Topeka — The attorney general's office said Friday that it has turned over 34 redacted patient records to a grand jury investigating Wichita abortion provider Dr. George Tiller.
The records were from abortions Tiller performed in 2003 and were sought by a Sedgwick County grand jury investigating Tiller's practice. Attorney General Steve Six initially refused to turn over the records, and both he and Tiller challenged the scope of the grand jury's subpoenas.
The grand jury issued the subpoenas in February demanding that Six turn over the redacted patient records, which he asked the Kansas Supreme Court to quash or temporarily block their enforcement.
The justices halted the subpoenas in February then ruled in May. The court upheld the power of the grand jury and set guidelines determining whether the records had to be turned over.
Six turned over 34 of the 61 records on May 20 that the office possessed. The remaining 27 fell outside the statute of limitations and were not sought by the grand jury, said spokeswoman Ashley Anstaett.
"We have fully complied with the grand jury's subpoena. No other requests or subpoenas are pending," she said.
The disclosure came after Kansans for Life sent Six a letter accusing the office of not complying with the grand jury's request. The letter was prompted by an Associated Press report Tuesday where Judge Paul Buchanan said a panel of experts reviewing files has received few records that the grand jury sought directly from Tiller.
The grand jury targeted records from about 2,000 Tiller patients, including women who had been to the clinic but not obtained abortions. The grand jury's term expires July 8 and under Kansas law cannot be extended. Judges do not supervise the day-to-day investigation of a grand jury.
The two experts, a doctor and a lawyer, will review the material before it goes the grand jury. Fewer than 20 records from Tiller have been reviewed and none have gone to the grand jury, Buchanan said.
Mary Kay Culp, executive director for Kansans for Life, said it was good news to learn Six had complied with the subpoena.
"I am pleased overall that they went to the grand jury, but I'm not pleased that there's only a month left," Culp said.