by Steven Ertelt
April 19, 2006
Wichita, KS (LifeNews.com) — Enough petitions have been turned in to prompt a grand jury to investigate Wichita, Kansas abortion practitioner George Tiller, who killed a mentally disabled teenager in an a legal late-term abortion last year. That’s the ruling of the Sedgwick County Elections Office, which certified the petitions Tuesday.
Pro-life advocates and family members of Christin Gilbert filed 7,700 signatures with the county to use a Kansas law which allows citizens to petition the local government to call a grand jury investigation.
Only 2,850 signatures were needed but the county certified 6,186 valid signatures, more than twice as many as were necessary.
The county now has 60 days from the April 7 petition filing date to convene the Grand Jury. The District Attorney’s office will be responsible for appointing a special prosecutor.
The petition campaign became necessary when the Kansas Board of Healing Arts (KBHA), which regulates doctors and abortion practitioners, refused to bring forth any charges against Tiller in the January 2005 death of the 19 year-old girl.
Gilbert, who had Down syndrome, was taken by her parents from Texas to Kansas for the late-term abortion. After Gilbert suffered from complications from the abortion, Tiller’s staff contacted 911 but asked that an ambulance not turn on its lights or sirens to not raise suspicion.
The autopsy report indicated Gilbert died from complications from the abortion.
Troy Newman, the head of Operation Rescue who has been helping collect signatures, said, “It is time for an impartial investigation of Tiller by those who are not politically, professionally, or socially associated with him."
“I know that the members of Christin’s family that we are in contact with are relieved that the process is proceeding," he said.
Though her parents took her for the abortion, another member of Gilbert’s family said she would not have wanted the abortion.
Newman’s group and Kansans for Life, a statewide pro-life organization, accused the KBHA of issuing a biased ruling in the case because many of the members of the board are influenced by pro-abortion Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, who has received hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from Tiller.
“There was a strong appearance of impropriety during the KSBHA investigation,” Newman added.
The Kansas medical board determined that Tiller complied with state laws and health care standards in his treatment of Gilbert, despite eventually killing her.
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.
David Gittrich, state development director for Kansans for Life, suggested using the law to help obtain justice for Gilbert.