At Tiller's clinic, abortions after 21 weeks gestation require three to four days to complete. Women from across the country come to WHCS because these late abortions are not widely available in other states.Kansas state law requires that two independent doctors determine there would be "substantial and irreversible" harm to the mother without the procedure before late-term abortions can proceed.
Kansas law states that abortions past 22 weeks gestation must be to save the live of the mother or prevent "substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function." The term "bodily function" has been assumed to include mental health risks. All of Tiller's post-viability abortions have been done under "mental heath" excuses.
Tiller, who runs a politically influential PAC in Kansas, faces criminal charges filed by former Attorney General Paul Morrison alleging he failed to follow state law regarding late-term abortions, and a trial on those counts has been delayed several times. (Morrison is an abortion supporter and past beneficiary of Tiller's PAC. The charges he filed were made after intense public outrage, and were the least enforceable and punishable of the many charges he could have filed, misdemeanors. But at least he did something. This case is an outrageous example of bias in prosecution.)
When Morrison filed the lesser counts, he said, "The Kansas late-term abortion statute, K.S.A. 65-6703, states that the doctor performing the abortion must have '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.'"
"Due to the serious nature of late-term abortion, the Legislature chose to require that two independent doctors make the determination of 'substantial and irreversible' harm before an abortion can be performed," Morrison said.
Tiller is scheduled to be arraigned on the 19 Morrison charges on August 7, in Sedgwick County. Tiller's attorneys had filed a motion to dismiss the charges based on their opinion that the part of the law Tiller was charged under is unconstitutional..
Judge Owens denies Tiller's motion to dismiss criminal charges. Upholds constitutionality of Kansas post-viability abortion ban
July 28th, 2008
Wichita, KS - District Court Judge Clark V. Owens released a 35-page opinion today on the constitutional challenge to the Kansas post-viability abortion ban, saying that "K.S.A. 65-6703 survives all of the constitutional challenges" presented by Tiller. His motion to dismiss the 19 criminal charges against him was denied.
This ruling will send Tiller to trial to face allegations that he illegally aborted 19 viable babies without first having obtained the second concurring opinion from an unaffiliated Kansas physician. If convicted, Tiller faces the possibility of 19 years in jail.
"We have just one thing to say to Tiller today and that is, 'See you in court!'" said Operation Rescue President Troy Newman. "Today's ruling by Judge Owens vindicates our efforts to bring Tiller to justice. All along, we knew that it wasn't the law that was faulty, but it was Tiller's interpretation of the law that was faulty. This gives us a glimmer of hope that we could eventually see some shred of justice."