Jury selection in the criminal trial of Dr George Tiller of Wichita, Kansas, begins today. Dr. Tiller faces 19 misdemeanor charges for allegedly violating a state law requiring an “independent” second physician’s concurring opinion before performing later term abortions. Tiller is one of the few late-term abortion providers in the US that serves women with troubled pregnancies and complicated health problems. Acccording to the Kansas City Star, testimony in the case is expected to begin next week.
Dan Monnat, a defense attorney for Tiller, told the Associated Press that “Dr. Tiller is innocent…we expect the prosecution’s evidence and any defense evidence to make that very, very clear.”
A motion by Dr. Tiller’s lawyers to dismiss the criminal case against him was denied last month by Sedgwick County District Judge Clark Owens. Tiller’s motion to dismiss cited the “outrageous conduct” and “selective targeting” of the preliminary investigation into his practice by former Kansas Attorney General Phill Kline and Eric Rucker, a state attorney. In his decision, Judge Owens wrote that Kline’s “procedures have certainly been questioned by the Kansas Supreme Court, but his conduct in the investigation does not merit the sanction of the dismissal of the charges or suppression of evidence,” according to the Wichita Eagle.