Kansas Grand Jury Not Getting Abortion Records Despite High Court Ruling
by Steven Ertelt
June 4, 2008
Wichita, KS (LifeNews.com) — A Kansas grand jury that is investigating late-term abortion practitioner George Tiller has yet to receive any of the abortion records it needs to determine whether he broke state abortion law.
That’s despite a Kansas Supreme Court ruling from nearly one month ago that the subpoenas it issued for the records should be honored.
Fewer than 20 abortion records have been turned over from Tiller’s abortion center to the independent attorney assisting the grand jury, according to an AP report, even though the grand jury wants to look at as many as 2,000 from the past five years.
Judge Paul Buchanan asked Tiller to first provide a random sample of 50 late-term abortion records per year, for a total of 250 records.
Pro-life groups worry the process is going so slowly that the grand jury will be unable to complete its work by the July 8 deadline. The grand jury already received a three-month extension but can’t qualify for another one.
Dan Monnat, one of Tiller’s lawyers, told AP that Tiller’s abortion business is not trying to arbitrarily delay the process.
We are not trying to run out the clock, Monnat said. We are trying to timely comply with the courts order while at the same time guaranteeing the privacy of the patients to the degree permitted by the courts orders.
But Operation Rescue president Troy Newman told LifeNews.com that Tiller knows he may be able to escape prosecution for the allegations of illegal late-term abortions if he can prevent the grand jury from moving ahead.
"Every action taken by Tiller’s lawyers has been for the purpose of delay," Newman said. "They delayed the start of the grand jury, they delayed the investigation by filing with the Kansas Supreme Court to stay the subpoenas."
"The glacial speed with which they are now providing records casts doubt on whether they are sincerely attempting to comply. Their actions are more consistent with someone who is trying desperately to run out the clock," he added.
Newman also worries Tiller’s lawyers are hand-selecting abortion records they know will exonerate the abortion practitioner rather than submitting batches of random records as requested.