by Steven Ertelt
December 3, 2007
Wichita, KS (LifeNews.com) — George Tiller, the abortion practitioner accused to doing illegal late-term abortions at his Kansas abortion business, will face a grand jury hearing in January. News of the January 8 hearing date came on the heels of the state Supreme Court rejecting a request from his lawyers to stop it.
Retired Judge Paul Buchanan will oversee the grand jury process.
The Kansas Supreme Court issued a ruling Thursday saying a grand jury probe brought against late-term abortion practitioner George Tiller can continue.
Pro-life groups collected the signatures of thousands of state residents to use a state law allowing for grand jury probes in cases where local officials won’t investigate. Tiller had asked the Kansas Supreme Court to order two district judges to refrain from impaneling the grand jury.
Tiller’s attorneys say one reason the grand jury shouldn’t begin its task of investigating whether or not he did numerous illegal late-term abortions over the years is because pro-life groups like Kansans for Life are behind the probe.
But the state’s high court, in an order from Chief Justice Kay McFarland, says the grand jury can proceed and lifted the hold it had put on it previously.
“The stay of the grand jury proceedings is lifted and the motions to intervene are dismissed as moot,’ McFarland wrote.
Mary Kay Culp, the director of Kansans for Life, which spearheaded the grand jury probe, told LifeNews.com she was happy with the decision.
She said the ruling was welcome because, "Groups formed by Tiller spent over a million dollars here influencing the last election and, soon after, charges against him were dropped."
"Today’s decision means that for now, the law rules in Kansas, and for that we are very grateful — grateful to the lawyers who filed our motion to intervene and our brief, and to the Kansas Supreme Court," Culp told LifeNews.com.
The grand jury probe is separate from charges Attorney General Paul Morrison has filed against 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.
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.
Related web sites:
Kansans for Life – https://www.kfl.org