by Steven Ertelt
September 6, 2007
Topeka, KS (LifeNews.com) — A Kansas pro-life group has turned in 8,000 petitions asking for a grand jury to convene to find out whether more illegal abortions were done at George Tiller’s Wichita abortion center. Tiller as been charged with 19 misdemeanor counts of illegal late-term abortions, but Kansans for Life says there are likely more.
Kansans for Life spokesman David Gittrich told LifeNews.com, “Late-term abortions are illegal in Kansas and it’s time the law was enforced."
"Today, we are presenting nearly 8,000 signatures of registered Sedgwick County voters to the Sedgwick County District Court requesting the District Court to immediately impanel a Grand Jury to investigate a pattern of criminal behavior we are observing in our community," he explained.
The 7,857 signatures are almost three times the number needed.
Kansas law prohibits these post-viable abortions except in dire emergencies or when the life of the mother is immediately threatened.
Since 1998, when this law went into effect, there have been over 2,519 post-viable abortions performed.
"We don’t believe that all of the 2,519 women were in danger of having substantial and irreversible injuries to major bodily functions as the law dictates," Gittrich said. "Kansas statistics reveal that none were done where the life of the mother was threatened. Therefore, many of these post-viable abortions are against the law."
Responding to the petitions, Dan Monnat, a Wichita attorney representing Tiller, told radio station KFDI, "Dr. Tiller is innocent of any wrongdoing and, despite constant harassment by anti-choice extremists, he continues to protect women’s right to choose by providing quality medical services."
The group is requesting that the District Court appoint an independent prosecutor so that neither Sedgwick County District Attorney’s office nor the Kansas Attorney General’s office will be associated with the grand jury.
That’s because both have received political support from Tiller-associated groups.
"Clearly, the political climate in this county and our state leads many of us to believe that neither of these offices are capable of providing an unbiased investigation and are unable to perform their duties fairly and objectively in this matter," Gittrich said.
He pointed to financial ties Tiller has with Attorney General Paul Morrison, who has benefited from hundreds of thousands in campaign contributions spent by a Tiller group.
Gittrich also said Sedgwick County District Attorney Nola Foulston has not properly enforced the late-term abortion law, which prevents any such abortions except in a very limited medical circumstances.
Foulston has also received campaign contributions from Tiller entities.
"We are seeking a Grand Jury led by a special prosecutor that has no ties to Foulston personally, her office, or to any past attorney general administration," Gittrich told LifeNews.com.
The group wants the grand jury to look into late-term abortions performed by Tiller in defiance of the medical criteria required for exemptions and missing info on the state reports as to the reasons for the late-term abortions.
Tiller was charged by Attorney General Paul Morrison with violating a section of the law saying any late-term abortions must have an independent second physician sign off on their necessity. But Gittrich says Morrison is only charging Tiller for violations of the law in 2003. He wants the grand jury to look into possible violations from 2004-2007.
Related web sites:
Kansans for Life – https://www.kfl.org