by Steven Ertelt
August 22, 2007
Wichita, KS (LifeNews.com) — Embattled late-term abortion practitioner George Tiller reopened his central Kansas abortion center on Wednesday. However, early reports indicate few women went there for abortions from the practitioner who could face as much as 19 years in prison on charges he did some late-term abortions illegally.
Tiller’s abortion business, which attracts women from across the country because it is one of a handful to do abortions so late in pregnancy, had been closed for 38 days.
Mary Kay Culp, the director of Kansans for Life, talked with LifeNews.com about the reopening.
"My guess is that Tiller’s clinic will stick to abortions on babies under 22 weeks gestation while his legal problems tied to the ban on viable baby abortions, and having to find unaffiliated referring doctors, continue," she said.
Donna Lampkin, a local pro-life advocate who frequently encourages women who go to Tiller’s center to seek pregnancy help elsewhere, indicated that Omaha-based abortion practitioner LeRoy Carhart arrived at Tiller’s facility to do abortions.
Carhart is the man who was behind the case that was the Supreme Court’s first decision on partial-birth abortions and he frequently goes to Wichita to do abortions.
Lampkin says only six women went to the abortion facility for abortions on Wednesday and pro-life advocates were able to talk one couple out of an abortion as they headed inside.
"While the death of every baby is a tragedy, we rejoice in the one life that was spared, and are relieved that more children were not scheduled for death today," Operation Rescue spokesperson Cheryl Sullenger told LifeNews.com in a statement.
Sullenger said pro-life advocates saw a delivery truck from a Lowe’s hardware store deliver a load of drywall and other materials.
Tiller’s colleagues have maintained that the closing of the abortion center was because of damage from vandalism a few weeks ago when a garden hose was used to flood the facility with water. Sullenger says it’s the first instance she and pro-life advocates know of where repair materials have been delivered to the abortion business.
Sullenger made phone calls to Lowe’s corporate office, filing a complaint and asking Lowe’s to stop supplying materials to Tiller’s abortion business.
"The people I spoke with at Lowe’s seemed concerned that this had happened, and promised to look into the matter immediately. I let them know clearly that I would not be shopping at Lowe’s until this matter is resolved," said Sullenger.
"If people in the community would stop doing business with Tiller, his illegal abortion clinic would be out of business sooner rather than later," she added.
Culp told LifeNews.com she doesn’t think the abortion center closed because of the vandalism.
"I have never thought for a second that Tiller’s clinic was vandalized by anyone with pro-life motivations. Why would they want him to have victim status now that he has been charged with crimes, nor hurt his clinic where evidence of more such crimes likely exists," she explained.
Tiller is charged with violating a statute requiring a second physician to sign off on any abortions done late in pregnancy. He could face 19 years in prison if convicted on all charges and given the maximum term.
Under state law, the second doctor must not have any financial connections with the abortion practitioner. Yet, in the 19 cases for which he has been charged, Tiller received a second opinion from abortion practitioner Ann Kristin Neuhaus, who Attorney General Paul Morrison said had financial ties with Tiller.
Tiller’s lawyers responded to the charges by filing a lawsuit contending the law is unconstitutional.
Yesterday, a new judge was assigned to the case after another judge stepped down because he is a former pro-life state legislator who had spoken out against Tiller.
Kansans for Life told LifeNews.com recently that it is collecting the signatures necessary to compel a grand jury to conduct an independent investigation into whether Tiller violated the law in subsequent years.
He has been charged with violations in 2003 but the pro-life organization says he could have violated the law on late-term abortions done from 2004-2007.