Monday, January 11, 2010
The trial starts today of the man accused or murdering Dr. George Tiller. The judge has already rejected the defendant's claim of a necessity defense - that he should be acquitted because his action was necessary to prevent a greater harm. However, in doing so, the judge has also indicated that he might allow jurors to consider a defense theory that would allow conviction of voluntary manslaughter rather than manslaughter based on the defendant's “unreasonable but honest belief that circumstances existed that justified deadly force.” (The New York Times report is here.)
I find this very troubling. No opposition to abortion can justify the intentional killing of another being, even one who provides abortions. Whether or not one believes the claims of abortion rights advocates that allowing such a defense would “embolden anti-abortion extremists and could result in ‘open season’ on doctors across the country,” it does send a signal that such actions are less than the murders they are.