by Steven Ertelt
January 30, 2008
Wichita, KS (LifeNews.com) — Late-term abortion practitioner George Tiller is getting help in his legal battle from a prominent national pro-abortion law firm. Tiller faces both charges from the state attorney general that he did illegal late-term abortions and a grand jury probe contending he violated the law other times over the last five years.
The Center for Reproductive Rights has signed up to represent the infamous abortion practitioner and is joining his attorneys in trying to prevent the grand jury from obtaining medical records in its investigation.
The pro-abortion law firm plans to file a motion today to quash the subpoenas, going along with an earlier motion Tiller’s attorneys filed.
Retired Sedgwick County Judge Paul Buchanan is holding a hearing on the matter this afternoon.
According to an AP report, Tiller’s lawyer Dan Monnat claimed that the 15 members of the Wichita grand jury getting the medical records from Tiller’s abortion center would be an invasion of privacy.
He said it would mean that "approximately 2,000 girls and women will now be in fear that the most private details of their lives will be read and discussed by 15 of their neighbors, schoolmates, colleagues, family members and complete strangers."
But Mary Kay Culp, the director of Kansans for Life, challenged that claim in a statement to LifeNews.com.
"Proof that Monnat’s statement that all 2,000 women could be personally known by the 15 Wichita grand jurors is a lie for two reasons," she said.
"First, official Kansas abortion statistics show approximately 91% of such women are from out of state and, secondly, identifying information will be removed before any such records go to grand jurors."
Tiller 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 Tillers 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 sent 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 mothers health.
Last week, Judge Buchanan, 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