by Steven Ertelt
August 29, 2007
Topeka, KS (LifeNews.com) — A future legislative hearing on late-term abortions that Kansas lawmakers plan to hold August 31 will feature a prominent psychologist who has played a role in the state debate. Dr. Paul McHugh will attend the hearing and provide his perspective on the late-term abortion records he previously examined.
McHugh is the former head of the psychology department at Johns Hopkins University. He reviewed abortion documents after former state attorney general Phill Kline charged late-term abortion practitioner George Tiller with doing illegal abortions.
Kline obtained records and McHugh reviewed them and found all of the abortions were done for illegal reasons — specious mental health concerns rather than because of medical problems for the women involved.
Arlen Siegfreid is one of many members of the Kansas state legislature who want to know more information about how the state health department is keeping track of the number of late-term abortions done there.
Though McHugh has been invited to testify for an hour before the panel, new Attorney General Paul Morrison is upset because he is still on the witness list.
Siegfried wants to know why the state is not keeping more detailed reports and is holding the hearing later this month.
The state health department’s reporting has become an issue because of the charges against Tiller. Siegfried wants to ask state health officials why they’re not requiring abortion practitioners to list the reasons for the late-term abortions when the state law requires they only be done for legitimate medical reasons.
The hearings are scheduled to continue September 6 and 7 with a number of experts and national pro-life leaders expected to testify.
Operation Rescue president Troy Newman hopes to testify as well and he talked about the hearings in a statement sent to LifeNews.com.
"We plan to be present at every day of the hearings to represent the interests of innocent viable babies who are at risk because the laws are not being properly enforced," he said.
"The Kansas law banning abortions after 21 weeks is very clear and has been Constitutionally tested. Tiller is violating this law while agencies that are supposed to be enforcing the law are looking the other way," he added.
Siegfreid has already promised to bring a bill before the 2008 legislative session to prohibit abortions after 21 weeks of pregnancy. He said exceptions in the current law allow for too many late-term abortions for illegitimate reasons.
"The less exceptions in the law the more luck we’re going to have enforcing it," Siegfreid said in June.
Records from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment show 1,086 abortions of viable unborn children from 2003-2006. None were necessary to save the life of the mother.
Mary Kay Culp of Kansans for Life previously talked about the abortions that are involved in the charges against Tiller. She said analysis from McHugh showed the abortions were done illegally.
"Expert witness Dr. Paul McHugh of Johns Hopkins said he saw nothing in the records that got close to meeting the criteria in Kansas law for performing these very late abortions," she explained.