Apr 6, 2009
On March 27, a jury in Wichita, Kansas acquitted Dr. George Tiller of 19 counts of violating the Kansas statute on late-term abortions. Tiller had faced the possibility of a year in jail and a $2,500 fine on each of the 19 counts against him.
Kansas law requires a second opinion from another Kansas doctor for all late-term abortions. Prosecutors claimed that the doctor who signed off for Dr. Tiller was not “independent” of him. Obviously the jury did not believe the state.
However, their verdict did not prevent the state from trying to get Dr. Tiller by another means. Just moments after he was acquitted, the Kansas State Board of Healing Arts publicly issued a complaint against him on similar allegations that could lead to his medical license being suspended or revoked.
Tiller is in the cross hairs of right-wing fanatics because they have already succeeded in shutting down most other doctors who perform late-term abortions. He is one of only three doctors in the entire United States – just three! – who currently perform the procedure. Hundreds, even thousands of others have been scared off by the outright terrorism that has been directed against doctors by anti-abortion fanatics.
Dr. Tiller, for example, had his clinic bombed in 1985, faced massive protests and threats at his clinic in 1991 and was shot in both arms by an abortion opponent in 1993.
For decades, government officials have reinforced this terrorism by prosecuting doctors and putting legal hurdles in their way. The right for women to control their own bodies is nothing but words so long as religious zealots and politicians can, with impunity, impose their reactionary views on every woman in this country.