George Tiller

Wichita, Kan., late-term abortionist George Tiller’s medical license remains at risk, despite his acquittal on 19 criminal counts stemming from allegations that he carried out abortions in violation of state law.

Tiller was acquitted Friday of the charges filed by former Attorney General Paul Morrison and pursued by Attorney General Stephen Six after Morrison was forced from office by a sex scandal.

The criminal counts accused him of violating state law by using a physician linked to him financially to give the second opinion necessary for conducting a late-term abortion.

State law in Kansas requires that the second opinion come from a physician without links to the abortionist.

Now the state Board of Healing Arts has confirmed 11 counts against Tiller that allege violations of the Healing Arts Act, including “performing an abortion on a fetus that was viable without having a documented referral from another physician not legally or financially affiliated with him.”

The agency said the case “continues to move forward” with additional complaints related to unprofessional or dishonorable conduct or professional incompetency and commitment of acts likely to deceive, defraud or harm the public.

A pre-hearing conference is being scheduled to precede a hearing.

“Disciplinary action could include revocation, suspension, fines or other limitations,” the board said. “The criminal case and outcome is not determinative of the board’s administrative case.”

Cheryl Sullenger of the Wichita-based Operation Rescue filed a comlaint in 2006 alleging an improper financial relationship between Tiller and Ann Kristin Neuhaus, who provides Tiller’s second opinions.

“We are encouraged by this news from the KSBHA,” said Operation Rescue President Troy Newman. “We have never put all our hope in the criminal prosecution and continue to work through a number of avenues to ensure that one day Tiller will be brought to justice.”

Newman said, “While we know that there are challenges to getting any action against Tiller to stick, we are hopeful that the board will conduct a fair and impartial examination of the facts.”

Operation Rescue said the state agency recently has undergone an overhaul of administrative staff. Former Executive Director Larry Buening, who had a long-time friendship with Tiller, and Chief Counsel Mark Stafford resigned in disgrace after failing to properly discipline physicians amid other allegations of incompetence, the group said.

Operation Rescue said the KSBHA requires a lower burden of proof than a criminal trial, which requires a determination of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

“Our own investigations revealed that Tiller was likely doing illegal abortions. The former attorney general came to that same conclusion,” said Newman.

Last Friday, Tiller would have faced up to a year in jail or a fine of up to $2,500 on each of the 19 counts had he been convicted.

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