by Phill Kline
August 21, 2007
LifeNews.com Note: Phill Kline is the former attorney general for the state of Kansas. He is now the County Attorney for Johnson County.
As many of you know, George Tiller has kept his clinic closed for going on three weeks. Tiller’s official reason is that he claims that "increased vandalism" and protests have forced him to temporarily close the clinic.
I believe the reason can be found elsewhere.
Kansas law requires two doctors find that a woman’s life would be in jeopardy or that she would suffer "severe and irreversible damage to a major bodily function" for an abortion to be performed on post-viable unborn children. Mr. Tiller performs such abortions almost exclusively.
He has never claimed a mother’s life would be in jeopardy since reports were required to KDHE for over a decade now. Mr. Tiller always claims that the woman would suffer severe and irreversible damage to a major bodily function if the abortion was not performed.
As Attorney General I retained renowned psychiatrist Dr. Paul McHugh of Johns-Hopkins University. Dr. McHugh served as Chair of the School of Psychiatry of Johns-Hopkins for over 25 years and is recognized internationally as one of the world’s leading psychiatrists.
Dr. McHugh reviewed Tiller’s files and in a taped and published interview sponsored by Women Influencing the Nation (you can view it on youtube.com) concluded that Mr. Tiller’s diagnosis of various mental health concerns to perform late-term abortions was not supported by psychiatry, by the evidence in the medical file and violated Kansas law in every instance.
Specifically, McHugh found that Tiller would trump up some specious psychological diagnosis and call it permanent. For example, one would be mother claimed she needed the abortion so she could attend rock concerts (a child would limit her ability as she would have to find a babysitter) Tiller diagnoses adjustment disorder and claimed a permanent injury would result to the mother if the abortion were performed.
Dr. McHugh said every file showed the same pattern of conduct and every file did not justify an abortion under Kansas law.
Attorney General Paul Morrison comes along and in a creative and first of a kind interpretation of the late-term ban in Kansas states that he cannot review the doctor’s justification or findings for the abortion. In other words, the doctor could make it up – and that would be sufficient. Mr. Morrison has construed the late-term ban to mean abortion on demand as a form of birth control up to the moment of birth.
This interpretation runs entirely contrary to legal precedent and the clear meaning of the law. As one example: the Kansas late-term ban requires that the abortion doctor report his findings, including his specific diagnosis and how he made the diagnosis to KDHE for review by the Attorney General. KSA 65-3703 and KSA 65-445. Failure to do so is a crime. Furthermore, the abortion doctor is required to keep all records detailing such findings for five years.
Why require the reports if they cannot be reviewed? Why does the statute state that such are to be provided to the Attorney General if there is reasonable suspicion to believe a crime has occurred if the AG cannot act and no one can review the doctor’s entirely subjective view?
Mr. Morrison’s interpretation is simply pay-off to the abortion industry.
Mr. Morrison did what we expected. Under intense pressure he filed what he called "technical charges" relating to Dr. Tiller’s relationship with Kristin Neuhaus. Morrison alleges that Neuhaus, who provides the second opinion required by law, is financially affiliated with Tiller and this is contrary to law. Morrison filed 19 charges – all relating to medical records my office obtained through subpoena and in which the statute of limitations still allows charges. Every single file obtained – for which the statute of limitations has not run demonstrated a criminal relationship according to Morrison.
Public evidence, however, shows that the Neuhaus/Tiller relationship has continued in 2004, 2005 and 2006. Yet, Morrison indicates he will look no further than the records I originally obtained.
This approach allows Tiller to possibly eventually plea to a misdemeanor, pay a fine and with the creative interpretation of the late-term ban to not be a ban – allows Kansas to continue as the nation’s late-term abortion capital despite some of the strongest prohibition language in the nation.
So why is Tiller closed?
He can’t find another Neuhaus. An unintended consequence of their effort to dance with the law.
Sure Morrison’s interpretation provides zero scrutiny for doctors who in the future affiliate with Tiller, however, how many doctors are willing to be a part, every day, of ending the life of a healthy viable child? And how many doctors in order to participate in such abortions are willing to diagnose severe single episodic depression to justify an abortion so a women can go to a rock concert?
Most likely, Mr. Tiller is having a hard time finding someone who has the exact same philosophy as he does. For this we can celebrate.