Dr. Tiller's murderer was found guilty of first degree homicide today after 37 minutes of jury deliberation. Judge Warren Wilber presided over the case and said "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," in response to the murderer's attempt at arguing voluntary manslaughter.
Ann Swengel, prosecutor, deserves our thanks for her defense of abortion care providers against the idea that we are a group open for hunting under the law. Had the murderer's attempt at a voluntary manslaughter conviction been successful, he would have been free from prison after only five years, setting a dangerous precedent for us. A devastating loss has been suffered because of what this man has done, and his imprisonment, of any length, can't fix it, but it can keep clear our system's history of just punishment for murder, as defined by unlawful taking of life, no matter what your career is.
Just two doctors, Dr. Hern and Dr. Casey, are left that can perform the work Dr. Tiller did, and they face violent opposition on the job and outside of work every day, as do all other abortion care providers. Upholding our right to practice without the threat of death because our profession gives them a green light to shoot us is a win for decent people as a whole, regardless of your feelings on abortion.
Many people who self-identify as pro-life have abortions, it happens every day, I've seen it happen twice a week, and many families who have wanted their child for years have found themselves making this decision with sorrow out of medical necessity, and those families especially are the people suffering by the death of these providers. I can't say that this ruling makes me happy, but it does lend itself to a certain ease and comfort after his death.
Of course, in Kansas, life means 15-to-life, which means that after 15 years he will be up for parole for the first time, though it is unlikely to be doled out. Kansas is one of only three states to have laws setup such that no crime, no matter how heinous, is punishable by life without the possibility of parole. So he's up for chatsies about it in 2025, when he will be 66.