By Kathleen Gilbert and John Jalsevac
WICHITA, Kansas, March 27, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A Kansas jury has declared late-term abortionist George Tiller not guilty on 19 counts of performing illegal late-term abortions.
Tiller was accused of breaking a non-affiliation law that required an independent doctor to sign off on late-term abortions, verifying that the abortions are needed to save the life of the mother or avoid major bodily harm. The prosecution alleged that Tiller’s close association with abortionist Ann Kristin Neuhaus, to whom Tiller regularly sent patients to receive the requisite second opinion, turned Tiller’s facility into a “one-stop shop” for abortions.
During closing arguments today, Assistant Attorney General Barry Disney made the case that, based on Tiller’s own notes and on his own words during the trial, he and abortionist Ann Kristin Neuhaus were financially affiliated, in violation of the law. Disney pointed to evidence and testimony that Tiller consulted on Neuhaus’ fee and approved the final amount. Disney reminded the jury that, on several occasions, Tiller referred to Neuhaus as working for him, and talked about her “joining” his organization.
Attorneys for Tiller, Dan Monnat and Lee Thompson, however, tried to minimize Tiller’s characterizations of the relationship as “slips of the tongue.” They accused Disney of engaging in a political prosecution.
Cheryl Sullenger, Senior Policy Advisor for Operation Rescue (OR), said that while OR was disappointed by the verdict, they were “far from surprised.”
“We must remember that these are the weakest charges that could have been brought by the state,” said Sullenger. “There were thirty criminal charges filed by former Attorney General Phill Kline, which were much stronger that were dismissed on jurisdictional grounds without having been considered on their merits.”
OR president Troy Newman issued a statement lamenting that, “Justice has been denied.”
“While disappointed in the verdict, we at Operation Rescue are not deterred in our commitment to one day bring Tiller to justice,” said Newman. “The 19 charges that Tiller faces were only a small fraction of the illegal activity that we believe and have documented that occurs at Tiller’s Wichita abortion clinic.
“On behalf of the pre-born children wrongly killed by Tiller and his associates, we vow to press on until Tiller is finally held accountable to the law and his late-term abortion mill is permanently closed.”
See related LifeSiteNews.com coverage:
Tiller Update 3: Closing Arguments Scheduled for Early Friday after Tiller Admits Alleged Illegal Associate “Worked” for Him
Tiller Trial Update 2: Tiller Takes the Stand after Alleged Partner Neuhaus Declared Hostile Witness
Tiller Trial Update: Abortionist Offers “Conflicting” Statements on Tiller Relationship