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Archive for Friday, March 27, 2009

Abortion provider George Tiller found not guilty

March 27, 2009

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— Jurors on Friday acquitted one of the nation’s few late-term abortion providers on charges he violated Kansas law requiring an independent, second opinion for the procedure.

Dr. George Tiller was found not guilty of 19 misdemeanor charges stemming from some abortions he performed at his Wichita clinic in 2003. Prosecutors had alleged that a doctor he used for second opinions was essentially an employee of his and not independent as state law requires.

If convicted, Tiller had faced a year in jail or a fine of $2,500 for each misdemeanor charge. Tiller, 67, stared straight ahead as the verdicts were read, with one of his attorneys patting his shoulder after the decision on the final count was declared. His wife, seated across the courtroom, fought back tears and nodded. The couple refused to speak to reporters afterward.

Tiller’s troubles may not be over. Moments after the verdict was announced, the state’s Board of Healing Arts made public a complaint against Tiller on similar allegations. The board, which regulates doctors, could revoke, suspend or limit his medical license, or fine him.

The complaint was filed in December but not released until Friday.

Kansas law allows abortions after a fetus can survive outside the womb only if two independent doctors agree that it is necessary to save a women’s life or prevent “substantial and irreversible” harm to “a major bodily function,” a phrase that’s been interpreted to include mental health.

Jurors took only about an hour to reach their verdict after getting the case earlier Friday.

Tiller claimed the prosecution was politically motivated. An attorney general who opposed abortion rights began the investigation into Tiller’s clinic, but both his successor, who filed the criminal charges, and the current attorney general support abortion rights.

Tiller has been a favored target of anti-abortion protesters, and he testified that he and his family had suffered years of harassment and threats. His clinic was the site of the 1991 “Summer of Mercy” protests marked by mass demonstrations and arrests. His clinic was bombed in 1985, and an abortion opponent shot him in both arms in 1993.

Dr. Ann Kristin Neuhaus provided second opinions on late-term abortions before Tiller performed them.

According to trial testimony, Tiller’s patients paid Neuhaus $250 to $300 in cash for providing the consultation and the only way patients could see her was to make an appointment with Tiller’s office.

Tiller testified that he used Neuhaus based on advice from his lawyers and from Larry Buening, who was then executive director of the Board of Healing Arts.

Prosecutors tried to show that Tiller ultimately relied on his lawyers’ advice — an important distinction because the judge told attorneys before their opening statements that relying on the advice of an attorney cannot be used as a legal defense to criminal charges.

Prosecutors also questioned Tiller about the conversation with Buening, noting that Tiller had testified that Buening said he couldn’t quote him.

Prosecutor Barry Disney asked Tiller whether it was reasonable for him to rely on something that a person has said he would not back up. Tiller insisted it was.

“It might be embarrassing for it to be public knowledge,” Tiller said.

Tiller also testified that in about five cases each year, Neuhaus would disagree with him about the necessity of a late-term abortion. When she declined to concur, the abortion was not done, he said.

Tiller estimated that he performed 250 to 300 late-term abortions in 2003, each costing an average of $6,000.

Tiller said he is one of three doctors in the U.S. who currently perform late-term abortions. The others are in Boulder, Colo., and Los Angeles, he said.

Comments

sinverguenza 5 years, 9 months ago

Wow. Does this mean it's all over now, or is there another lawsuit around the corner?

geniusmannumber1 5 years, 9 months ago

God bless America. You people are the real heroes.

Raider 5 years, 9 months ago

In other news.... Phil Kline's head just exploded

somebodynew 5 years, 9 months ago

OK - maybe just a weird happening, but I find it disturbing that the ad that appeared just to the left of this story was a picture of a very pregnant woman and a headling about what to do now.

LJ you really need to control what ads show up with what stories. i know they supposedly rotate, but it seems the ads always seem to reflect "some" reference to the article, but I have noticed several time they are just wrong.

jasonc_22 5 years, 9 months ago

It's good to know that even when you have really hot-button issues our legal system does still work.

Poor Phil Kline...

SettingTheRecordStraight 5 years, 9 months ago

Of course, the real crime is the death of our children, not whether Tiller acquired appropriate second opinions.

geniusmannumber1 5 years, 9 months ago

Oh, I don't know if it's proof that the justice system "works." I'm pretty sure he broke the law, and the jurors just ignored it. I mean, kudos for them -- it's an absolutely BS, Big Brother law. It's just, you know, not how its supposed to work.

Whoa, STRS. Death of your children? Should I offer my condolences? Are you commenting on the right article?

Confrontation 5 years, 9 months ago

Seriously, if God wanted this to turn out differently, then he/she would have made it happen. This is God's work, people.

tonymontana 5 years, 9 months ago

I like to substitute "god" with "boogie man". It's the boogie man's work. And thank boogie man it's Friday!

Steve Jacob 5 years, 9 months ago

So the government spent all this money, plus the sideshow during the preliminary hearing, for a trial where the jury finds him guilty in one hour? Too funny.

frank mcguinness 5 years, 9 months ago

somebodynew (Anonymous) says… OK - maybe just a weird happening, but I find it disturbing that the ad that appeared just to the left of this story was a picture of a very pregnant woman and a headling about what to do now.

You obviously don't know how internet advertising works. Keywords on pages trigger ads with similar keywords. LJWORLD has no control over what ads are shown. So when an article has a baby/birth/abortion/etc and an ad with similar content it should now make sense. mkay

kmat 5 years, 9 months ago

Knew this would be the case when I heard the prosecution only had one witness to testify and then closed their case. They had no case to start with.

STRS - so you understand - late term abortions are only done with the health of the mother is at risk or if they baby has already passed. No one walks in late term and gets an abortion.

1029 5 years, 9 months ago

George Tiller is an American Hero. God has spoken and the words He says are "Not Guilty!"

God bless all those jurors who did the right thing in letting rationality triumph over religious extremism.

viewfromahill 5 years, 9 months ago

Religion is not the sole basis for a pro-life perspective.

Science ought to be.

But, then, abortion never was about insight, understanding, or meaning... just self-serving shortsightedness... "adults" drowning in the shallow end.

Kirk Larson 5 years, 9 months ago

musbhiorlo (Anonymous) says…

…and why stop there, if you're called to jury duty, before you serve you must first pass a drug test. We don't want druggies on juries making decisions

Hey! Druggies deserve a jury of their peers just like anyone else.

Fred Whitehead Jr. 5 years, 9 months ago

I hope Dr Tiller can sue the Kansas anti-abortion groups and Phill Kline for all they are worth for this on-going witch hunt. This is the most disgusting event I have observed where a legally-operated clinic supplying needed services to women who have the right to chose what they do with their bodies was placed under legal attack by a predjudiced, wacked-out, discredited former attorney-general trying to hijack the pulpit of several churches to spread his personal vendeta.. Phill Kline should be dis-barred and prevented from attacking lawful enterprises in Kansas forever. And like the former governer of Illinios, he should be barred from ever running for any office, anywhere ever again, if that is possible.

straightforward 5 years, 9 months ago

kmat-

The definition of the mother's health is very liberally applied. Health can be any number of issues, including things so ridiculous you need to pay someone for a second opinion. A mother could be facing emotional stress from the decision of whether she should keep her baby. The problem is that anyone CAN walk in and get a late term abortion.

Do you even know how a late term abortion is performed. The doctor induces labor. The baby's skull is crushed and its brains vacuumed out as it is on its way through the birth canal. In reality, the doctor could allow the birth to continue and a live baby would be born. And why does no one ever consider the health of the baby in this. I mean, killing it can't be good for its general health.

Kirk Larson 5 years, 9 months ago

Mr_Nancy_Boy_To_You (Tom Shewmon) says… Waaaaah, libruls, libruls, libruls.

Face it , this time Justice was done. Besides, the standard should be this simple: Is it the woman's choice?

jonas_opines 5 years, 9 months ago

"Until all the liberal activist judges and DA's are out and replaced with fair and objective people, this sort of dog and pony show will continue."

You're so funny, right-thinker.

Jonathan Becker 5 years, 9 months ago

The jury is the worst way to come to a decision on a social policy issue, except for all the other ways of deciding.

Cait McKnelly 5 years, 9 months ago

"Mr_Nancy_Boy_To_You (Tom Shewmon) says…

Until all the liberal activist judges and DA's are out and replaced with fair and objective people, this sort of dog and pony show will continue. Tiller's luck will run out."


We live in a city that's a speck of blue in a sea of red. This statement is so funny I almost fell off my chair laughing!

kristenkim 5 years, 9 months ago

Did we all read the same article? 'Cause this passage should make everyone--liberal or conservative--think a little:

"According to trial testimony, Tiller’s patients paid Neuhaus $250 to $300 in cash for providing the consultation and the only way patients could see her was to make an appointment with Tiller’s office."

Last time I checked, that wasn't how an impartial second opinion looks.

AjiDeGallina 5 years, 9 months ago

SettingTheRecordStraight (Anonymous) says… Of course, the real crime is the death of our children, not whether Tiller acquired appropriate second opinions.


Abortion is not illegal, and not even all churches agree it is a sin. It is your OPINION and that does NOT make it a fact. Further laws are NOT based on sins. 4 of the ten Commandments would be unconstitutional if applied by law.


Mr_Nancy_Boy_To_You (Tom Shewmon) says… Until all the liberal activist judges and DA's are out and replaced with fair and objective people, this sort of dog and pony show will continue. Tiller's luck will run out.


nancy boy,

That is a cowardly and backwards response considering the verdict was found by a jury and not the judge.... or are they part of some vast good ol boy conspiricy too...lol..pass the coolade and tin-foil-hat...goofball.

davidsmom 5 years, 9 months ago

1029...sorry, but God will not bless those jurors for what they did. It is funny you should make such a comment because you obviously know nothing about the heart of God.

jonas_opines 5 years, 9 months ago

"I guess my comment was not realistic."

There's at least 10,000 comments that this could apply to. Could you narrow this down for us, right-thinker?

"I'm not sure if I am/ever was mentally stable."

Oh, you're clearly mentally stable. If you'd just man up and admit that you, and your worldview, are Totally Wrong, you'd be over this. All of your posting lunacy is simply the result of trying to promote or adhere an agenda of politicians and pundits who tell you what you want to hear so they can stay in power and take your money, so contradictory, foolish, and lunatic-sounding arguments are simply the inevitable result. Just like your counterparts on the left, who are only different than you in the least important detail -- the political ideology that they blindly adhere to.

purplesage 5 years, 9 months ago

Legal and moral are not synonomous terms. All the glee about Phil Kline's defeat needs to be tempered with the realization that, with the governor and Kline's successor financially indebted to him, that first Morrison and then AG Six decided to continue prosecution.

It is a shame that killing children has to be addressed in a back door way. Tiller is guilty - and of more than side-stepping a ridiculous state regulation to allow a child's life to be snuffed out.

This legal permission to kill is a bane on our state.

OldEnuf2BYurDad 5 years, 9 months ago

I'll never understand how any parent could applaud this. How evil. Tonight when I put my girl to bed, I asked her if her daddy loved her and she said "Yes". The idea of killing one's own child...

It sickens my heart to see where we've sank, how far from human we've fallen. A friend of mine was in a class at KU 15-20 years ago, and a classmate likened abortion to "trimming her toenails". I could live a thousand years and I'll never understand how one could make such a comparison.

jonas_opines 5 years, 9 months ago

"It sickens my heart to see where we've sank, how far from human we've fallen."

I'm not sure how you can look at humanity's history and actually think that.

"It is a shame that killing children has to be addressed in a back door way."

I imagine it's always disheartening when you realize that your personal and arbitrary notions of morality are just that, arbitrary and personal.

rhd99 5 years, 9 months ago

In your face, Philly cream puff Kline!! Take your anti-abortion antics & stuff it!

TacoBob 5 years, 9 months ago

It's done. He was aquitted and like it or not, the system worked.

His is a particulary grisly participation, aborting so late in the term. While it must be easier to perform the procedure when there is much less to deal with, aborting a baby that has many of the outward physical features of a full-term infant has to be haunting.

Undecided on whether abortion is right or wrong? Hold the face of your child in your hands and look into their eyes. Your heart will tell you.

jayhawker4real 5 years, 9 months ago

Don't the anti-choicers understand anything?

It doesn't matter to anyone in the legislature supporting your crusade what you think or what you believe in. If they wanted to write a law to end abortion they would do so. The US Supreme Court would then rule it to be unconstitutional - but that isn't the point.

The point is that those legislators and politicians have no intention of stopping the practice of abortion at any time in the human gestation period. If they did, what reason would you have for funneling dollars into their campaign coffers? Would you really contribute to their campaign if all they could promise was to try to put an end to all this ridiculous persecution of corporate executives or to end the liberals' outcry over these executives' so called 'ridiculously high' salaries and shady stock option deals?

Wake up and smell the coffee. Now that history's dumbest former president is out of office, there is zero chance you can stack the Supreme Court and overturn Roe vs. Wade. It is unlikely that you will find another president, or candidate, so easily duped for the same reason stated above.

Side out!

mmmm1000cookies 5 years, 9 months ago

Everyone deserves a right to make their own choices about how they live their lives. Tiller did not break the law. He has been harassed, mentally assaulted and threatened for years, for doing something that is legal in our country, it is ALLOWED AND LEGAL, and that was made legal in this country to prevent all the deaths of the young women that didn't have another choice in their lives and risked death, rather than to through with their pregnancies.

If you don't like it, move to someplace that forbids such treatment and you'll see how many women choose to risk death rather than motherhood.

At the other end of the situation, NEVER judge another person. You have no idea what their life holds behind closed doors. Feel bad for them, worry about them, worry about what got them into such a situation that would cause them to consider late term abortion their only choice. But DO NOT JUDGE.

I applaud Tiller, and other doctors like him, for doing a job that is thankless and difficult, for both him and his family.

And any woman that would see him for a late term abortion has to be dealing with very, very HARD choices at home, so don't judge. Just let the man do his job.

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