- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Dr. George R. Tiller was recently acquitted of 19 charges of violating Kansas

abortion law.

I wonder if this was a Pyrrhic victory - or just another speed bump in life - for a man who is arguably the nation's most famous abortionist.

Dr. Tiller is known for performing late-term abortions, i.e., those older than 21 weeks gestation. Kansas law allows him to do so if (a) he finds that continuing the pregnancy would mean serious, lasting harm to a woman, and (b) a second, independent physician agrees with him.

Dr. Tiller was in court on charges he used a purported employee, Dr. Ann Kristin Neuhaus, to rubber-stamp his abortion decisions. The six-person jury took 45 minutes to find him not guilty on all 19 counts.

It was an emotional moment - Dr. Tiller's wife fought back tears and his attorneys praised the jurors for standing up for justice. One lawyer called Dr. Tiller “the bravest man I ever met.”

Why might this be a Pyrrhic victory, i.e., one that is really ruinous to the victor? Because the mountain of bad press just keeps growing, Dr. Tiller is in his senior-citizen years, and there might be a pro-life Republican in the governor's mansion in a few months. All of these are game-changing events.

Dr. Tiller is a true-believer in abortion, performing his first ones not long after the 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling. Pro-life protesters have been on his case since the 1980s, and Dr. Tiller has endured investigations, a firebombing and an attempted murder in 1993. He is every bit a hero to the pro-choice community as he is a monster to pro-lifers.

But, at age 67, are the headlines and the hassle still worth it? Perhaps Dr. Tiller is ready to carry on, but what about Mrs. Tiller? What's her stress level like these days?

Moreover, Dr. Tiller faces fresh accusations from the Kansas State Board of Healing Arts (KSBHA), which has the power to suspend or revoke his license. The day he was acquitted, the KSBHA released a disciplinary complaint with 11 counts against Dr. Tiller.

”Violations alleged include performing an abortion on a fetus that was viable without having a documented referral from another physician not legally or financially affiliated with him; unprofessional or dishonorable conduct or professional incompetency; and commitment of acts likely to deceive, defraud or harm the public,” the KSBHA document said.

Dr. Tiller and Dr. Neuhaus have “a symbiotic relationship,” the board added. “Dr. Neuhaus' referral was not independent.”

The 11 abortions in question involve a 10-year-old who was about 28 weeks pregnant, a 13-year-old who was about 25 weeks pregnant, a 16-year-old who was about 29 weeks pregnant, and eight other teens ranging in age from 14 to 18 who were between 25 and 28 weeks pregnant.

No one knows how expediently this KSBHA complaint will be handled or what its determination will be.

No one knows whether pro-life Sen. Sam Brownback, Kansas Republican, will win his party's nomination for governor and replace pro-choice Gov. Kathleen Sebelius in 2010.

No one knows whether Dr. Tiller's recent acquittal is just the latest in a long line of pro-choice successes, or if it is a King Pyrrhus moment, in which victory comes at such a high cost that another one like it will utterly undo him.

c Cheryl Wetzstein can be reached at [email protected] washingtontimes.com.


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