Judge OKs 'Necessity Defense' in Abort Doc Killing

Critics fear ruling will inspire new attacks
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 12, 2010 5:31 AM CST
Updated Jan 12, 2010 6:18 AM CST
Dr. George Tiller was gunned down by Scott Roeder because he performed abortions.   (AP Photo/Larry Smith, File)
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(Newser) – A Kansas judge has stunned prosecutors by ruling that the confessed killer of abortion doctor George Tiller can argue that the killing was a justified act aimed at saving unborn children. Prosecutors had fought to keep the abortion issue out of Scott Roeder's trial. Abortion rights advocates fear the ruling will now inspire others to attack abortion providers.

"This judge has basically announced a death sentence for all of us who help women," a friend of Tiller's told the AP. "That is the effect of the ruling." Roeder, who has admitted shooting Tiller at a church service last year, could be sentenced to just 5 years in prison for the slaying if he convinces a jury that it was voluntary manslaughter instead of first-degree murder.

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