Kansas Attorney General Paul Morrison (D) filed 19 charges yesterday against one of the few providers of later term abortions in the US. Citing a 1998 state law that requires physicians to secure a second opinion that a continued pregnancy will cause death or harm to a "major bodily function" before performing an abortion after the 21st week, Morrison accused Dr. George Tiller of having inappropriate financial and legal ties to the physician who signed off on 19 later term abortions. Despite being misdemeanors, each charge carries a maximum sentence of one year in jail and a $2,500 fine.
Attorney General Morrison's charges are completely separate from the 30 charges filed by ousted anti-abortion Attorney General Phill Kline (R), which have since been dropped. Kline repeatedly targeted Dr. Tiller for years, requesting records of abortions performed at his Wichita clinic. Kline first alleged that he was investigating child rapes, but later admitted that he was really interested in whether Tiller's clinic had violated late-term abortion statutes. In the 2006 election, Kline was resoundingly defeated by Morrison, a supporter of reproductive rights.
The charges do not imply that the 19 abortions in question were unjustified under Kansas state law. "Today's announcement simply involves a difference of opinion between lawyers regarding unusual technicalities in Kansas abortion law procedure," Dr. Tiller's lawyers, Lee Thompson and Dan Monnat, said in a statement, according to the Wichita Eagle. "We will vigorously defend this misdemeanor case based on the evidence and a proper interpretation of the law."
Dr. Tiller is scheduled to appear in court on August 7.
Media Resources: Wichita Eagle 6/29/07; AP 6/29/07, 6/28/07; Kansas City Star 6/28/07
8/28/2015 Alaska Court Protects Abortion Access for Low-Income Women - The Alaska Superior Court struck down a state law yesterday that would have severely limited abortion access for low-income women in Alaska.
The state's Superior Court also struck down a Department of Health and Social Services regulation that placed narrow specifications on Medicaid coverage for abortions, requiring that Medicaid-funded abortions be determined by a physician to be "medically necessary." Last year, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Planned Parenthood sued on behalf of the Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, claiming that the narrow definition of "medically necessary" arbitrarily established conditions designed to restrict the ability of low-income women to access abortion services.
The law was temporarily blocked last July by an Alaskan state court judge.
Superior Court Judge John Suddock ordered yesterday that the state be blocked from implementing this regulation, ruling that it placed an undue burden on low-income women seeking abortion services in Alaska.
"By providing health care to all poor Alaskans except women who need abortions, the challenged regulation violates the state constitutional guarantee of 'equal rights, opportunities, and protection under the law'," the ruling read.
"We applaud the superior court for striing down these cruel restrictions on women's health and rights that violate the Alaska Constitution," said Chris Charbonneau, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands. . . .
8/26/2015 Saudi Women Prepare to Vote for the First Time - The fight for gender equality is making slow but notable progress in Saudi Arabia, where women will be allowed to vote for the first time in upcoming December elections.
This shift in Saudi law came in 2011, when a royal decree announced that women would be allowed to vote and run in local elections beginning in December of 2015. . . .