By Kathleen Gilbert
WICHITA, Kansas, March 26, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Today closing arguments were scheduled for Friday morning after accused late-term abortionist George Tiller’s dramatic testimony wrapped up Wednesday.
Tiller stands accused of 19 counts of breaking a Kansas law that requires an independent doctor to sign off on a late-term abortion, verifying that the procedure is necessary to save the life of the mother, or avoid major bodily harm. The state alleges that abortionist Ann Kristin Neuhaus, to whom Tiller normally referred patients for the required second opinion, maintained a close financial and legal relationship with Tiller that made his clinic a “one-stop shop” for late-term abortions. Neuhaus was associated with Tiller’s abortion business for eight years, between 1999 and 2007.
Witnesses with Operation Rescue say that Tiller appeared to have some difficulty processing the questions and giving extemporaneous responses when under cross examination by Assistant Attorney General Barry Disney.
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.”
Another dramatic moment came when Tiller discussed how long it took to make arrangements for Neuhaus to begin consulting for him, and appeared to state that Neuhaus became part of his organization, rather than remaining an independent doctor. “When someone new was going to join your organization, it would take time [to set up],” he said.
Tiller testified that Larry Buening, who was the Executive Director of the Kansas State Board of Healing Arts (KSBHA) prior to Tiller’s relationship with Neuhaus, told him “Why don’t you use Kris Neuhaus, and that will take care of all of your problems?”
However, Tiller told the court he still had questions about the law’s non-affiliation language, and so continued to consult with his attorneys about it for several more months. Tiller testified he filtered everything through his attorneys and ultimately relied solely on their advice. However, Judge Clark Owens told the court Monday that the state of Kansas does not consider claiming innocence because one relied upon consultations with an attorney a valid defense.
Tiller reportedly admitted that he profited financially by his relationship with Neuhaus, saying he could not have otherwise have performed an estimated 250-300 post-viability abortions in 2003, at a cost of $6,000 each.
“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.”
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.
Neuhaus testified for nearly eight hours Monday and Tuesday, and was declared a hostile witness near the end of testimony Tuesday, although that designation was not released to the jury.
Protesters maintaining a prayerful presence outside the Sedgewick County Courthouse throughout the trial will convene again at 8 AM Friday morning, one hour before court is to resume
“We are calling on all men and women of faith to fervently pray for the next 30 hours that justice will be done,” said Operation Rescue President Troy Newman.
See related LifeSiteNews.com coverage:
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