by Steven Ertelt
November 5, 2007
Wichita, KS (LifeNews.com) — A county judge has delayed a final decision on whether to dismiss charges Attorney General Paul Morrison has filed against late-term abortion practitioner George Tiller. Morrison says Tiller, one of a handful in the country to do abortions so late in pregnancy, has violated state law requiring a second physician to sign off on their validity.
Sedgwick County District Judge Clark V. Owens indicated he would rule within a few weeks on whether or not to grant a request from Tiller’s lawyers to dismiss the 19 charges.
Morrison said Tiller has violated the component of the state’s late-term abortion law requiring the abortion practitioner not to have a relationship with the second physician. Tiller uses a second doctor with whom he has a financial relationship.
Judge Owens, after a Friday hearing, said he would likely issue a decision at the same time he rules on a request from Tiller’s attorneys to alter a grand jury probe that pro-life groups successfully petitioned for by invoking a rarely-used state law.
State law limit’s the juries in such cases to six members, Tiller contends, and his attorneys have requested twelve. However, Kansas attorneys say the law makes no mention of jury size.
Morrison filed the 19 misdemeanor charges against Tiller in June and the jury trial for the separate grand jury probe, which courts have approved, is set for March 10.
Tiller’s lawyers are challenging the late-term abortion law saying the requirement for an independent second physician is unconstitutional and that it allegedly infringes on women’s so-called abortion rights.
"This law puts up a whole Byzantine set of hurdles, which serve no logical purpose except to keep a woman from exercising her constitutional right to seek an abortion," Thompson said, according to a Wichita Eagle report.
But Jared Maag, an assistant Kansas attorney general, told the judge that Tiller wouldn’t be able to do any abortions in the state if the law prohibited women from doing abortions. That he can perform legal abortions disproves his contention the law is unconstitutional.
"The number of abortions done belie his arguments," Maag said. "He performs thousands."