Kansas Woman’s Story Shows Why Grand Jury Needs Abortion Records for Probe

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Apr 7, 2008   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Kansas Woman’s Story Shows Why Grand Jury Needs Abortion Records for Probe Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
April 7
, 2008

Wichita, KS (LifeNews.com) — The story of a Kansas woman who had an abortion at the late-term abortion center run by George Tiller made the spotlight Monday by a pro-life group that says a grand jury investigating him should get abortion records. The woman’s story shows what is expected in medical records on abortion and what they contain can be very different.

A court ruling is expected on Tuesday on a request from the grand jury for copies of the abortion records needed to validate charges Tiller broke state abortion laws.

Officials with Kansans for Life highlighted the case of Michelle Armesto-Berge at a press conference and said her story shows the abortion records are needed.

Armesto-Berge discovered first-hand, when she ordered her own Tiller abortion records, that what a patient thinks is contained in Tiller clinic abortion records, and what is actually in the records, can be two completely different things.

The Kansas resident said she opposes quashing the subpoenas issued by the Sedgwick grand jury investigating Tiller.

She sees Tiller’s appeal to "privacy protection" as a way to hide the fact that he has broken the law in her case, and probably others.

Mary Kay Culp, the executive director of KFL, also appeared at the press conference and told LifeNews.com Armesto-Berge’s situation makes it clear the grand jury should see the records.

"If Michelle isn’t the poster child for why the grand jury needs to see redacted abortion medical records, I don’t know who is," Culp said. "She discovered firsthand how Tiller breaks the law and covers it up by falsifying the records."

Armesto-Berge had a coerced, post-viable abortion at Tiller’s abortion facility in 2003.

While her unborn child was post-viability at the time of the abortion, she never talked to a second physician beforehand as require by state law.

Tiller’s records for her showed the baby as non-viable in order to get around the law.

In addition, the records showed that the abortion process was begun PRIOR to her signing consent forms, or being medically evaluated.

At issue in the oral arguments at the Kansas Supreme Court tomorrow is the mandamus by Tiller asking the court to quash subpoenas issued by the Sedgwick County grand jury charged with investigating his practice.

Tiller claims he is simply trying to protect his patients’ privacy, but the records requested would be redacted of any identifying information.