Kansas Court Asked to Quash Grand Jury Abortion Probe Subpoenas

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jan 1, 2009   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Kansas Court Asked to Quash Grand Jury Abortion Probe Subpoenas Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
January 29,

Wichita, KS (LifeNews.com) — Attorneys for abortion practitioner George Tiller filed legal papers on Monday asking a court there to quash two subpoenas from a grand jury investigating whether or not he broke state law in some of the abortions he’s done. The subpoena requests seek medical records related to more than 2,000 abortions done at his abortion business.

Tiller’s lawyers say the subpoenas put the privacy rights of the women involved in the abortions in jeopardy even though their personal information would be redacted.

The attorneys also claim the request would place an undue burden on both Tiller and women seeking abortions because it would tie up abortion facility staff in obtaining and producing such a large number of medical records.

Tiller also contended the law that pro-life advocates used to collect petitions and call the grand jury investigation is unconstitutional.

The subpoena requests "all health care records of each patient who received an abortion" at Tiller’s Women’s Health Care Services abortion center from July 1, 2003, through January 18, 2008 "when the gestational age of each patient’s fetus was determined to be 22 weeks or more."

A day later the grand jury send a second subpoena asking for the records of everyone who went to is abortion center after the twenty-first week of pregnancy who did not have an abortion because two doctors determined there was no threat to the health of the mother.

Tiller is accused of violating a state law requiring two physicians to sign off on late-term abortions in cases when the abortion is supposedly needed to protect a mother’s health.

Last week, a Sedgwick County judge ruled against a first attempt by Tiller’s attorneys to stop the requests. Retired Judge Paul Buchnan, who has been assigned to issue rulings pertaining to the grand jury, ordered Tiller to turn the records over to jurors.

Kansans for Life led a petition-gathering effort that got enough signatures to put an old Kansas law into play allowing a grand jury investigation.

The group says more violations of the law may have occurred than the 19 misdemeanor charges former Kansas Attorney General Paul Morrison charged Tiller with for not following state law.

Related web sites:
Kansans for Life – https://www.kfl.org