A DISCUSSION OF LAW AND JOURNALISM

Tag: abortion

The Right to Not Have an Abortion

By Nicole Rowlands

There’s a stigma that comes with being a teen mom. You may not graduate high school. In less than a year, you may get pregnant again. And eight out of ten teen pregnancy cases do not end up in marriage. But for a 16-year-old teen from Houston, Texas, none of it matters.

She wants her baby. And she will keep it. Despite the odds against her.

According to the teen, her parents tried coercing her to have an abortion. She told the press that after finding out about her pregnancy, her parents took away her phone and her car, pulled her out of school, and made her get two jobs in an effort to make her miserable so that she’d give up and agree to abort her baby.  Her mother allegedly threatened to “slip her an abortion pill.” And her father told her he was going to “look into canceling her health insurance.”

Her parents gave her two choices: one, she could “live in misery” in their home, or two, she could “have the abortion and tell everyone it was a miscarriage.”

The teen sought the court’s help to sue her parents and was represented by lawyers from the Texas Center for Defense of Life. In the end, she and her parents reached an agreement and she was “allowed” to go through with the pregnancy. But, as a minor, if the case had gone forward, would she have won?

The press didn’t analyze the legal issues involved. We will.

(more…)

Comments

No Comments »

A Novel but Failed Defense for Abortion Doc Killer

By Ted Wills

Recent media accounts of the Scott Roeder murder trial have sacrificed a precise portrayal of the law for attention-grabbing headlines. Headlines such as “Manslaughter Defense Allowed in Abortion Killing: ‘Voluntary Manslaughter’ Defense Would Carry 5-Year Sentence Instead Of Life in Prison” are misleading at best, and add fuel to the fire of the culture wars.

It took a jury just 37 minutes to convict Scott Roeder of first-degree murder in the shooting death of George Tiller, a Kansas abortion doctor who specialized in the legal, though controversial practice of performing late-term abortions.

The evidence was clear enough: Witnesses testified that Roeder walked into a church service and shot Dr. Tiller in the head before a crowd of terrified parishioners. Roeder was quickly apprehended—his shoes soaked in Tiller’s blood. However, in a pretrial ruling that aroused consternation across the nation, the trial judge ruled that Roeder would be allowed to present evidence to establish a defense of voluntary manslaughter. Under Kansas law, this defense is available to a charge of first-degree murder if at the time of the murder, the defendant had an honest belief, even if unreasonable, that his use of force was necessary to prevent imminent, unlawful harm to another.

(more…)

Comments

No Comments »