A Kansas grand jury assigned to review allegations of illegal late-term abortions performed by George Tiller, Wichita’s resident abortionist, says the law banning such procedures appears to have been written to protect a viable fetus, but under the interpretation mandated by the state Supreme Court, ‘We doubt that any investigation … will yield an outcome that will provide any basis for indictment.”
The grand jury was called into session by petition of the people of Kansas, and was assigned to review records of Tiller’s Wichita business, specifically in regard to the state law that bans late-term abortions without a diagnosis that the unborn child would cause a “substantial and irreversible impairment” for the mother.
The grand jury announced yesterday, shortly after the first of the medical records it was supposed to review began trickling in, that it was shutting down operations without issuing any indictments. And it explained why:
“Unless, and until the State Legislature is willing to amend the present statutes and provide clearer and more definitive guidelines regarding ‘substantial and irreversible impairment,’ or impose new or additional statutory limitations on the ability of a woman to obtain abortion of a viable fetus, we doubt that any investigation into the practices and procedures of Dr. Tiller and the women’s Health Care Services will yield an outcome that will provide an basis for indictment,” the grand jury said.
Tiller, who runs a politically influential PAC in Kansas, also faces criminal charges filed by former Attorney General Paul Morrison alleging he failed to follow state law regarding late-term abortions, and a trial on those counts has been delayed several times.
Morrison, who later resigned in disgrace during a sex scandal, had supplanted an earlier 30-count package filed by former Attorney General Phill Kline with the 19 lesser counts.
When Morrison filed the lesser counts, he said, “The Kansas late-term abortion statute, K.S.A. 65-6703, states that the doctor performing the abortion must have ‘a documented referral from another physician not legally or financially affiliated with the physician performing or inducing the abortion and both physicians determine that: (1) the abortion is necessary to preserve the life of the pregnant woman; or (2) a continuation of the pregnancy will cause a substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function of the pregnant woman.’”
“Due to the serious nature of late-term abortion, the Legislature chose to require that two independent doctors make the determination of ‘substantial and irreversible’ harm before an abortion can be performed,” Morrison said.
His charges allege Tiller and the second doctor who endorsed Tiller’s opinions, Ann Kristin Neuhaus, “were not financially and legally independent as required by Kansas law.”
The failure of the grand jury to produce an indictment was not really “news” to the organization Kansans For Life.
“It is no surprise to us,” the organization said. “Throughout this entire effort, which began in August of 2007, there ha[ve] been continual efforts to circumvent the law and continual efforts to prevent the grand jury from obtaining the evidence they needed to truly investigate the allegations.”
The group charged that Wichita District Attorney Nola Foulston avoided and tried to “thwart” a thorough investigation of Tiller for years, and the Kansas Board of Health Arts offered “continual delays and cover up” in the case.
The group noted that a few of the records originally sought by the grand jury in 2007 only in recent weeks were given to the grand jury to review, a review that resulted in the description of “questionable” procedures.
The statement from grand jury members noted that the state law was written “to insure that only the gravest of circumstances would allow the abortion of a viable fetus.”
“However, the medical records reviewed by this Jury revealed a number of questionable late-term abortions with regard to the diagnosis of ‘substantial and irreversible impairment.’ As the law is written and interpreted by the Kansas Supreme Court, late-term abortions will continue for many circumstances that would seem, as a matter of common interpretation, not to meet the definition of ‘substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function.”
After the legislature approved the abortion limitation, it was expanded by an opinion from a previous attorney general, Carla Stovall, an abortion supporter, who concluded any mental health risks are included as a “major bodily function.”
According to an organization called Operation Rescue in Wichita, that allowed for the abortion of viable babies on the simple allegation of the “depression” of the mother.
Kansas for Life also blamed “the corruption and political favoritism at all levels of Kansas government” for the grand jury result.
“Huge sums of money used by the abortion industry in the election of Gov. Kathleen Sebelius. Huge sums of money used to elect pro-abortion Attorney General Paul Morrison and to defeat the investigation taking place by Attorney General Phill Kline. The influence of the abortion industry on Gov. Sebelius to appoint Stephen Six as attorney general,” the group cited as problems.
“Human beings, even those in the womb, are our greatest natural resource and worthy of our every effort to protect them AND to provide assistance to the women who find themselves in difficult situations,” the organization said in a statement released by Donna Lippoldt. “Other plans to bring about justice are in place and will be revealed in a few days.”
“Dr. Tiller complies with the law and the scurrilous attempts by extremists to suggest otherwise should now be put to rest and disregarded in the future,” Tiller’s lawyers said in a prepared statement.
Troy Newman, of Operation Rescue, said the failure of the grand jury was a disappointment.
“Our own research proves that viable babies up until the moment of birth are being wrongly and illegally killed by Tiller and his cohorts under the misuse of a mental health exception that was not written into the law, but forced upon it by a pro-abortion former attorney general,” he said. “Once again, we are suspicious that corrupt influences in the government, which have been influenced by Tiller’s large financial involvement in Kansas politics, may have thwarted justice once again.”
WND reported just a days ago the trial for Tiller against was delayed, being rescheduled now for later this month.
While motions and appeals can typically delay cases on their path to trial, Kline, now district attorney in Johnson county, sees Tiller’s delays as inordinate.
“In this instance we’ve had extraordinary intervention by the courts,” Kline told WND, “continuing to entertain appeals typically not available to any other criminal defendant.”
The case against Tiller has been in the news since he was first investigated by Kline in 2006, incorporating into its drama, as WND has reported, charges of cronyism, allegedly corrupted prosecutors and upended political careers.