August 11, 2009

Anti-Abortion Militants Visit George Tiller’s Killer – And Women’s Health Advocates Ask Why

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Rachel Maddow devoted more than seven minutes of Monday night’s show to the elevated threat against doctors who provide abortions, noting that “perpertrators of violence [against doctors] are not just being turned into martyrs — they’re being turned into leaders.”

The coverage was sparked by a Kansas City Star story on the high number of anti-abortion rights activists who have been visiting and communicating with Scott Roeder, the man accused of killing abortion doctor George Tiller.

The list, writes Judy L. Thomas, “reads like a who’s who of anti-abortion militants”:

Two convicted clinic bombers. The man behind the Army of God Web site. Several activists who once signed a declaration that defended the killing of abortion doctors.

And federal agents have now talked to many of them. [...]

The federal investigation into the possible existence of a conspiracy began after Tiller — one of a handful of doctors in the country who performed late-term abortions — was shot in his Wichita church on May 31 while serving as an usher. Roeder, 51, of Kansas City, was charged with first-degree murder. He has pleaded not guilty, and a trial is scheduled for Sept. 21.

Roeder’s bond was originally set at $5 million, but a judge raised it to $20 million after Roeder called The Associated Press on June 7 and warned that there were “many other similar events planned around the country as long as abortion remains legal.”

Maddow’s guest, Amy Hagstrom Miller, president of Whole Woman’s Health, said that visitors to the county jail where Roeder is being held are parading “in broad daylight, almost in defiance that the government will do anything about it.”

Meanwhile, Jodi Jacobson reports that the U.S. Department of Justice has removed the federal marshals assigned to protect Dr. Leroy Carhart, whose clinic in Nebraska has long been the target of protests. Carhart recently said he intends to open another clinic in Kansas.


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