A Kansas grand jury investigation on Dr George Tiller, one of the few late-term abortion providers for women with troubled pregnancies and complicated health problems, is set to begin January 8, 2008. The investigation is the result of a citizen petition circulated by anti-abortion extremist groups. Kansas is one of six states that allows citizens to petition for a grand jury to convene.
The grand jury was originally set to convene in October, but the Kansas Supreme Court put the investigation on hold after Dr. Tiller’s attorneys filed a petition arguing against the legality of the proceedings. The petition stated that the grounds for the grand jury petition were derived from the illegal distribution of women’s health care records, that the empanelment of the grand jury is a bad-faith harassment of Tiller by anti-abortion extremists, and that the proceedings would interfere with a women’s constitutional right to an abortion.
The Kansas Supreme Court decided to dismiss the Tiller petition last week. The grand jury that will convene in January will be the second grand jury created by anti-abortion extremists through petition drives in 18 months, according to the Associated Press. Last year, a grand jury reviewed the death of one of Dr. Tiller’s patients, but found no evidence of any wrongdoing.