By Susan Brinkmann, OCDS
A Kansas jury has found abortionist, George Tiller, not guilty on all 19 misdemeanor charges that accused him of violating state laws involving late-term abortions. However, moments after the verdict was announced, the state’s Board of Healing Arts announced plans to investigate additional allegations against him.
Tiller sat motionless in court as the verdict was read while his wife, sitting across the room, visibly fought back tears. The couple made no comments as they left the courtroom.
Prosecutors had alleged that in 2003 Tiller had gotten second opinions from a doctor who was essentially an employee of his, not independent as state law requires. Kansas law permits abortions after a baby can survive outside the womb only if two independent doctors agree that the procedure is necessary to preserve the women’s life or health.
According to the prosecution, Tiller had been referring patients to Dr. Ann Kristin Neuhaus for this second opinion, a doctor who could only be seen by making an appointment with Tiller’s office.
Tiller’s defense was that he had relied on his lawyer’s advice to use Neuhaus.
It took a jury only one hour to find him not guilty of all 19 counts.
Not everyone was surprised by the acquittal. Mary Kay Culp, executive director of Kansans for Life, said abortion opponents were never confident that Tiller would be prosecuted aggressively enough by Kansas’ current Attorney General, Steve Six.
“Even if Tiller had been found guilty, he would have appealed to the Supreme Court,” Culp said, noting that four of the Kansas high court’s seven justices were appointed by Democratic Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, who supports abortion rights.
However, this is far from the end of legal battles concerning the nation’s most notorious late term abortionist.
Only moments after the verdict was announced, the Kansas State Board of Healing Arts (KSBHA) released to the public a petition it filed in December listing eleven allegations against Tiller’s license.
According to a statement released by the KSBHA, “Violations alleged include performing an abortion on a fetus that was viable without having a documented referral from another physician not legally or financially affiliated with him; unprofessional or dishonorable conduct or professional incompetency; and commitment of acts likely to deceive, defraud or harm the public.”
If convicted, Tiller could have his medical license revoked, suspended, or dramatically restricted, depending on the outcome of the Board’s determination.
“As a famous baseball player once said, ‘It ain’t over ‘til it’s over.’ We are encouraged by this news from the KSBHA,” said Troy Newman, president of the pro-life organization, Operation Rescue. “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.”
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