Unguarded testimony reveals Tiller viewed Neuhaus as a member of his organization.
Wichita, KS – Accused late-term abortionist George Tiller took the stand in his own defense today and testified about his relationship to fellow abortionist Ann Kristin Neuhaus. Tiller is charged with having committed 19 post-viability abortions using Neuhaus even though she was illegally affiliated with him.
Tiller testified that in 1999 the Kansas State Board of Healing Arts began to require that the second referral for post-viability abortions come from a Kansas physician, so that the Board would have jurisdiction over that physician should discipline ever become necessary. He considered challenging the constitutionality of the law in Federal Court.
Tiller testified that on July 21, 1999, he received a call from Larry Buening, who was the Executive Director of the KSBHA at that time. Tiller said that Buening told him, “Why don’t you use Kris Neuhaus and that will take care of all of your problems.”
Tiller admitted that Buening told him not to quote him because he would deny the conversation. The only evidence that the conversation took place was a few scribbled notes in Tiller’s organizational calendar. His notes indicated that Neuhaus as glad to do the consultations because she needed the money, something Neuhaus denied during her testimony.
Tiller’s testimony under the questioning of his attorney, Dan Monnat, seemed well rehearsed and even memorized. But under cross examination by Assistant Attorney General Barry Disney, Tiller appeared to have some difficulty processing the questions and giving extemporaneous responses.
During Disney’s questioning, Tiller first indicated that he relied on what Buening told him as a representative of the KSBHA regarding the second physician law. However he later admitted that he did not exclusively rely on Buening’s word in that 1999 conversation. In fact, after the conversation, he told the court he still had questions about the non-affiliation language in the law and continued to consult with his attorneys about it for several more months. He filtered everything through his attorneys and ultimately relied solely on their advice.
In Kansas, claiming innocence because one relied upon consultations with an attorney is not a valid defense against criminal charges.
Tiller admitted that his relationship with Neuhaus evolved from 1999 when she first began to consult at his clinic, to 2003, the year that is the subject of the criminal charges.
At one point, Tiller began to refer to his relationship with Neuhaus saying, “When she was working for me,“ but quickly issued a correction stating, “when she was providing consultations for patients.”
“I think the first statement was truer than the rehearsed correction,” said Operation Rescue President Troy Newman. “In an unguarded moment, he revealed the way he normally considered her relationship to him.”
Another dramatic moment regarding how Tiller actually viewed his affiliation with Neuhaus came when he discussed how long it took to make arrangements for Neuhaus to begin consulting for him.
“When someone new was going to join your organization, it would take time [to set up],” he said.
Tiller testified that he approved the amount of Neuhaus’ consulting fee. She charged $250-300 per consultation.
Tiller admitted that he profited financially by Neuhaus consulting with his patients. He estimated that he did 250-300 post-viability abortions in 2003 at an average cost of $6,000. He said that without Neuhaus’ help, he would not have been able to do those abortions.
He told the court that his overhead is 62% of the fees generated by his clinic. His salary is 38% of the gross income of his clinic. Tiller never said how much money he made from abortions prior to viability.
“Doing the math, Tiller personally made at least $684,000 killing viable babies in 2003, and we don’t know how much he made killing non-viable babies,” said Newman. “But we do know it would be a huge blow to the Tiller income if he were unable to do the late-term abortions for lack of a second Kansas referring physician.”
After Disney’s questioning, Tiller’s attorneys got him off the stand as quickly as possible.
Also testifying were JoAn Armentrout, Tiller’s Administrative Director who was his bookkeeper in 2003, and Rachel Pirner, an attorney who advised Tiller on compliance with the law. Pirner is scheduled to continue testimony on Thursday.
Present in the courtroom was Lou Engle and his wife, who spent most of the time in prayer during Tiller’s testimony. Engle is a national leader in the faith community and is founder of The Call.