Archive for Saturday, November 3, 2007

Judge delays ruling in abortion case

November 3, 2007


— Sedgwick County District Judge Clark V. Owens said he will rule within several weeks on whether to dismiss charges Attorney General Paul Morrison filed against Dr. George Tiller for allegedly violating Kansas' restrictions on late-term abortions.

After hearing arguments Friday, Owens said he would likely decide at the same time whether a panel of 12 jurors would hear the misdemeanor case, as Tiller requested. State law limits juries in misdemeanor trials to six members.

Morrison filed 19 misdemeanor charges against Tiller in June for allegedly failing to have a second, independent physician sign off before he performed abortions on viable fetuses, as required by Kansas law.

His jury trial is set for March 10.

Tiller did not attend Friday's hearing. He was represented by four attorneys hired from two prominent Wichita law firms.

Defense attorney Lee Thompson told the judge that the state statute requiring another Kansas doctor to concur with the abortion decision was unconstitutional and placed an undue burden on a woman's right to an abortion.

He also argued that Tiller was not legally affiliated with Dr. Ann Kristin Neuhaus, the Nortonville physician who signed off on the abortions at Tiller's clinic. He said Neuhaus worked out of Tiller's office only "for security purposes" so that women seeking an abortion would not have to be further subjected to abortion protesters in getting that second opinion.

But prosecutor Jared Maag argued that the state has evidence that Tiller was legally and financially affiliated with Neuhaus and that the evidence should be presented to a jury.

Maag said the state has a substantial interest in preserving life once a fetus is viable as well as in protecting the life and health of the woman seeking the abortion.

"You don't want these two doctors to be in collusion," Maag said, adding that it seemed strange that Neuhaus was the only other doctor who signed off on Tiller's late-term abortions.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in April that the Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act that Congress passed and President Bush signed into law in 2003 does not violate a woman's right to an abortion.

Prosecutors argued that the ruling supported their contention that the state has a substantial interest in protecting human life - especially once the fetus can survive outside the womb.

Tiller's defense attorneys argued that the case applied only to a late-term abortion procedure, one that is not performed in Kansas.


erod0723 10 years, 6 months ago

Parkay, until you have had an abortion performed by Dr Tiller, then you really have no idea what is going at his facilities.... (and no, I have not had one. I'm a dude)

shockchalk 10 years, 6 months ago

Parkay is correct in her/his interpretation of the current law. Furthermore, this type of abortion is murder of a viable fetus which is why the US Supreme Court upheld the Act. Of course Neuhaus is the only doctor who signed off on Tillers late term other doctor with any moral or ethical substance would be a part of this horrific act.

sfjayhawk 10 years, 6 months ago

Parkay - why not mind your own business? If you dont like abortions, dont have one - but dont tell anyone else what they can or cant do with their own bodies - provided it is legal - and let me remind you that abortion is legal and always will be, at least in some US states.

badger 10 years, 6 months ago

It seems a little dodgy to have his 'second opinion' operating out of the same clinic. It may well be legal, but it sits like an end run around the law with me. I don't much like it. I'd rather the banner for abortion rights be carried by someone I felt a little more comfortable with as a representative.

Now, as to the law itself, I do think it should be changed. Requiring that second opinion is an undue burden. A woman's not required to get a second opinion on any other elective surgery, is she? Abortion should be treated like any elective surgery of similar import, not like some special circumstance a woman's not capable of understanding because she's pregnant and hormonal women are irrational.

That is the elephant in the room, now, isn't it? All these laws designed to 'safeguard' women trying to have abortions are predicated on the notion that a pregnant woman is somehow impaired from acting responsibly. Why shouldn't she know what is the best decision? Why does she need a legislature or a general population to tell her what her healthcare decisions should be? Why does she need a husband's consent or a mandated second opinion? Why is the default assumption that any woman considering abortion must be misguided and unable to really make decisions without someone holding her hand? Why isn't the default assumption that any woman walking into a clinic has considered all the options, thought through her decision, and sought advice as appropriate. Every woman I know who has had an abortion thought through and carefully considered her decision - as did every woman I know who has considered abortion and chosen to carry the child to term. Women are not stupid hormonal imbeciles who need a legal system to keep them from actions they might regret.

Why are these laws being written to further press pregnant women into the idiotic notion that just because you've become pregnant, you've lost all capacity for reason, ethical decision-making, and logical perspective?

bondmen 10 years, 6 months ago

Every Tiller motion results in the death of a pre-born human being; whether it's a legal motion or a medical motion, the outcome is the same - A DEATH!

How can aborting a small human being be considered practicing medicine? If it's so, then one's survival chances would be a magnitude greater by going to a WITCH DOCTOR!

Who among you has considered that half the human beings aborted in the US are female. Well, what about HER constitutional right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness?

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