Here and back at Birth Pangs, we've blogged about the ongoing persecution of Dr George Tiller in Kansas.
Today the LA Times has an excellent summary of this looong and convoluted tale -- complete with sexual harassment allegations, extramarital affairs, ethics investigations, patient privacy disputes -- titled Kansas eager for abortion provider's case to move forward. It seems everyone just wants it over.
For activists on both sides of the debate over legalized abortion, the criminal trial of Dr. George Tiller, which begins Monday in a Wichita courtroom, is an oddly unfulfilling culmination of a struggle that has wrenched Kansas for years.
Tiller, 67, is one of a handful of doctors in the country who terminate late-term pregnancies and has virtually become public enemy No. 1 to those who oppose abortion. For years, prosecutors and activists have tried to bring him down, and for years, Tiller has survived legal and physical challenges.
In 1986, his clinic was bombed. In 1991, it was blockaded for six weeks. In 1993, he was shot in both arms by an abortion opponent. He has been investigated twice by grand juries that have found no cause to charge him with crimes.
Relentlessly pursued by then-Kansas Atty. Gen. Phill Kline, a Republican, Tiller was charged in 2006 with illegally performing late-term abortions. The charges were dropped because of a technicality about jurisdiction.
But Kline was a lame duck by the time he filed the charges against Tiller. A month earlier, Kansas voters, tired of what they perceived as Kline's intrusiveness -- which included a successful years-long fight to obtain some of Tiller's patient records -- turned him out of office in favor of Democrat Paul Morrison, who supports abortion rights. The campaign against Kline included direct mail attacks characterizing him as "the Snoop Dog."
The following year, to the delight of abortion foes, Morrison charged Tiller with 19 misdemeanor counts of violating a technical aspect of the 1998 Kansas law that regulates late-term abortions.
The fetus fetishists were so revved that Troy Newman, president of Operation Rescue, moved from his native California to Kansas six years ago with 'the goal of putting Tiller out of business'.
And it has infected other aspects of Kansas life. Kathleen Sebelius, pro-choice governor through much of this farce and now Obama's nominee for secretary of Health and Human Services, is expected to get a rough ride in her confirmation process because of shrieeeking from the zygote zealots.
As we know so well, it will never be over for the fetus fetishists. But this chapter may soon be.