A jury in his hometown of Wichita, Kan., has cleared abortionist George Tiller of charges that he used a financially linked employee to independently verify the necessity of late-term abortions.
Tiller was on trial on 19 counts filed by former state Attorney General Paul Morrison, who resigned in a sex scandal and was replaced by Stephen Six. The jury in Wichita, where’s he operated his multi-million dollar abortion business for many years, today returned not guilty verdicts on all counts.
Tiller was accused of breaking a state law requiring that a second physician – without legal or financial ties to the abortionist – sign off on an abortion once the unborn child reaches a state in which it could survive outside the womb.
He would have faced up to a year in jail or a fine of up to $2,500 on each count had he been convicted.
“Obviously it’s a disappointment because a conviction would have derailed Tiller,” said Troy Newman, president of the Wichita-based OperationRescue. “It would have shut him down and gotten his medical license revoked.”
Newman said, however, the trial was not in any way a long-term defeat for his organization or the pro-life movement.
“This was a technical part of the law regarding a financial affiliation. All of the witnesses were hostile to the prosecution, the abortionist, the attorneys; they had a lot of time to [work on] their stories.
“The pro-life movement has come a long ways. We’ve never been stronger,” he said.
The second abortionist in the case, Ann Kristin Neuhaus, earlier testified that she was recruited by Tiller, who consulted with her about the amount of her fee to provide the second opinions.
Operation Rescue, which attended the trial, reported, “He then set up a situation where she could only see patients at his request, at times of his determination, in an environment that he controlled.”
The report continued, “When she did the consultations by telephone, patients paid Tiller’s staff, and they held the cash for Neuhaus until the next time she came to the clinic. The form letter that she signed, referring patients to Tiller for late-term abortions was drafted by Tiller’s attorneys and provided to her by Tiller’s staff.”
Assistant Attorney General Barry Disney had argued that based on Tiller’s own notes and on his own words, he and abortionist Neuhaus were financially affiliated. He pointed to evidence and testimony that Tiller consulted on Neuhaus’ fee and approved the final amount. Disney reminded the jury that on several occasions, Tiller referred to Neuhaus’ consulting as being a relationship in which she worked for him, and he talked about her joining his organization.
Attorneys for Tiller, Dan Monnat and Lee Thompson, described the admissions at “slips of the tongue.”
WND reported last year when Tiller, whose abortion industry was featured in a profile by WND columnist Jack Cashill, unsuccessfully challenged the state law under which he is charged. He also unsuccessfully challenged the evidence in the case.
A 1998 Kansas law requires that two doctors without financial or legal ties must agree that continuation of a pregnancy will inflict “substantial or irreversible” harm to “a major bodily function” of the mother for a late-term abortion to be permitted. Pro-abortion state officials have interpreted that to include issues for the mother such as depression.
But documents revealed that throughout 2003, Tiller used Neuhaus for his second opinion and that she had an arrangement with him for her payments.