Tiller Charges Are Accusations He Operated An Illegal Late-term Abortion Racket

Discription of Tiller’s 19 criminal charges as “technical” diminish the seriousness of the case

Commentary by Cheryl Sullenger, Senior Policy Advisor, Operation Rescue

Wichita, KS – It appears that late-term abortionist George R. Tiller will stand trial beginning on March 16 for 19 criminal counts of violating a requirement in the Kansas ban on post-viability abortions. Judge Clark Owens yesterday denied Tiller’s motions to suppress evidence that the state has against him and dismiss the case.

Statements made by Tiller’s attorney, Dan Monnat, in reaction to the ruling attempted to play down the charges as violations of a mere technicality of the law that is not worth the expenditure of taxpayer money to prosecute. Nothing could be further from the truth. To make such arrogant statements is demeaning to those who are interested in justice and the rule of law.

In spite of Monnat’s blustering, the charges against Tiller are really quite easy to understand. Kansas law bans abortions after fetal viability, with very narrow exceptions. A determination of viability must be made and reported at 22 weeks gestation. If the baby has been found to be viable, the law requires that the abortionist receive a referral from a second Kansas physician that is legally or financially unaffiliated with the abortionist. That second physician must make an independent determination that the continuation of the pregnancy will result in a substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function of the pregnant woman.

Since there is a tremendous amount of money that can be made doing late-term abortions – anywhere from $3,000-$20,000 depending on the gestational age and other factors – the second physician requirement is a safeguard to protect women and their viable babies from having an unscrupulous and greedy abortionist falsely claim the baby is not viable or that the abortion is medically necessary when it is not. The law was meant to keep the abortion industry honest.

However, abortion records obtained during Phill Kline’s investigations as attorney general revealed that Tiller had only one physician, abortionist Ann Kristin Neuhaus, signing off on each and every late term abortion. The Attorney General Steve Six’s office, which is now prosecuting this case, believes it has evidence that Neuhaus had a prohibited legal and financial affiliation with Tiller. That would mean that every post-viability abortion done by Tiller with Neuhaus’ “rubber stamp” was an illegal abortion.

Just considering the 19 counts in this case, this means that there are 19 children dead today, which should be alive. That fact makes this case not just a “hyper-technical” infraction, but a very serious violation of the law. Any attempts to trivialize the charges also trivializes the lives of the 19 babies whose deaths are the subject of these charges.

Operation Rescue was the first to discover this illegal relationship between Tiller and Neuhaus and first reported on it in August, 2006. A formal complaint asking for an investigation into this relationship was filed with the Kansas State Board of Healing Arts (KSBHA) in October, 2006, and amended in February, 2007. That case remains open. If convicted of the charges, Tiller will likely face disciplinary action against his license, which could include revocation. That could put Tiller out of business for good.

Operation Rescue’s investigations revealed that Neuhaus had no practice or office of her own, having closed her abortion clinic after having suffered discipline by the KSBHA, which stated her negligence presented a “danger to the public.” Neuhaus came to Wichita every Monday to sign off on the late abortions, and often used one of Tiller’s personal vehicles. She was provided with free office space and security at Tiller’s expense. Tiller’s patients were her only source of income as a physician, and she could only access those patients at Tiller’s invitation.

A member of a grand jury that investigated Tiller in 2006 on another matter told Operation Rescue that the Tiller-Neuhaus professional relationship was “wishy-washy” at best. He suspected it might be illegal but was unable to obtain concrete proof at that time. When asked by the grand jury if she had ever refused to sign off on an abortion for Tiller, Neuhaus pled the Fifth Amendment, refusing to answer on the grounds that it might incriminate her.

So the matter is really pretty simple. Tiller wanted to do post-viability abortions even though the law prohibited them, so he sought an illegal partnership with an out-of-work abortionist, who he knew would rubber-stamp every abortion for him without question. Together, they ran for years what amounted to a very profitable illegal late-term abortion racket.

Judge Owens’ ruling means that Tiller has run out of excuses for not facing the serious accusations against him in a court of law. So after nearly two years of failed legal wrangling, this drama’s culmination is set to begin on March 16. And for the viable babies that continue to be aborted at Tiller’s late-term abortion mill, it won’t be a day too soon.