The Freak Show Begins

The news today of Judge Warren Wilbert's ruling that Scott Roeder could present what is basically a justifiable homicide defense in his trial for the murder of Dr. George Tiller got about the reaction you'd expect. Pro-choice people like me are outraged because of the fear that more people like Roeder will consider a 5-year term a small enough penalty to pay for doing what they consider to be the Lord's work, and that abortion providers who already face intense danger for doing something that is completely legal will be put in greater jeopardy.

I would like to point out that abortion is a great example of how, for most people who consider themselves pro-life, the walk doesn't match the talk. After all, if abortion is murder--and that is the common construction used--then the mother who gets the abortion is guilty of premeditated murder, isn't she? The medical personnel who perform the procedure are guilty of the same, presumably, and anyone who either helps the mother get the abortion, like a husband or boyfriend or relative or close friend, is guilty of being an accessory. But you never hear much from your run-of-the-mill anti-choicers about suggesting that anyone but the doctors going to jail, and sometimes not even them. And you really don't hear much about people like Scott Roeder who, if you take the anti-choice movement's stated claims about abortion seriously, are doing what follows logically, namely, trying to stop a holocaust.

And there's a simple reason why you never hear any of that from mainstream anti-choice groups--because they know that if most people who claim the tag of pro-life just stopped for a moment and thought about what they're arguing, they'd shrink in horror from the conclusions, because to do anything else makes you a monster. Their support would dry up faster than Randall Terry can make an ass of himself at a press conference, and they know that. So they hide behind slut-shaming and nonsense about life beginning at conception (even though 40% to 60% of fertilized eggs never implant and many of those spontaneously abort) and support ever more onerous restrictions on women who are already making a very difficult choice and they never acknowledge that they created Scott Roeder.

That's right. They created Scott Roeder. He took what they said literally and went to the logical conclusion, which was that Dr. George Tiller was committing murder and that the law wasn't going to stop him, and that it was worth whatever penalty the law could place upon him even unto his own death if it meant that Tiller wouldn't kill any more babies. That's the case Scott Roeder is going to make now, thanks to Judge Warren Wilbert (assuming he doesn't change his mind after hearing objections today). It would be easy for me to sit back here, as a blogger and English teacher, and say "bring it on!" (as our numbskull former President did once upon a time). "Let the freaks get in front of the camera like they did with Terry Schiavo!" It's easy for me to say because no one will be taking a shot at me for doing my job--a completely legal, constitutionally-protected job in the case of abortion providers.

But they will shoot at abortion providers, and the volunteers who escort patients in and out of the clinics, and the patients themselves, and they'll be encouraged to do it more if Roeder is allowed to present this defense to the jury, because there are more people who are willing to sacrifice five years of their lives to God than are willing to go the whole hog and really stick their necks out for their beliefs.

The only good that can come out of this ruling, assuming it stands, is if the media actually covers the freak show and shows it for what it is. If that happens, maybe, just maybe they overreach like they did with Schiavo--same people were involved in that fiasco--and the anti-choice movement takes a hit with people who are on the fence. But that's a longshot, and it's not worth it to me to take the chance that truly innocent people might be murdered by a psychopath who doesn't understand biology and thinks God has his back.

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