Jury declines to indict abortion doctor

WASHINGTON (BP)--A Kansas grand jury has decided not to file charges against the country's best-known, late-term abortion doctor after a six-month investigation.

A citizen-initiated grand jury in Sedgwick County adjourned July 2 without indicting George Tiller for performing illegal, late abortions, according to The Wichita Eagle. Tiller's clinic, Women's Health Care Services in Wichita, advertises on its website it has "more experience in late abortion services over 24 weeks than anyone else currently practicing in the Western Hemisphere, Europe and Australia."

The grand jury said in a written statement it found "questionable late-term abortions" performed by Tiller but it did not receive enough evidence to indict him.

The grand jury also said state law was confusing, The Eagle reported. Kansas law bars abortions after 22 weeks' gestation on babies considered viable unless two independent doctors decide continuing the pregnancy would cause "substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function," according to the newspaper.

"As the current law is written and interpreted by the Kansas Supreme Court, late-term abortions will continue for many circumstances that would seem, as a matter of common interpretation, not to meet the definition of 'substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function,'" the grand jury's statement said, according to The Eagle.

Mary Kay Culp, Kansans for Life's executive director, criticized District Attorney Nola Foulston for inadequate guidance to the grand jury. "The law doesn't need to be changed. The enforcers of the law need to be changed," she said, according to the newspaper.

Kansas permits citizens to call grand juries by means of a petition drive. Pro-life advocates led the campaign that resulted in a grand jury to investigate Tiller.

In a different case, Tiller still faces a charge of failing to obtain an independent doctor's opinion before performing a late-term abortion, The Eagle reported.


Compiled by Tom Strode, Washington bureau chief for Baptist Press.

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