Petitions Filed for Grand Jury to Investigate Disabled Woman’s Abortion Death

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Apr 6, 2006   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Petitions Filed for Grand Jury to Investigate Disabled Woman’s Abortion Death Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
April 6, 2006

Wichita, KS ( — Pro-life advocates and family members of a disabled teenager who died from a late-term abortion last year filed many more petitions than necessary to ask a grand jury to investigate her death. Groups organizing the petition drive filed 7,754 local signatures to prompt a judge to rely on a seldom-used law allowing citizens to convene a grand jury investigation.

The petitions seek a grand jury to look into the death of Christin Gilbert, a 19-year-old mentally disabled Texas resident whose parents brought her to Wichita for a late-term abortion.

Abortion practitioner George Tiller did the abortion in January 2005 and Gilbert died days later.

As long as the signatures are valid, a local judge will decide if they have been properly filed and would convene the grand jury.

"Today we are taking a proactive approach. We are not going to take a defensive approach any longer," Troy Newman of Operation Rescue, a pro-life group helping to collect signatures, told the Associated Press. "This is a proactive measure to tell the city government, to tell the people in Topeka, to tell the governor that George Tiller is not above the law."

Lee Thompson, a lawyer who represents Women’s Health Care Services, Tiller’s abortion business, told reporters that he thinks the investigation into the girl’s death is "a waste of public resources."

Gilbert was 28 weeks pregnant when her parents took her for an abortion. She was rushed into the Wesley Medical Center ER, followed by Tiller moments later. Later she died from an infection.

In filing the signatures, pro-life advocates played copies of the 911 call Tiller’s staff made when the abortion appeared to have been botched.

The call features a staff member telling paramedics to come without their sirens on in order not to draw attention to the abortion center. The staff member evades several questions from the 911 operator.

In November, the Kansas Board of Healing Arts claimed neither he nor his staff were responsible for the botched abortion death and refused to press charges. It said Tiller followed all state laws in doing the abortion.

Tiller came under fire yesterday for running over a pro-life advocate with his car who was preparing to pray outside his abortion center.

David Gittrich, state development director for Kansans for Life, suggested using the law to help obtain justice for Gilbert. According to Kansas law, a grand jury must convene within 60 days of the submission of a required number of signatures of registered voters.

Though her parents took her for the abortion, another member of Gilbert’s family said she would not have wanted the abortion.

Gilbert suffered complications during her abortion that were not fully diagnosed, an autopsy concluded.

In Tarrant County, Texas, where Gilbert lived, a Grand Jury convened last year to probe allegations of felony sexual assault that led to Gilbert’s pregnancy. It is still investigating.

Cheryl Sullenger, of Operation Rescue, explained that Tiller sent Gilbert to a local hotel after the abortion "even though her condition was worsening" following the botched abortion.

Related web sites:
Justice for Christin –