crimesider

What Will EBay Do? Anti-Abortion Auction Slated for Alleged Killer of Abortion Doctor George Tiller

(AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
Photo: Protesters from Rev. Fred Phelps' Westboro Baptist Church demonstrate during funeral services for Dr. George Tiller Saturday, June 6, 2009.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (CBS/AP) EBay is suddenly finding itself in the middle of the abortion debate.

Anti-abortion activists are planning an auction on EBay and other online shopping sites to raise money to defend the man charged with killing Wichita, Kan., abortion doctor George Tiller.

The alleged shooter, Scott Roeder, said in a phone interview that he was excited about the auction, which is to include a manual for anti-abortion "militants" and a prison cookbook.

"I think it's great," said Roeder, who is scheduled to go on trial in January for the May 31 killing. "I appreciate it... I'm all for anything that might bring some donations in."

An Army of God manual is among the array of anti-abortion items to be offered for sale at auction. The underground publication describes dozens of ways to shut down abortion clinics, including bombing.

(AP Photo/Jaime Oppenheimer)
Photo: Scott Roeder, left, attends his preliminary hearing in court in Wichita, Kan. on Tuesday, July, 28, 2009.

Also for sale will be a prison cookbook compiled by Shelley Shannon, the Oregon woman who shot and wounded Tiller in 1993, and was later convicted in a series of abortion clinic arsons and bombings.

Supporters of abortion rights strongly oppose the auction.

"The network of extremists promoting and defending the murder of doctors is contributing to escalating threats against clinics and doctors across the country," said Kathy Spillar, executive vice president of the Feminist Majority Foundation.

Dave Leach, an Iowa abortion opponent who is organizing the auction effort, said he was aiming for a Nov. 1 start.

It was unclear if eBay would permit the sale.

EBay "does not allow listings that promote or glorify violence, hate, racial or religious intolerance, or items that encourage, promote, facilitate or instruct others to engage in illegal activity," the company said in a statement.

(AP/Mike Hutmacher, Wichita Eagle)
Photo: Dr. George Tiller during his March trial for allegedly performing late-term abortions without properly consulting a second doctor. Tiller was acquitted.

Public defenders are representing Roeder. But Leach and others would like to help him hire a lawyer to argue that Tiller was killed to prevent a greater harm, "killing babies."

"If we are not successful in finding a lawyer we can afford, we will distribute the money to prisoners who have sacrificed their years for the cause of saving lives," Leach said.

Roeder declined to comment about whether he would use such a defense.

Tiller, a prominent advocate for abortion rights, who was wounded by a protester more than a decade ago, was shot and killed at his church in Wichita earlier this year. Tiller, 67, is one of the few doctors in the U.S. who performed late-term abortions.

He was serving as an usher during morning services when he was shot in the foyer of Reformation Lutheran Church. The gunman fired one shot at Tiller and threatened two other people who tried to stop him.

(AP/Travis Heying, Wichita Eagle)
Photo: Dr. George Tiller's body is removed from Reformation Lutheran Church on May 31, 2009.

Tiller had been a lightning rod for abortion opponents for decades. The women's clinic he ran is one of three in the nation where abortions are performed after the 21st week of pregnancy, when the fetus is considered viable, and has been the site of repeated protests for about two decades.

Before Tiller, the last killing of an abortion doctor was in October 1998 when Dr. Barnett Slepian was fatally shot in his home in a suburb of Buffalo, N.Y. An abortion opponent was convicted of the murder.

MORE ON CRMESIDER
June 11, 2009 - Abortion Foes Want To Buy Slain Abortion Doc's Clinic
June 8, 2009 - Alleged Abortion Doc Killer Says More Murders Planned
June 4, 2009 - PETA Places Billboards In Wake Of Tiller Murder
June 2, 2009 - Man Charged With Killing Abortion Doc Has Long Anti-Gov History
June 2, 2009 - Abortion Debate Rages: Tiller Called "Mass Murderer"
June 2, 2009 - Abortion Foes Fear Backlash To Tiller's Slaying
June 1, 2009 - Abortion Doctor Murdered In Church, Suspect Jailed

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