by Steven Ertelt
May 23, 2006
Wichita, KS (LifeNews.com) — Members of a grand jury convened on Monday in a Kansas abortion case. They are called to investigate late-term abortion practitioner George Tiller, who killed a mentally disabled teenager in an a legal late-term abortion last year.
The grand jury comes after advocates gathered several thousand petitions to use a Kansas law that allows state residents to ask a local judge for a grand jury investigation.
The grand jury was impaneled in the Sedgwick County District Court, Chief Judge Richard Ballinger confirmed. The sessions are not open to the public and information about what occurred is limited, but 15 jurors were supposed to be selected during the meeting.
The grand jury investigation 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. Judge Ballinger certified that enough petitions were presented.
Despite the grand jury convening, a local pro-life group, Operation Rescue, is concerned that it will not follow through on a proper investigation. It’s troubled by the response from the district attorney’s office to members of the public who have inquired about the case.
Operation Rescue President Troy Newman said he’s concerned the DA’s office is not taking the case seriously because the KBHA cleared Tiller.
“The DA’s office is missing the entire point of the citizen demand for an independent investigation,” he said.
“We have strong reason to believe that the KSBHA investigation was tainted by political influence and cronyism. People who were financially and politically tied to Tiller are the ones who ‘cleared’ him," Newman explained.
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
Newman said he’s also concerned that District Attorney Nola Foulston, who is friends with Tiller, will not be objective. He said she should disqualify herself from participating in the case.
"Foulston already refused to even look at this case when it was initially presented in 2005, so there is no reason for us to believe that she will act without bias now,” said Newman. “If the DA’s office continues the whitewash of this case, it will only add to the appearance that a cover-up into Christin’s death is active and underway."
The group is calling on members of the public — especially Kansas residents and local Wichita residents — to contact the DA’s office and urge Nola Foulston to remove herself from any decision-making regarding the Grand Jury proceedings.
Though her parents took her for the abortion, another member of Gilbert’s family has said she would not have wanted the abortion and helped lead the effort to gather the signatures.
The Kansas medical board determined that Tiller complied with state laws and health care standards in his treatment of Gilbert, despite eventually killing her. Yet, Tiller sent Gilbert to a local hotel after the abortion even though her condition was worsening following the botched abortion.
ACTION: Contact: District Attorney Nola Foulston, 535 N. Main, Wichita, KS 67203, (p) 316-660-3600; 800-432-6878, [email protected]