Wichita, KS — As late-term abortionist George R. Tiller faces a possible 19 years in jail on charges he committed illegal post-viability abortions, his infamous abortion clinic, Women’s Health Care Services will remain closed for at least another week, Operation Rescue has confirmed.
Tiller surprised pro-lifers when no abortions took place on July 31, 2007, as scheduled. His clinic has been closed to patients since. WHCS was also closed the first week in July, but according to his web site, that closure was a scheduled one.
Abortion patients continue to be turned away with clinic personnel telling callers that WHCS will be closed next week and are unsure when the abortion clinic will reopen.
“I’ve heard about four completely different reasons from Tiller associates as to why the clinic is closed, and I suspect none of them are true,” said Operation Rescue spokesperson Cheryl Sullenger. “We’ve rarely seen an abortion mill close that has told the truth about it. We are just extremely grateful for the respite in the taking of innocent human life. Three straight weeks — four since the beginning of July — with no abortions is unprecedented.”
Women’s Health Care Services began as the family practice office of Tiller’s father, Jack, who died in a plane crash in 1970. Upon Jack’s death, Tiller returned to Wichita and assumed his father’s practice. Tiller claims he learned that his dad had provided illegal abortions for women, and became persuaded by former patients to do the same.
In 1975, Tiller opened Women’s Health Care Services as an outpatient abortion clinic. In 1980, he began to specialize in late-term abortions, later developing his own version of the partial-birth abortion technique, wherein the baby is killed via lethal injection to the heart prior to the onset of labor.
In 1991, Tiller’s clinic was the focus of Operation Rescue’s Summer of Mercy, where over 2,000 peaceful protesters were arrested for sit-ins that closed the clinic for 11 straight days.
In 1994, Tiller purchased adjoining property and vastly expanded his clinic. Today, he employs three out-of-state abortionists who rotate duty shifts on a weekly basis. He also employs about a dozen other abortion workers — none of whom are licensed health care workers.
In January, 2005, 19-year old patient Christin Gilbert died from a botched third-trimester abortion, resulting in a grand jury investigation that failed to indict Tiller on four criminal counts by only one vote.
Currently Tiller faces 19 counts of illegal late-term abortions that carry a penalty of 1 year in jail and a $2,500 fine for each count.
Abortions were last done at Tiller’s clinic on July 27, 2007.
“This is the longest period of time that Wichita has been abortion free in 34 years,” said Sullenger. “We’re thanking God, but taking it one day at a time. We certainly will not stop praying and working until Tiller’s abortion business is permanently closed.”