George Tiller Attorneys Give Preview of Late-Term Abortion Defense During Trial
by Steven Ertelt
March 23, 2009
Wichita, KS (LifeNews.com) — The attorneys for late-term abortion practitioner George Tiller gave a preview of the defense they will use during the trial. Tiller has been charged with 19 counts of violating a state law that requires an independent physician to sign off on the legitimacy of late-term abortions.
Tiller has been accused of getting his buddy, fellow abortion practitioner Kristen Neuhaus, with whom he has a financial relationship, of rubber stamping the abortions.
Prosecutor Barry Disney said Neuhaus was essentially an employee of Tiller’s and that she would not be the impartial doctor the law calls for to validate the abortions.
During a hearing before Sedgwick County District Judge Clark Owens, the six members and two alternates were sworn in and heard opening statements.
Tiller attorney Dan Monnat told Owens he plans to show how Tiller tried to comply with the law by getting advice from the Kansas Board of Healing Arts, the state agency that regulates doctors.
Monnat said Tiller was acting under the approval of his attorney and the medical board when he sought Neuhaus’ sign-off on the late-term abortions.
He indicated Larry Buening, the former director of the medical board, told Tiller he could have Neuhaus weigh in as the second physician.
Disney reminded the jury that any reasons or excuses Monnat would give them for why Tiller broke the law simply point to the fact that Tiller broke the law.
He told jurors that there was an illegal contractual arrangement between Tilller and Neuhaus.
Owens told both sides he would determine later what evidence is admissible in the case and what he would not include. He indicated he would probably not include any evidence concerning the medical board and Tiller’s attorneys and their approving using Neuhaus.
That may be to Tiller’s advantage if only because leading pro-life group Kansans for Life says testimony indicates Monnat is wrong on what the medical board instructed.
After Tiller was charged in June 2007 with violating the second physician law 19 times, his lawyers claimed that a medical board review of Tiller’s involvement in the January 2005 death of Cristin Gilbert tacitly sanctioned his relationship with Neuhaus.
But Mary Kay Culp, the head of Kansans for Life, tells LifeNews.com that direct questioning of Buening by an interim committee on August 31, 2007 reveals that the issue of affiliation was not a "finding of fact" on that issue.
"Thus, the Board never even looked at that issue [regarding Neuhaus] as part of their investigation of the death," Culp said.
Culp also says that, in April 1999, the medical board issued a formal interpretation of the ban that the second referring physician had to be Kansas-licensed. Nothing was issued about repeat use of one physician.
Culp also explains that Neuhaus had so many problems keeping her medical license that what little work she could pick up included rubber stamping abortions for Tiller.
"It is the defense attorneys’ mission to confuse the jury and engender pity toward the criminal conspirators, as they do not want to tell the truth about Neuhaus’ documented incompetence, continual battles with the Board and inability to sustain a medical practice even when supervised," she told LifeNews.com.
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