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Late-Term Abortion Doc Acquitted of 19 Charges

Posted Mar 30, 2009 11:28 AM CDT
By Molly McDonough

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A Kansas doctor known for being one of a very few in the U.S. willing to perform late-term abortions has been acquitted of charges that did so against state law.

Jurors deliberated less than an hour Friday before reaching not guilty verdicts on all 19 counts against Wichita Dr. George Tiller, the Los Angeles Times and Reuters reports.

Tiller, 67, has long been a target of antiabortion politicians and activists, but the Times notes that this was his first jury trial.

"Dr. Tiller and his family are just happy it's over, with an eminently just result. This whole trial was political," lead defense attorney Dan Monnat told spectators and the press after the verdict. Monnat praised jurors, calling them "six brave souls" who refused to be swayed by the politics of the abortion debate in Kansas.

The criminal charges were misdemeanors alleging Tiller didn't get required second opinions in 19 case. Most were based on cases involving teenagers and many involved fetuses found to be medically compromised, the Times reports.

This isn't Tiller's last battle. On the day of his acquittal, the state Board of Healing Arts announced it was filing an 11-count administrative case against him, which could result in the suspension or revocation of his license.

Also see:

Associated Press: "Kansas abortion debate shifts focus to medical board"

ABAJournal.com: "Activists Spurring Grand Jury Probes More Successful Fighting Porn than Abortion"

ABAJournal.com: "Citizen-Launched Kan. Grand Juries Pursue Abortion & Porn Cases"

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