Over the past two weeks in his last remaining days in office, ousted Kansas Attorney General Phill Kline (R) has continued to pursue his case against George Tiller, one of the only providers of late-term abortions in the US. Kline, an outspoken opponent of abortion rights, received in October redacted records of abortions performed at Dr. Tiller’s Wichita clinic. He originally asked that the records be subpoenaed in 2003 to investigate child rapes, but later said that he was also looking into whether clinics had violated late-term abortion statutes.
On Thursday, December 21, 2006, Kline charged Dr. Tiller with 15 counts of “unlawful late term abortion” and 15 counts of “failure to report justification of late term abortion,” in Sedgwick County District Court, the Wichita Eagle reports. The next day, however, the charges were dismissed by Judge Paul W. Clark after Sedgwick County District Attorney Nola Foulston objected to the charges, arguing that Kline did not have the authority to “unilaterally” pursue criminal charges in a county without a request from a county prosecutor, the Associated Press reports. Two days later, after Judge Clark refused to reinstate the charges, Kline appointed Donald McKinney, a Wichita lawyer and anti-abortion activist, to continue the investigations as an independent prosecutor, according to the Wichita Eagle. McKinney then filed a motion to vacate Judge Clark’s dismissal of the charges, claiming that Clark has misapplied state law, the Wichita Eagle reports.
On Thursday, December 28, Kansas Attorney General-Elect Paul Morrison (D) announced that, after Kline leaves office and Morrison assumes his new post on January 8, McKinney would not be retained as a special prosecutor on the Tiller case, the Wichita Eagle reports.
Dr. George Tiller has been targeted repeatedly for his work as one of the only providers of late-term abortion to women with severely troubled pregnancies. Operation Rescue, an anti-abortion group, has announced that it will target Dr. Tiller’s clinic during a four-day long protest over the anniversary weekend of Roe v. Wade.
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