by Steven Ertelt
August 2, 2007
Wichita, KS (LifeNews.com) — The controversial late-term abortion facility in Wichita is closed this weekend next while abortion practitioner George Tiller is arraigned on charges he did illegal abortions. Tiller has been charged by the state’s attorney general with violating a law requiring the signature of a doctor vouching that the abortion is medically necessary.
Tiller is scheduled to be arraigned next Tuesday on 19 criminal counts of doing abortions in violation of the law and he could face 19 years in jail if convicted and sentenced to the maximum prison time.
As a result of the legal proceedings, Tiller is temporarily closing his Women’s Health Care Services abortion business and referring women to abortion centers in Kansas City and Oklahoma.
Operation Rescue President Troy Newman, based in Wichita, applauded the closing in a statement sent to LifeNews.com.
"We are rejoicing that for two straight weeks, Wichita, Kansas, the nation’s abortion capital, will be abortion free for the first time since abortions began here," he said. "We pray that abortions will never resume."
He explained it is unclear when and if abortions will resume.
Tiller’s clinic was also closed for abortions the first week in July and last month more than 500 pro-life people stood outside in a prayer rally hoping it would close again.
As the first response to the new charges, attorneys for Tiller have filed a lawsuit claiming the Kansas law is unconstitutional. Tiller’s attorneys argue that the provision of the law that requires two or more doctors to sign off on late-term abortions is invalid.
In their July 5 motion, they also sought to dismiss the 19 misdemeanor charges Attorney General Dan Morrison filed that would have Tiller in jail as long as 19 years if convicted. He could also be fined $2500 per violation and lose his medical license.
Morrison filed charges alleging that before performing 19 late-term abortions in 2003, Tiller received a second opinion from abortion practitioner Ann Kristin Neuhaus, who Morrison said had financial ties with Tiller.
A 1998 Kansas law says that before an abortion of a baby 21 weeks or older, two physicians must determine if continuation of a pregnancy will lead to death or "substantial and irreversible" harm to a "major bodily function."
The consulting doctor can have no financial or legal ties to the abortion practitioner.
Newman said the closing is the latest in a string of good news.
"Because of public pressure brought by Operation Rescue, over a dozen clinic workers have quit their jobs with Tiller and dozens of companies will no long do business with him," said Newman.