State Investigation Against George Tiller Closed, Probe of Abortion Colleague Remains

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

State Investigation Against George Tiller Closed, Probe of Abortion Colleague Remains

by Steven Ertelt Editor
June 9
, 2009

Topeka, KS ( — With the shooting death of late-term abortion practitioner George Tiller, the state board that regulates physicians has closed an investigation it had opened against him. Meanwhile, the state medical board is continuing a case it has on file against a Tiller colleague, Shelley Sella.

Following a not guilty verdict from a jury that had been considering charges from the state attorney general that Tiller had engaged in illegal late-term abortions, the state medical board acknowledged its case against Tiller.

On March 29, the Kansas State Board of Healing Arts released to the public a petition it filed in December listing eleven allegations against Tiller’s license.

"Violations alleged include performing an abortion on a fetus that was viable without having a documented referral from another physician not legally or financially affiliated with him," the board said in a statement.

They included "unprofessional or dishonorable conduct or professional incompetency and commitment of acts likely to deceive, defraud or harm the public" and could have cost Tiller his medical license.

Operation Rescue president Tory Newman informed today that officials told his group that the case is closed given Tiller’s death.

"At the time of his death, the KSBHA had already taken the first steps to revoke Tiller’s medical license. Notice that these additional cases were proceeding is another indication that we were very close to seeing some kind of disciplinary action," Newman said.

The complaints referred to in the KSBHA letters centered on an abortion patient who suffered substantial complications from a late-term abortion she had at Tiller’s Women’s Health Care Services in September, 2008.

Newman indicated his group received two letters last week from the Kansas State Board of Healing Arts dated June 1, 2009, informing it that the complaints against Tiller and his employee, Sella, were still open and the investigations still pending. The letters were automatically generated prior to Tiller’s death.

Operation Rescue later confirmed with the state board that the Sella investigation will continue, while the Tiller portion of the investigation will now be closed.

That means the eleven-count petition against Tiller for allegedly violating the requirement that there be a second unaffiliated physician referral for post-viability abortions will also be closed.

"The legal channels we were employing were working and are continuing to work in the case of Shelley Sella," Newman said.

"Since the woman involved suffered life-threatening injuries, issues involving Sella’s participation in this botched abortion must still be addressed by the Board," Newman added.

Sella, who resides in California and worked for Tiller one week out of three, could still face the revocation of her Kansas medical license.

Newman said he is glad about the news today that the Tiller family will permanently close his abortion business, but he is upset that it didn’t happen as a result of the legal means Operation Rescue was pursuing.

"We are thankful that Tiller’s clinic will not reopen and thankful that Wichita is now abortion-free. It is our sincere prayer that threats to open another third-trimester abortion clinic in Kansas will not come to fruition so that the healing process for this state and community can begin," he said.

"This is a bittersweet moment for us at Operation Rescue. We have worked very hard for this day, but we wish it would have come through the peaceful, legal channels that we were pursuing. We believe we were very close to seeing disciplinary action taken against Tiller’s license that would have closed this clinic through due process," Newman concluded.

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