Thursday, October 25, 2007

Tiller The Baby Killer Wants Grand Jury Stopped

One of the nation's few late-term abortion providers is asking Kansas' highest court to block a grand jury investigation of him and his Wichita clinic that was initiated by anti-abortion groups. Kansas is one of the few states where citizens can petition to impanel a grand jury. Anti-abortion groups collected nearly 7,900 signatures, more than three times the number required, to force Sedgwick County to create a grand jury to consider whether Dr. George Tiller (the baby killer) violated a 1998 state law restricting late-term abortions. Tiller denies the allegations and wants the Kansas Supreme Court to prevent the panel from convening. The grand jury is scheduled to meet Tuesday. "This is a proceeding brought for harassment and in bad faith by the petition gatherers," Tiller attorney Lee Thompson said Wednesday. "You approach the level of vigilantism, and I think we see that happening in this instance." Tiller's attorneys filed a petition Friday with the high court, which has not scheduled a hearing. Mary Kay Culp, executive director of Kansans for Life, said abortion opponents sought a grand jury because of Tiller's influence in state politics and because potential violations of the law have been ignored for years. Kansans for Life is the state's largest anti-abortion group and was heavily involved in the Sedgwick County petition drive.
Tiller The Baby Killer
"Nothing Dr. Tiller or any of his lawyers do surprises me — nothing," Culp said. "It makes have to wonder just what it is they're so afraid of." Historically, Kansans have not used their power to convene grand juries much, but this is the second time in 18 months abortion foes have done so to investigate Tiller. Last year, a grand jury reviewed the death of a Texas woman who had had an abortion at Tiller's clinic but issued no indictments. Attorney General Paul Morrison, a Democrat who supports abortion rights, filed 19 misdemeanor charges against Tiller in June in Sedgwick County. Morrison alleges Tiller failed to get a second opinion on some late-term abortions from an independent physician, as required by state law. But many abortion opponents believe Morrison should have focused on allegations that Tiller violated restrictions designed to limit late-term abortions to medical emergencies. "The Tiller situation is the perfect example of why this venue ought to be available to the public," Culp said. In Tiller's petition to the Supreme Court, his attorneys argue that anti-abortion groups have a financial interest in his prosecution. Among other things, Tiller's petition says, abortion opponents sold bumper stickers saying, "Charge Tiller. It's the law." The same slogan has appeared on T-shirts abortion opponents have worn at rallies. Culp responded to Thompson's comments by pointing to Tiller's own political activities, which have included forming a political action committee in 2002.