Scott Roeder took the stand in his murder trial today, and admitted to killing George Tiller because of his belief that "from conception forward, [abortion] is murder."

As is clear from the clip above, Roeder was more than willing to admit his guilt. His defense team hopes to prove that he had "an unreasonable but honest belief that circumstances existed that justified deadly force," and so his views on abortion have become part of the trial. Roeder says he doesn't believe in abortion in cases of rape or incest, because "that is punishing the sins of the father." He thinks it's justified to save the mother's life, but, he adds, "I struggle with that."
He describes his objection to abortion thus: "It is not a man's job to take life. It is our heavenly father's. He is our creator." Roeder later amends his statement, saying that, "it's never to man to take life, only in cases of self-defense or defense of others" — still, it's chilling that he perceives abortion as murder and his own crime as justifiable.

Though Judge Warren Wilbert is allowing Roeder's team to put forth a voluntary manslaughter defense, he's also trying to keep the trial from becoming "a referendum on abortion." He's disallowed the testimony of former Kansas Attorney General Phill Kline, who tried unsuccessfully to charge Tiller with performing illegal abortions. The defense had hoped that Kline's testimony might help establish that Roeder believed Tiller's actions to be illegal, a requirement for the voluntary manslaughter defense. Wilbert also wouldn't let Roeder testify about how many abortions Tiller performed, or about abortion techniques, because he couldn't say where his information came from. Roeder did describe one type of abortion as "where they go in and tear the baby limb from limb" — Wilbert ordered these words stricken from the record.

What's most disturbing about video footage of Roeder's testimony is his calm. He's not raving, and while some of his facts are wrong and all of his ideas are abhorrent, he presents them in a relatively articulate manner. It would have been comforting, in a small way, if he had been visibly insane. Instead, Roeder is capable of describing his heinous act in a cool and collected manner — a manner that's surely pleasing and inspiring to those who believe his crime was justified. Let's hope the jury isn't fooled.

Man Testifies He Killed Kansas Abortion Doctor [AP, via MSNBC]
Roeder Trial Updates: On The Stand, Scott Roeder Admits To Killing George Tiller [Wichita Eagle]
Scott Roeder Takes The Stand In Tiller Murder Trial [AP, via Fox4KC.com]