LA TIMES: FOR KANSAS ABORTION DOCTOR, PRESSURE MOUNTS
Backdrop: Three potential nooses are being knotted –
1. Tiller faces criminal misdemeanor charges on 19 illegal late-term abortions committed in 2003 not signed off by an unaffiliated physician. For this Tiller could lose his license and spend a year in jail for each convicted count.
2. Tiller just lost his battle to block a grand jury from being convened to investigate illegal late-term abortions Tiller may have committed since 2003, with a petitioner request that Sedgwick County DA Nola Foulston and AG Paul Morrison, both with ties to Tiller, not be involved in this investigation.
3. KS legislators conducted a 2-day hearing earlier this month investigating Tiller’s late-term abortion practices to consider finding and strengthening loopholes in current late-term abortion laws. As part of this, one of Tiller’s patients, Michelle Arnesto-Berg, testifed that when he aborted her in May 2003 she signed no consent form, was asked for no medical information, and was never diagnosed with any condition that met the legal requirement of “substantial and irreversible impairment” for abortions after 22 weeks. Only recently Michelle learned Tiller charted her baby as nonviable, which was news to her. Hear Michelle’s testimony here.
The LA Times published an interesting article today describing the mounting pressure that Wichita late-term abortionist George R. Tiller is facing.
For Kansas abortion doctor, pressure mounts
George Tiller is to be tried on 19 counts of failing to get an independent second opinion in late-term procedures. And activists aim to force an inquiry by a grand jury.
By Stephanie Simon, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer September 17, 2007
Antiabortion activists in Kansas are stepping up a campaign to drive one of the nation’s last late-term abortion providers out of business.
Dr. George Tiller, who draws patients from across the country to his Wichita clinic, faces trial next month on 19 misdemeanor counts. The charges — which he vigorously disputes — accuse him of aborting viable fetuses without first consulting an independent physician as required by state law.
Each count carries a penalty of up to a year in jail. If convicted, Tiller could also lose his medical license.
This month, the antiabortion group Kansans for Life submitted nearly 8,000 signatures to Sedgwick County District Court in Wichita, calling for a grand jury to review Tiller’s handling of late-second- and third-trimester abortions. Tiller’s lawyers appealed to federal court to block the grand jury, calling it a “vigilante effort,” but were rebuffed last week. State law allows citizens to force the seating of a grand jury.
At the Capitol, meanwhile, a committee controlled by antiabortion lawmakers held a two-day hearing this month to lay the groundwork for tougher restrictions on abortion. Among the witnesses: a woman who said Tiller rushed her into an abortion at the end of her second trimester without counseling, informed consent or a second opinion because she had arrived late for her appointment at the clinic. State officials said they might investigate those claims.
“This is the beginning of the end for Tiller,” said Troy Newman, president of Operation Rescue, a Wichita-based antiabortion group.
Kansas law requires any physician who performs an abortion at or after 22 weeks’ gestation to first determine whether the fetus is viable, meaning it could survive outside the womb. Aborting a viable fetus is permitted only if two doctors certify that continuing the pregnancy could kill the woman or cause her “substantial and irreversible” harm to “a major bodily function.” Tiller has reported aborting more than 2,600 viable fetuses since the law took effect in 1998.
His attorneys and supporters say Tiller has done nothing wrong. And some of his patients, expressing deep gratitude for his work, have shared their stories.
At AHeartbreakingChoice.com, several women explain why they traveled to Wichita to abort much-wanted pregnancies, long after they had decorated nurseries and chosen baby names.
“The scan showed that her little brain was severely calcified,” one wrote.
“She would have required a minimum of three surgeries to even enable her to take her first breath,” another said.
The women write that they were well into the second half of their pregnancies, some into the third trimester, before the fetal defects were diagnosed. “I loved and wanted my baby very much,” one wrote. “I loved her so much that I would rather her go back to God than suffer for even one day.”
Tiller also accepts some late-term patients with healthy fetuses. Among them, he has said, have been girls as young as 10, rape victims, alcoholics, drug addicts, and women who were suicidal or depressed or who feared their relatives would harm them if they continued the pregnancy. Tiller has said a few of his patients were just a week or two from their due dates.
In December, the state’s attorney general at the time, Phill Kline, charged Tiller with aborting viable fetuses even when the pregnant women did not face grave and lasting heath threats.
Kline subpoenaed patient records; he said they showed that Tiller had justified the abortions by diagnosing women with anxiety or a single episode of depression.Because of a jurisdictional dispute, the charges were dropped just days before Kline left office. He had lost his bid for reelection in large part because his opponent, Paul Morrison, painted him as an antiabortion extremist.
When Morrison took office, he declined to refile the charges against Tiller.
But Morrison did launch his own investigation using the limited number of patient medical files available to him. That resulted in the 19 misdemeanor counts pending in District Court. The charges allege that Tiller did not get the required second opinion from an independent doctor on some late-term cases, but rather relied on a physician with financial ties to his practice.
Tiller attorney Dan Monnat said “there was nothing illegal in the relationship” between the two physicians.
The courts have also held that laws banning abortion must make exceptions to protect the woman’s health, including her mental health.
Determined to keep the pressure on Tiller, antiabortion activists have spent the last year staging prayer vigils and protest rallies — at least one of them promoted nationally by Fox News anchor Bill O’Reilly, who has referred to the doctor on air as “Tiller the baby killer.”
About 10 days before one of the bigger rallies, in July, unknown vandals drilled holes through the roof of Tiller’s one-story clinic and threaded a hose into the building, apparently trying to flood it. The resulting damage — and lingering mold — forced Tiller to close his practice for more than a month.
But now he is seeing patients again, and his allies are betting that he’ll weather the storm, just as he has in the past.
His clinic was bombed in 1986 and blockaded for six weeks in 1991. In 1993, an antiabortion activist shot Tiller through both arms; he was back at work the next day.
In 2005, antiabortion activists circulated petitions to force a grand jury investigation into the treatment of a 19-year-old mentally disabled patient who died of complications from an early-third-trimester abortion at Tiller’s clinic. The grand jury found no grounds for criminal indictment.
In a rare interview two years ago, Tiller said he tried to block out the protests and the politics so he could focus on his patients.
“If I engage, then I wear out, and I have less . . . stamina for what goes on inside the clinic,” he said. “If I give away my emotional serenity, they win.”
My Comments: Note the secular, liberal slant and the false empathy created as an excuse for aborting the baby. Notice also that the many mothers who have been harmed and murdered by Tiller aren’t mentioned in this piece. (with the exception of one in vague terms.) In spite of that, the story is eye-opening to the general public and it brings hope to all of us who have been praying, fasting, and working so hard for an end to the slaughter of the unborn by late – term abortionist “Tiller the Killer”, a criminal who consistently violates Kansas law and remains unpunished. For years, he has endangered women’s lives, harmed, maimed, and murdered women with no consequences. What has he done to promote “emotional serenity” in their lives or the lives of their children? How can anyone continually perform the horrific act of abortion and feel “emotional serenity”? Let us continue to pray for the conversion of Tiller and for an end to abortion.
Troy Newman, President of Operation Rescue says, “Setting aside the liberal slant, I think this story is revealing. It shows the hard work that Operation Rescue has put into exposing the nation’s most notorious abortionist is paying off, and that we are seeing the ‘beginning of the end for Tiller.'”
He adds, “Just today we saw even more signs of hope when no abortions were done on a scheduled abortion day.”