Catholic Culture Liturgical Living
Catholic Culture Liturgical Living

no foul, no harm

By Diogenes ( articles ) | Jan 29, 2010

A Kansas jury needed only 40 minutes to deliberate before delivering a guilty verdict in the murder trial of Scott Roeder, who killed the infamous later-term abortion specialist George Tiller. 

There was never any doubt that Roeder was the man who shot Tiller in the head last May. Roeder even admitted that he had planned the killing. The defendant's lawyers argued only that the criminal charge should be something short of murder-- voluntary manslaughter, perhaps-- because Roeder said that he had killed Roeder in order to save others-- unborn children-- from harm. 

That argument is undermined by the fact that at the actual time of the shooting, Tiller was participating in Sunday services at his Lutheran parish church. But the judge who presided at the trial instructed the jury to disregard the "necessity defense" for another reason as well. The Wall Street Journal reports:

Judge Wilbert said that didn't apply in this case because Dr. Tiller posed no imminent threat to anyone as he stood in his church and because his abortion practice was legal. 

A CNN account provides the judge's actual words:

There is no imminence of danger on a Sunday morning in the back of a church, let alone any unlawful conduct, given that what Tiller did at his clinic Monday through Friday is lawful in Kansas. 

While in church he wasn't a threat; that argument is unanswerable. There was no need, then, for the judge to add a second argument. But he did: He said that abortion cannot be a threat to anyone because it is legal. 

If it's legal, it's not harmful. Think about how that argument applies to:

  • the recreational use of over-the-counter drugs
  • the release of toxic chemicals into the environment, in ways not explicitly banned by existing legislation
  • cigarette smoking
  • the "securitization" of high-risk mortgages

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