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Anti-Abortion Lawmakers Try to Reopen Tiller Case

Kansas anti-abortion lawmakers introduced a resolution on Monday designed to compel recently elected Kansas Attorney General Paul Morrison (D) to file charges against George Tiller, the late-term abortion provider who was repeatedly targeted by former KS Attorney General Phill Kline (R). Before leaving office in January, Kline filed 30 misdemeanor charges against Dr. Tiller, alleging that he had performed illegal late-term abortions and had failed to correctly report them to the state. After Sedgwick County District Attorney Nola Foulston cleared Dr. Tiller of the charges and the Kansas Supreme Court granted Attorney General Morrison’s request to formally drop the charges, it appeared as though the case against Dr. Tiller — who is one of the country’s few providers of late-term abortions — was closed.

The resolution introduced earlier this week, based on a seldom-used 1879 law giving one chamber of the Kansas Legislature the authority to demand that the attorney general pursue a case, would require Attorney General Morrison to re-file and pursue Kline’s charges. While the House Federal and State Affairs Committee voted 12-8 to approve the resolution, House Speaker Melvin Neufeld (R) told the Kansas City Star that the resolution will probably not be brought to the full House for a vote soon, if ever, saying, “We’re going to let [Attorney General Morrison] do his job.”

Morrison responded, saying that he would file new charges if he had evidence that a crime was actually committed, the Wichita Eagle reports. According to Morrison, he — not the legislators — has the information needed to make a sound judgment in the case: “They don’t know the facts, and they don’t know the evidence,” Morrison said of the Legislature. “I deal with evidence and proof. I don’t deal with emotions,” the Kansas City Star reports.

An ethics complaint has also been filed against the judge who dismissed the 30 misdemeanor charges against Dr. Tiller. A state senator filed the charges, along with national anti-abortion groups, including Operation Rescue.

Sources:

AP 3/29/07, 3/23/07; Kaiser Daily Women's Health Policy Report 3/28/07, 3/26/07; Kansas City Star 3/29/07, 3/28/07; Wichita Eagle 3/28/07; World Net Daily 3/30/07