George Tiller Testifies, Says State Medical Board OKd Him Doing Illegal Abortions
by Steven Ertelt
March 25, 2009
Wichita, KS (LifeNews.com) — Taking the stand in his own defense, embattled late-term abortion practitioner George Tiller defended himself on state charges of 19 counts of doing illegal late-term abortions. Tiller said during the trial that the head of the state medical board authorized him to use a second physician who worked for him.
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.
He relied on fellow abortion practitioner Kristen Neuhaus, an employee of his, to provide the okay for the abortions instead of using an independent physician who could assess whether they were medically necessary.
Attorneys for Tiller hinted on the first day of the trial that this would be the tactic they would use in an attempt to get him off the hook.
Tiller attorney Dan Monnat told Sedgwick County District Judge Clark Owens and the six members of the jury that Tiller was acting under the approval of Larry Buening, the former director of the medical board, the Kansas Board of Healing Arts.
Today, Tiller pointed to his 1999 conversations with Buening and claimed he said it would be all right for Neuhaus to sign off on the abortions in a potential violation of state law.
"He said, ‘Why don’t you use Kris Neuhaus and that will take care of all of your problems,’" Tiller testified.
Tiller claimed Neuhaus had no financial interest in his abortion business even though she essentially worked for him as a part-time employee and earned no money through other means. She had problems with her medical license and did not earn a living practicing medicine elsewhere.
Tiller attorneys told the jury Wednesday that Tiller has been a victim of alleged harassment from pro-life advocates and his attorneys showed the jury photos of the results of a bomb that went off at his abortion center 25 years ago.
The motive behind bringing up old incidents and events is apparently designed to sway the jury and to look at the charges askance by considering them political motivated.
During his opening statement, Assistant Attorney General Barry Disney said Neuhaus was an employee of Tiller’s and that she would not be the impartial doctor the law calls for to validate the abortions.
Disney did manage to establish through Neuhaus’ testimony that she was recruited by Tiller, who consulted with her about the amount of her fee. He then set up a situation where she could only see patients at his request, at times of his determination, in an environment that he controlled.
When she did the consultations by telephone, patients paid Tiller’s staff, and they held the cash for Neuhaus until the next time she came to the abortion center. The form letter that she signed, referring patients to Tiller for late-term abortions was drafted by Tiller’s attorneys and provided to her by Tiller’s staff.
Disney also established that patients were not free to choose their own second physician, and that Tiller controlled the fact that each patient saw Neuhaus, and only her.
More sparks flew when Disney attempted to question Neuhaus about her discipline with the Kansas State Board of Healing Arts. Tiller’s side strenuously objected, but the judge allowed the questioning.
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.
"The more we hear in court, the more shady these people appear. Neuhaus didn’t do herself any favors with her surly attitude. She appeared to be a hyper-paranoid person who lives in constant fear of criminal prosecution," said Operation Rescue President Troy Newman.
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