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.
Media Resources: Feminist Daily Newswire 1/8/08, 2/26/09; Kansas City Star 3/15/09; Wichita Eagle 2/25/09; Associated Press 3/15/09
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. . . .