OR calls on New Kansas AG to reopen Tiller investigation
[Below is a report on evidence gathered by Operation Rescue in their investigation of late-term abortions at George R. Tiller’s Women’s Health Care Services in Wichita, KS. This report was released to the public at a press conference held on Monday, January 21, 2008.]
Operation Rescue has long had reason to believe that late-term abortionist George R. Tiller has been violating Kansas law that prohibits post-viability abortions except under the strictest conditions. Over the past two years, Operation Rescue conducted an investigation into post-22 week abortions at Tiller’s Women’s Health Care Services. This report will discuss the findings of that investigation and release never-before seen evidence that abortions of questionable legality are continuing at Tiller’s Wichita abortion mill, Women’s Health Care Services.
Before before that evidence and be properly discussed, some background information is required to put the evidence into context.
Kansas law, passed in 1998, bans prohibits abortions after 22 weeks when the baby is viable. K.S.A. 65-6703(a) states:
No person shall perform or induce an abortion when the fetus is viable unless such person is a physician and has a documented referral from another physician not legally or financially affiliated with the physician performing or inducing the abortion and both physicians determine that: (1) The abortion is necessary to preserve the life of the pregnant woman; or (2) a continuation of the pregnancy will cause a substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function of the pregnant woman.
After the passage of this law, there was some public debate about whether or not “a major bodily function” stated in the law included mental health risks. While the authors of the bill argued that it did not, former Attorney General Carla Stovall released her opinion in 2000 that, in order to pass constitutional muster, the law must include mental health exceptions as long as the mental health risks were “substantial and irreversible.”
Abortions that take place after the 21st week of gestation must be reported to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDH&E) that, according to statute, must contain the “reason and basis” for each abortion. According to KDH&E records, no abortion past 22 weeks has ever been done to save the life of the mother since K.S.A. 65-6703 was passed.
Full text of K.S.A. 65-6703
Attorney General Opinion No. 2000-20 issued by Carla Stovall, March 21, 2000
KDH&E Abortion Reports
Criminal Charges Pending, Further Investigation Denied
Operation Rescue’s investigation revealed what we believed was a violation of the “unaffiliated physician” clause in K.S.A. 65-6703. In August, 2006, OR discovered and published information that abortionist Ann Kristin Neuhaus was providing the second signature for nearly every abortion after 22 weeks at WHCS. Our information was validated in June, 2007, when Attorney General Paul Morrison charged Tiller with 19 counts of violating this very provision of the law, indicating that Tiller and Neuhaus were “in cahoots” to provide late-term abortions.
Read Kansas v. Tiller 07CR2112
However, those charges were based on only 19 abortions that took place over a four-month time-span in 2003. Operation Rescue staff had witnessed Neuhaus at WHCS as late as early 2007, indicating that literally hundreds of illegal abortions may have been committed between 2004 and 2007. Nevertheless, Attorney General Morrison and District Attorney Nola Foulston have refused to investigate to determine if there were further violations of the law during those years even though there is every reason to believe crimes were committed.
In light of the facts that Foulston has ties to Tiller and that Morrison has been accused of attempting to illegally influence a criminal case against Tiller filed by former Attorney General Phill Kline, Operation Rescue is calling on new Attorney General Stephen Six to reopen the investigation of George Tiller and fully examine his late-term abortion practices from 2004 through the present.
“Grand Jury Leaves Unanswered Questions in Abortion Death,” August 17, 2006
Dr. Paul McHugh’s incriminating interview
In June, 2007, Operation Rescue was present at the recording of an interview with Dr. Paul McHugh, a highly respected expert in the field of psychiatry. Dr. McHugh had been asked to review abortion records subpoenaed from WHCS at the request of former Kansas Attorney General Phill Kline, who had been investigating illegal abortions.
During the interview, Dr. McHugh indicated that all of the records examined by him contained information about post-22 week abortions, and that WHCS abortionists had justified each abortion on vague “mental health” reasons. Dr. McHugh stated that he found no case where an abortion was legally justified on psychiatric grounds. Dr. McHugh’s determinations were, in part, the basis for 30 criminal charges filed by Kline against Tiller in December, 2006. While those charges were dismissed on jurisdictional grounds, two judges agreed that there was probable cause to believe Tiller violated the law, and the question of the legality of those alleged criminal abortions has never been addressed.
Listen to McHugh Interview and read the transcript.
Read Kansas v. Tiller Case no. 06CR2961
Tiller’s web site raises questions
In fact, Tiller’s own web site boasts, “We have an unparalleled record of safey [sic] in late abortion services and we have more experience in late abortion services over 24 weeks than anyone else currently practicing in the Western Hemisphere, Europe and Australia.” Tiller’s web site also indicates the existence of a program for “Late Abortion Care For Fetal Anomaly.” However, “fetal anomaly” is not an accepted exemption to the ban on post-viability abortions, which has led to questions about the legality of this program.
Read Tiller’s boasting about post-24 week abortion experience
Read about Tiller’s program to abort babies with fetal anomalies
Read Tiller’s report about fetal anomaly abortions
Anecdotal Evidence Establishes a Pattern of Abuse
Some of the information examined by OR was in the form of anecdotal evidence. This evidence included:
-E-mail communications with women who had abortions at WHCS and shared their stories with us
-Testimonies of pro-life sidewalk advisors who personally spoke with women entering WHCS for late-term abortions
-Medical Records of late abortions at WHCS that have been released to Operation Rescue by the women who had the abortions.
-News stories about women who had late-term abortions at WHCS
The stories told to us by women who were late-term abortion patients at WHCS indicates that these women did not believe that they were receiving abortions because their lives were in danger or that they would suffer a “permanent and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function” if they continued their pregnancies. These women believed they were getting abortions because their pre-born babies suffered from fetal anomalies, had financial hardships, or for other reasons not included as valid exemptions to the law banning late abortions. That would make those abortions illegal according to K.S.A. 65-6703.
These stories indicate a pattern of abusing the law and emphasize the need to inspect medical records to substantiate the claims of illegal abortions.
Read E-mail Communications
Read Dated Reports from Sidewalk Advisors
Read Abortion Medical Record, Record Release, and Narrative of complaint to the Kansas State Board of Healing Arts
“A Late Decision, A Lasting Anguish” by Stephanie Simon, LA Times, May 31, 2005.
Late abortions continue
It soon became apparent that late-term abortions of questionable legality were continuing at WHCS even after the pending criminal charges were filed as eye-witnesses who spent hours each week offering help to women outside WHCS began reporting that late-term abortions for dubious causes had resumed after a summer hiatus.
“Charges Fail To Stop Illegal Late-term Abortions In Kansas” July 29, 2007
“Every picture tells a story”
Operation Rescue conducted a covert investigation to document the fact that the most extreme of late-term abortions were continuing to take place at WHCS.
The photographs below were taken with a telescopic digital camera from an undisclosed location east of Women’s Health Care Services, which is located at 5107 E. Kellogg (south east corner of Kellogg and Bleckley) in Wichita, Kansas. The photos depict abortion patients entering WHCS between September 4, 2007 and November 13, 2007.
Two photos are presented on the following page to put the patient photos into a context and perspective.
While we do not pretend to know the exact stage of pregnancy of any of the abortion patients shown below, we believe that it would be hard to look at the photos, coupled with other antidotal evidence, and not suspect that illegal late-term abortions may be occurring. These incidents require further investigation by law enforcement agencies or a grand jury.
Context Photo 1: This photo puts the rear of Tiller’s Women’s Health Care Services into context. It is the long tan building in the foreground, located at 5107 E. Kellogg (southeast corner of Kellogg and Bleckley) in Wichita, KS. The WHCS entry door is on the right. The Davis Moore auto dealership is clearly visible to the west of the clinic, and the major street at the top of the photo is Kellogg. This picture was snapped facing the northwest.
Context Photo 2: This is a photo of a typical woman at 22 weeks gestation. This photo is for comparison purposes. The woman depicted was not a patient of WHCS.
Photos of WHCS Patients #1-13 taken between September 4, 2007 and November 13, 2007
It is obvious that the abortions well past the 22-week gestational limit continue at Women’s Health Care Services.
Tiller currently faces 19 criminal charges of committing illegal late-term abortions, and Operation Rescue is confident hundreds of additional abortions were committed from 2004-2007 under the same illegal partnership between Tiller and Neuhaus. An additional 30 charges that two judges agreed should proceed to trial were dismissed, but were never disproved. These 49 criminal accusations prove that Operation Rescue is not alone in believing that Tiller is violating the law.
Evidence has been is presented here from abortion patients, eye-witness accounts, newspaper stories, and statements from an expert in the field of psychology, that indicate post-viability abortions are continuing at WHCS even though the life of the mother is not at risk, and health of the mother, including her mental health, is not in jeopardy of suffering “substantial and irreversible impairment.”
This, coupled with photographic evidence that indicates that women in the latest-stages of pregnancy continue to receive abortions at WHCS, leads Operation Rescue to believe that there has been a gross disregard of the law.
This evidence is compelling must be fully investigated and prosecuted. At the very least, the abortion records from the dates of the sidewalk advisors’ reports and the dates on the photos of WHCS taken by Operation Rescue must be subpoenaed and examined. The consequences of turning a blind eye to the overwhelming evidence showing a pattern of criminal conduct at WHCS are “substantial and irreversible.” They are measured in the lost lives of viable babies that should have had the protection of law, and injured women who have required emergency hospitalization, including one maternal death, due to late-abortion complications – abortions that the law clearly prohibits.
This evidence demands a verdict.