, and has no right to interfere in other people's medical decisions. He certainly is not entitled to kill people because he disagrees with their decisions.
Let's say a woman who is on the verge of kidney failure because of a problem pregancy, and the only way to save her life is to abort the fetus: ask Scott, see what he says. Or the 12 year old rape victim. Or the woman who has just been advised that her fetus has some genetic abnormality and will be dead within a few days of a "natural" birth. Ask Scott, see what he says.
Under this theory, promoted by the right-wing, women should have no control over their own bodies, and should not even have the right to save their own lives. Further, just like Tim McVeigh, another hero to the right wing, this guy Scott Roeder claimed that he, as a white male, had the absolute right to decide who should live and who should die.
Roeder claimed that if he thought it was appropriate, he could have killed all the nurses who worked on any abortion, and walked away without any legal consequences. He could have killed the intake-clerk who signed the woman in, or the janitor who just cleaned the halls. He could have killed the husband who agreed with his wife's decision to terminate the pregnancy, or killed the neighbor who gave the woman a ride to the clinic. He could have killed the 12-year-old girl who was gang-raped and desperately needed to terminate the pregnancy to save her own sanity. He could have killed the 45 year old woman with 6 kids and a bum drunk for a husband who had raped her when she slept so she couldn't use her diaphragm. The life and death of countless people should all have been left to Scott Roeder, loser and fanatic. That's his theory.
Scott Roeder claimed he was entitled to murder all these people. The right-wing supports him in that belief because they hate women and they also agree that white men should be able to kill anyone they want, to rule the world.
Here's my problem with this story: if Scott Roeder claimed that God told him to do it, and he was absolutely right in his murder of Dr. Tiller, then why did he flee the church, why did he threaten to shoot the other men in the church who tried to stop him from running away? Did god tell him to hide? Why didn't he stay there in the church and say "Yeah, I did it, and God told me to. So there." Why? Because he's a murderer and a coward, and he knew that what he did was wrong, and he thought maybe if he ran, he could get away with it.
Scott Roeder has been sentenced to life in prison. I guess he'd better hope that he doesn't run into some other prisoner who thinks he's entitled to kill anyone he wants. What comes around goes around.