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Archive for Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Tiller challenges Kansas abortion law

July 3, 2007

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— Hoping to end a criminal case against him, high-profile abortion provider Dr. George Tiller filed a legal challenge Monday to the constitutionality of a Kansas law restricting late-term procedures.

Tiller, one of the few U.S. physicians performing late-term abortions, faces 19 misdemeanor charges in Sedgwick County District Court. Attorney General Paul Morrison alleges the Wichita doctor broke the law by consulting in 2003 on late-term procedures with a physician who had business ties to him.

A 1998 law requires two doctors to sign off on some late-term procedures. It says those physicians cannot have financial or legal ties. Tiller's attorneys filed a motion to dismiss the charges Monday and argued that the requirement is unconstitutional.

Tiller's attorneys argued the requirement is an undue burden on a physician's right to practice medicine and violates a woman's right to obtain an abortion as outlined in court decisions. Also, his attorneys said the law is too vague.

"There is absolutely no guidance in the state as to what activities constitute legal or financial affiliation - or how a physician might avoid some prosecutor making such a finding," attorneys Dan Monnat and Lee Thompson, both from Wichita, wrote in their request to have the case dismissed.

Monnat said a district court hearing on the request is set for July 13.

The law under which Tiller is charged applies when abortions are performed after the 21st week of pregnancy and the fetus can survive outside the womb.

Two doctors must determine that continuing the pregnancy will lead to the mother's death or cause "substantial and irreversible" harm to "a major bodily function," a phrase interpreted to include mental health. The second doctor cannot be "legally or financially affiliated" with the abortion provider.

In 19 such procedures from July 8, 2003, through Nov. 18, 2003, Tiller consulted with Dr. Ann Kristin Neuhaus, of Nortonville, who formerly operated a clinic in Lawrence, according to Morrison's complaint. The attorney general has said they had a financial relationship, although he hasn't been more specific.

In attacking the two-doctor requirement, Tiller's attorneys cited federal district and appeals court decisions from Alabama, Illinois and Ohio, as well as the U.S. Supreme Court's historic Roe v. Wade decision, which in 1973 legalized abortion in all states. Tiller's attorneys also cited a 1992 Supreme Court decision in a Pennsylvania case that allowed states to impose some restrictions but upheld Roe.

Because the law isn't specific about what constitutes a legal or financial affiliation, Tiller's attorneys wrote, "Abortion providers will fear providing services, and referring physicians will fear rendering a medical opinion because they will fear criminal prosecution.

"Either fear will have a chilling effect on the availability of health care services."

Comments

Sigmund 7 years, 5 months ago

Perhaps you can't imagine it because it is a biological impossibility, something that could never occur. Similarly you can not assert with any certainty that pregnant men would be lining at clinics because of the pain of childbirth anymore than I could assert that pregnant men would not be lining up at clinics because they would never stop and ask for directions or that men never like going to doctors. It is meaningless and emotional rhetoric and based upon something that can never be known and therefore leads to any "conclusion" you wish.

deec 7 years, 5 months ago

All quotes from Woman and the New Race,Margaret Sanger, Truth Publishing Co., 3rd printing, 1921. Sanger was opposed to abortion: "Hence it is that, from time immemorial, she has sought some form of family limitation. When she has not employed such measures consciously, she has done so instinctively. Where laws, customs and religious restrictions do not prevent, she has recourse to contraceptives. Otherwise she resorts to child abandonment, abortion and infanticide, or resigns herself hopelessly to enforced maternity." page 11. "While there are cases where eve the law recognizes an abortion as justifiable if recommended by a physician, I assert that the hundreds of thousands of abortions performed in America each year are a disgrace to civilization." page 126.

On the American race: "Each of us has an ideal of what the American of the future should be. we have been told times without number that out of the mixture of stocks, the intermingling of ideas and aspirations, there is to come a race greater than any which has contributed to the population of the United States." page 30 "If we are to develop in America a new race with a racial soul, we must keep the birth rate within the scope of our ability to understand as well as to educate. We must not encourage reproduction beyond our capacity to assimilate our numbers so as to make the coming generation into such physically fit, mentally capable, socially alert individuals as are the ideal of a democracy." page 44

Godot 7 years, 5 months ago

""Either fear will have a chilling effect on the availability of health care services."

Disgust for you and your practice is what is having a chilling effect on services, Tiller. You could not pay an ethical physician enough to support your bogus diagnoses.

Cait McKnelly 7 years, 5 months ago

I think George Tiller is one of the most courageous and ethical physicians I have ever seen in my entire life. On August 19, 1993, he was shot in both arms outside of his clinic by Rachelle Shannon. In case after case brought against him by Troy Newman and Operation Rescue he has been cleared by KDHE and the Kansas Board of Healing Arts. In 2005 he was cleared by a grand jury. Each time this man has met and overcome the assaults on him and his practice by the radical prolife right it has whipped their fury with him even higher. Every time I see a prolifer post on this board or elsewhere all I see is a sea of rhetoric that is either lies or half lies that has nothing to do with the truth or facts. I sometimes wonder what these people would do if they had a wife, daughter or close family member who was diagnosed with cancer at 6 months pregnant. Faced with the choice of aborting the baby and starting chemotherapy (with the understanding that if you start chemo it's going to kill the baby anyway) and continuing the pregnancy with the knowledge that you will die. It's easy to say "I would sacrifice my life for my child". It's not so easy to do out here in the real world. Nor do I think it's the place of others to force women into that sacrifice. The truth is I see these people all too willing to put the life of a POTENTIAL human before that of a BORN human. I have said before and I will say it again. LIFE has nothing to do with it. It's all about controlling women and the women who have bought in to this are having their "baby" emotions played on like a fine piano. OK go sleep with the enemy. But you aren't gonna force me to.

Christian Hinton 7 years, 5 months ago

I wonder if the requirement will really cause physicians to fear getting a required second opinion. It doesn't seem like it would be too hard to find an unconnected doctor. Also, the phrase "no legal or financial ties" does not seem too vague to me (though I am not an expert.)

The best result in my opinion is to clarify the law to assauge physicians' fear. I feel that this law is good and necessary in determining that such a procedure is warranted, though it may indeed be too vague.

Linda Endicott 7 years, 5 months ago

Wait until that man that can get pregnant has to go through the pain of childbirth first, Sigmund.

After that, the pregnant men would be lining up at the clinics in droves. I can't imagine one man I've ever known going through childbirth willingly more than once.

craigers 7 years, 5 months ago

This law just wants the doctor to have to get an independent and hopefully unbiased second opinion. Doesn't seem like such a horrible idea. Sounds like Tiller wanted to circumvent the law and got other "non-connected" doctors to sign off on his diagnosis in order to do the procedure. He probably is guilty of this.

Jamesaust 7 years, 5 months ago

"Tiller's attorneys argued the requirement is an undue burden on a physician's right to practice medicine and violates a woman's right to obtain an abortion as outlined in court decisions. Also, his attorneys said the law is too vague."

I don't believe Tiller has a leg to stand on here.

  1. It isn't clear to me what basis Tiller has invoking ANOTHER'S right to practice medicine. What's more, there's nothing onerous about this "burden." That's like saying a requirement that a medical practice keep financial records for the IRS is "an undue burden on a physician's right to practice medicine." A right to practice a profession is no broader than the regularly basis of that governmentally provided professional certification and the evidentiary proof that the professional must provide. (In other words, the State doesn't have to prove the professional unfit but rather the professional must prove to the State he/she is fit.)

  2. The matters at hand involves "late term" abortions, where the State has an enormous legal basis to regulate and the woman's "right" is fairly minimal. (Its one step above the 'zero right' she would have to strangle her child in the crib - that's quite minimal.) A claim of a health exception is NOT verified on 'the honor system'!

  3. There's nothing vague with "no legal or financial affiliation." The statute does not have to define these words beyond what the dictionary does. One succeeds on a claim of a statute being "unconstitutionally vague" by showing that one CANNOT KNOW that one's actions are in compliance with the law. Here, if Tiller gains his certifications from two physicians with "not legal or financial affiliation" -- something no difficult to verify at all -- then he is compliant with the law.

riffraff 7 years, 5 months ago

cait, I truly think that if you asked most pro-lifers, they would not expect any women to sacrifice her life for her unborn child...

The point of the law is to provide for extreme cases such as you decribe (thank goodness). The point of investigating Dr. Tiller is to be sure that he is follows that law which requires two independant doctors to determine what would cause "substantial and irreversible" harm to "a major bodily function" of the woman. Realize that this law is there to protect the woman (thank goodness).

If Tiller cannot show that he has followed this law, legally he should be expected to explain his actions. He should be held accountable to his patients and to the governing bodies of his profession/practice.

He also has a right to challenge the law that his is required to follow.

I say let it be hashed out in the courts.

lunacydetector 7 years, 5 months ago

let me be a little radical here.....since open heart surgeries are televised, why aren't abortion procedures shown on television, especially since the abortion procedure is done in far greater numbers than open heart surgeries? out of sight, out of mind?

surely, cait48's "most courageous and ethical physicians I have ever seen in my entire life" would allow it, without editing, now wouldn't he? especially the late term abortions. after all, it would be the ethical thing to do - to put a face on what this procedure is all about.

frankly, i couldn't watch, but i'm sure every pro-abortionist out there would want to see it, wouldn't they? so they know what they have been fighting for all these years.

Lepanto1571 7 years, 5 months ago

Cait48:

"I think George Tiller is one of the most courageous and ethical physicians I have ever seen in my entire life."

Then you Cait are in dire need of getting out a bit more and experiencing the world.

"Each time this man has met and overcome the assaults on him and his practice by the radical prolife right it has whipped their fury with him even higher."

If one surviving assassination is grounds for admiration then the fact that Saddam evaded assassination for over 30 years to lead his country as his own personal playground and testing lab for torture, chemical weapons usage, and police state experiment, makes him worthy of your admiration too!

"Every time I see a prolifer post on this board or elsewhere all I see is a sea of rhetoric that is either lies or half lies that has nothing to do with the truth or facts."

I supposed the rhetoric dripping from a pro-choicer such as yourself is acceptable rhetoric?

"I sometimes wonder what these people would do if they had a wife, daughter or close family member who was diagnosed with cancer at 6 months pregnant. Faced with the choice of aborting the baby and starting chemotherapy."

Being that The Guttmacher Institute quotes not even one percent of abortions executed as being for the "health of the mother," it's not often that one is actually faced with this dreadful decision. However, in those rare instances, the ethical and reasonable alternative is to save the mother's life with whatever medical procedures are deemed appropriate to save her. If the unborn human dies as a matter of treatment, then no reasonable ethical line has been breached. If the treatment cannot be performed without the dilation and extraction of the unborn human (The American Medical Association, attests that the procedure is never necessary to save the life of a mother [see http://www.physiciansforlife.org/content/view/9/26/]), then a triage situation occurs as is appropriate for any emergency/trauma situation. Again, an ethical line is left intact.

I hadn't seriously considered that any of this was a real brain teaser!

Be honest, give me break and step off the platitudinal soap box and just say your view of "freedom" is one of license as opposed to one of responsibility. "Free" yourself from the faux hero worship of an icon of modernist stupidity, which only serves in making you look morally obtuse and intellectually foolish, as opposed to seeing him for the ghoul reasonable people know him to be.

Lepanto1571 7 years, 5 months ago

cynical:

"Useful service?"

You have answered your own question regarding the use of reason.

"Forcing one's will on others" is an activity monopolized by those who engage in an elective procedure imposed at the expense of another, owned-operated and subsidized by a multi-billion dollar industry.

It says much about your argument that you can only resort to public opinion to establish the "truth" of a matter. Public opinion at one time supported the enslavement of Africans, believed Dred Scott a valid decision and national socialism a noble and legitimate institution. Public opinion and its bastard stepchild, "the majority," has historically been the single best vehicle for the imposition of tyranny.

Have a great day!

storm 7 years, 5 months ago

Those who believe abortion to save the life of the mother are pro-choice.

"cait, I truly think that if you asked most pro-lifers, they would not expect any women to sacrifice her life for her unborn child:" This is a pro-choice statement.

"However, in those rare instances, the ethical and reasonable alternative is to save the mother's life with whatever medical procedures are deemed appropriate to save her. If the unborn human dies as a matter of treatment, then no reasonable ethical line has been breached." This is a pro-choice statement.

MyName 7 years, 5 months ago

Jamesaust:

I agree with your analysis of this, for the most part correct, but the whole point of this suit (besides a possible delaying tactic) is to get a clear definition of what the word "affiliate" means as it pertains to this statute. Is it something closely binding, like a partnership, or is it something so loose that it can be construed to mean whatever the prosecutor says it means?

My understanding of the word means something close to the more constraining definition, but that doesn't mean that a prosecutor may not try to have it be intepreted more loosely. If it is the latter definition, then Tiller may have a case, but otherwise I think I'll agree with you that he does not.

cnsrvtv 7 years, 5 months ago

Tiller is a depraved. I never understood why people don't see abortions, especially these kinds, as being wholly malicious and wicked, and why any physician would ever take part in them. This quibbling over signing-off shouldn't even be an issue.

Christian Hinton 7 years, 5 months ago

cynical:

I'm going to leave my personal beliefs out of this - I just wanted to make a couple of observations on the little war you are waging here.

  1. I agree with you about the race issues being a smokescreen, although there is a valid point there that the same logic you are using can be twisted to any number of despicable ends. Abortion could be considered one of those ends, and antisecularman is warning that it is wholly possible that it is.

  2. Also, you make far too many inferences which have no basis in what the other posters actually wrote. Neither cnsrvtv nor antisecularman said a singular word identifying their beliefs as religious.

  3. You then commit hypocrisy by automatically classifying anyone who is pro-life as a religious nut who wishes to impose their personal beliefs on others (making a broad, unfounded classification) while railing against cnsrvtv for doing automatically classifying "anyone performing a legal and necessary function" as "depraved, malicious, and wicked" (which he actually did not do. Read his post again.) Fallacy of composition!

  4. Also, you base this rebuttal of cnsrvtv on your own definition of what an abortionist is (someone "performing a legal and necessary function") - a definition which he has obviously not accepted and cannot be held accountable to.

Please don't make the mistake of assuming that I automatically disagree with your opinions (or that I don't, for that matter.) I smply see holes in the way you argue your points.

Christian Hinton 7 years, 5 months ago

cynical:

Again, it is not "obviously a religious belief."

Give me a quote that you think indicates that. You would do well to heed your own advice. In other words, post FACTS, not inferences.

And I think the word you mean to use is "infer" not "confer."

Christian Hinton 7 years, 5 months ago

cynical:

One more thing. A law is not necessarily "absolutely wrong" because you diagree with it. If this is your opinion, state it as so.

And at what point has anyone demanded that you follow their beliefs? Even if they have, is it not evident that anyone would think that laws should be made in support of what they consider to be right? They are no more pressing their views on you than you would like to press your views on them. This pretended accomodation rings hollow.

Christian Hinton 7 years, 5 months ago

Antisecularman and I just said about the same thing.

Lepanto1571 7 years, 5 months ago

storm:

"'However, in those rare instances, the ethical and reasonable alternative is to save the mother's life with whatever medical procedures are deemed appropriate to save her. If the unborn human dies as a matter of treatment, then no reasonable ethical line has been breached.' This is a pro-choice statement."

Please explain how this is a pro-choice statement. How does it in any way support elective abortion. I'm seriously interested in how one could think so. I think you may have jumped to conclusions and not considered intent.

Cynical,

+"Lepanto, please explain how your strongly felt religious beliefs are the truth of a matter?"

I can't find a single reference to any religious belief in my statement. But I am used to being caricatured as opposed to actually answered.

+"I strongly oppose abortion myself. But who am I to insist others accept my beliefs. This appears to be where you and I disagree."

Glad to hear you are personally opposed, however we have no disagreement regarding beliefs as the issue has little to do with religious affiliation or any theological belief for that matter. It is solely an ethical issue centered around the extension of rights, or not, to unborn humans and the civilizational consequences associated with getting the answer wrong.

+"I'm fortunate to never being a party to such a decision. Have you?"

Yes.

+"Further, who can be the sole authority as to what is a totally personal choice?"

What makes AOD a legitimate personal choice. In 1859, and if I had the means, I would have had the 'personal choice' of owning slaves. Is that a legitimate personal choice merely because it was legal at the time? The law is sometimes tyrannically and inhumanly wrong.

+"Also why do the majority of those who so vehemently oppose abortion appear to be christian males."

Are there any figures to actually support such a claim. I 'personally' know many more women than men who oppose AOD.

+"Males, in case you don't realize it can't become pregnant. Do these people simply feel a need to protect their 'helpless' females from all the realities of life?"

I fail to see the relevance of the question, even if your contention were true.

Take care.

Sigmund 7 years, 5 months ago

I think that women should have a right to kill their babies up until 2 years of age. If you disagree, please explain how your strongly felt religious beliefs are the truth of the matter?

Sigmund 7 years, 5 months ago

Presumably the morality of killing babies would not be dependent upon which sex got pregnant nor what religious group opposed or endorsed it. Reminds me of the baby clothes with the slogan "Now that I am born, I'm Pro-Choice." Emotional and inflammatory rhetoric, but essentially meaningless and sophomoric.

storm 7 years, 5 months ago

explanation for Lepanto1571 - The below statement is pro-choice because the person has chosen elective abortion. One who thinks choice should be excerised to save the life of the mother is declaring when circumstances warrant making the choice to abort. Similarly, one who thinks choice should be excerised because the fetus was conceived through incest/rape is also declaring when circumstances warrant making the choice to abort. Both circumstances are allowing one to make a choice for abortion. (Perhaps this may explain why the majority of US citizens are pro-choice - it's just that they're defining what circumstances warrant abortion.) I think the Pope has the correct definition for anti-choice - which is no abortion should be chosen, under any circumstances - that would be correct logic.

"'However, in those rare instances, the ethical and reasonable alternative is to save the mother's life with whatever medical procedures are deemed appropriate to save her. If the unborn human dies as a matter of treatment, then no reasonable ethical line has been breached.' This is a pro-choice statement."

Please explain how this is a pro-choice statement. How does it in any way support elective abortion. I'm seriously interested in how one could think so. I think you may have jumped to conclusions and not considered intent.

lunacydetector 7 years, 5 months ago

it's great to see Lepanto back.

frankly, i think this whole thing is a ruse between morrison and tiller especially since tiller funded attack ads against kline. how could someone not be suspect?

imastinker 7 years, 5 months ago

The above statement is pro choice because it still places the life of the mother as more important than the life of the child. Pro Lifers believe that is a life, and should be afforded the same protections under the constitution that the mother enjoys.

Any decision to end a life at the expense of another is still a pro-choice decision. To Pro-lifers it has nothing to do with the woman's right, because IF it were legally a person, it WOULD be illegal. To argue differently is an undefendable position.

Further, most pro-lifers don't believe in the death penalty either. That's a democrat position for those that don't know.

Sigmund 7 years, 5 months ago

Rarely is it the case that a choice has to be made between the life of the mother or the life of the child. Most late term abortions are little more than the result "family planning," or more precisely a lack thereof. I know very few Pro-Lifer's who given the horrific choice between mother and child would disagree with any women's choice under such extreme but rare circumstance, I wouldn't. But realistically if all abortions were truly the result of such horrific dilemma then the dream of Pro-Choice advocates would be realized, abortion being "legal but rare."

yourworstnightmare 7 years, 5 months ago

Tiller has a point here. If a law is so vague as to make every case under the law challengeable, then there might as well be a law against that procedure.

The "undue burden" case could hold water. It is likely to be very difficult to find another physician in kansas or the region with no professional or financial ties that could not be challenged under the law, especially given the cadre of extremist anti-abortionists prowling the halls of the state capitol.

Again, financial and professional ties that could not be challenged under the law.

The law should be re-written so as to be more specific about what constitutes a professional or financial relationship, especially given the emotionalism and extremism surrounding the situation.

commonsense07 7 years, 5 months ago

If a mother has cancer and the baby has to be aborted that is a medical procedure.

If you just do not want a baby performing an abortion is just a form of birth control.

I think that there are plenty of methods of birth control that do not kill babies.

Lepanto1571 7 years, 5 months ago

Storm: "explanation for Lepanto1571 - The below statement is pro-choice because the person has chosen elective abortion. One who thinks choice should be excerised to save the life of the mother is declaring when circumstances warrant making the choice to abort."

I do not understand your argument regarding the election of an abortion to save the life of the mother. As well, I do not see where you have demonstrated my "pro-choice" position. The American Medical Association, attests that the procedure is never necessary to save the life of a mother [see http://www.physiciansforlife.org/content/view/9/26/]). Why would one call "elective" a procedure that is never necessary to save a mother's life? What continues to make you think that intentional abortion or dilation and extraction must be executed to ever save the life of a mother?

Storm: "Similarly, one who thinks choice should be excerised because the fetus was conceived through incest/rape is also declaring when circumstances warrant making the choice to abort. Both circumstances are allowing one to make a choice for abortion. (Perhaps this may explain why the majority of US citizens are pro-choice - it's just that they're defining what circumstances warrant abortion.)"

This has nothing to do with the above argument regarding the necessity of intentional abortion to save the life of the mother. However, using public opinion as a basis for truth is never wise. Many times the public, as represented by the majority, is uninformed to the level necessary to make truly competent judgments. Many times the majority is misled. Many atrocities in the past have had the full support of the majority.

Storm: "I think the Pope has the correct definition for anti-choice - which is no abortion should be chosen, under any circumstances - that would be correct logic."

I don't know what "anti-choice" means, but is it's opposite something along the lines of "pro-death?" Political sloganeering is dual edge sword that cuts both ways and should be avoided when attempting to craft an argument, or most importantly, discern truth. I agree with you on one point. The Pope's and his Church's logic is unassailable if one accepts the assumptions upon which the argument stands. Namely that the unborn human is in fact, well, human, and therefore entitled to the extension of specific rights. This is a position with which I am in perfect agreement.

erod0723 7 years, 5 months ago

Everybody keeps forgetting that the biggest reason abortion was legalized by Roe v Wade was because abortions were previously being performed in back alleys with coat hangers. It was necessary to make abortion legal so that it can be brought into the exam room and be safely administered by a board licensed doctor. It is important to keep abortion legal because women have been getting abortions for thousands of years and they will continue to get abortions. The Pro-Lifers hate abortion, but yet they offer no alternatives that will prevent abortions. Many Pro-Lifers are rabidly anti-contraceptive, which is the most effective way of preventing unwanted pregnancies. Studies have shown that students that are taught abstinence only health classes are at no less risk for STDs and pregnancy than students that have health classes that provide the full spectrum of options. People have been having sex and will continue to have sex. The problem isn't abortion. The problem is that we need to prevent pregnancies. Many Pro-Lifers say that adoption is a viable alternative. The Republican Party (almost nearly all are Pro-Lifers) failed to make the adoption process easier and more affordable. As a result, it is easier to adopt a child from another country, such as Ukraine, than it is to adopt a child in the U.S. Provide easily accessible and legitimate alternatives to abortion, and the problem will fix itself.

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