by Steven Ertelt
May 3, 2006
Wichita, KS (LifeNews.com) — A Kansas judge has ordered a grand jury to convene later this month in the case of abortion practitioner George Tiller, who killed a mentally disabled teenager in an a legal late-term abortion last year. The announcement comes after county residents filed more than 7,000 petitions calling for an investigation.
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 19 year-old Christin Gilbert.
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.
Only 2,850 signatures were needed but the county certified 6,186 valid signatures, more than twice as many as were necessary. A Sedgwick County judge certified that enough petitions were filed to invoke a rarely used Kansas law allowing state residents to ask for an investigation.
Proceedings in the case could last as long as three months and Tiller’s attorney says the grand jury investigation is a waste of taxpayer funds.
“We are gratified that they system appears to be working,” said Operation Rescue spokesperson Cheryl Sullenger, who witnessed emergency workers rushing Gilbert into the emergency room where she later died.
Sullenger also filed the original complaint with the KBHA that was dismissed in November.
“Every step of the way, we have been concerned about political corruption derailing this effort, as we believe it may have with the KBHA’s so-called investigation, and that is still a big concern for us today,” Sullenger said.
Tiller, who is a large campaign contributor to pro-abortion candidates, including Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, who intervened in the investigation. The KBHA is appointed by the
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.
The Kansas medical board determined that Tiller complied with state laws and health care standards in his treatment of Gilbert, despite eventually killing her. But Sullenger 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.