An article in today's Los Angeles Times (Mon. 9/17/07) addressed criminal charges being filed in Kansas against the infamous late-term abortionist Dr. George Tiller. According to the article, Tiller faces 19 counts of "aborting viable fetuses without first consulting an independent physician as required by state law."
As often is the case, the Times is unable to control itself in presenting a misleading and biased story. And not surprisingly, the culprit in this journalistic craftiness is Stephanie Simon, whose work we've reported on in the past here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here. This time:
1. Simon writes,
Aborting a viable fetus [within a 1998 Kansas law] is permitted only if two doctors certify that continuing the pregnancy could kill the woman or cause her "substantial and irreversible" harm to "a major bodily function."
Yet Simon does not provide a single example or anecdote in her article of Tiller performing an abortion within such guidelines. And according to legislative testimony this month (9/7/07) from Kansans for Life, "Not one of any of [Tiller's] viable baby abortions since 1998 were reported as done to save the mother’s life."
This is a very important fact missing from Simon's reporting.
(Additional note: In its testimony this month, Kansans for Life actually used a 2005 article from Simon in the Times to provide evidence of Tiller's illegalities! "A May 2005 L.A.Times article gave flat-out 'in your face' evidence of lawbreaking when it showcased real women who obtained Tiller third trimester abortions of viable babies for reasons of Down Syndrome and other 'abnormalities'." (link))
2. Simon clearly gives an impression that the majority of late-term abortions by Tiller are performed on "much-wanted" babies that have been diagnosed with some kind of "fetal defect." But here is what Dr. Tiller said to the National Abortion Federation conference in New Orleans in 1995:
"We have some experience with late terminations. About 10,000 patients between 24 and 36 weeks, and something like 800 fetal anomalies between 26 and 36 weeks in the past 5 years."
Do the math. A small percentage (in the area of 8%!) of the terminations after 24 weeks are for fetal anomalies. The rest? They're purely elective. How can we be sure? Another infamous late-term abortionist, Dr. Martin Haskell, said the following at the National Abortion Federation conference in San Francisco in 1996:
"[A] criticism has been that we are really skewing the debate to a very small percentage of women that have fetal anomalies or some other problem that really need the procedure versus the 90% [who] it's elected, at least through 20 to 24 week time period, and as you get on up towards 28 weeks, it becomes closer to 100%." (emphasis mine)
Is Simon misleading her readers? The above quotes are from before the 1998 Kansas law. But with figures like "90%" and "100%" in play, it surely appears so. (I am in possession of the actual audio of the doctors actually saying the above words. They come from the CD Fire & Ice from Life Dynamics.) (Simon merely states in her article, "Tiller also accepts some late-term patients with healthy fetuses.")
3. Simon neglects to tell the story of "Baby Sarah," a girl who actually survived an attempted abortion by Tiller. Sarah was born in 1993 and lived for five years. In 2001, Tiller claimed that no baby had been born alive under his care. Therefore, Tiller's words give every indication of being a lie. Read the amazing story of Sarah here and here.
4. Simon writes, "At AHeartbreakingChoice.com, several women explain why they traveled to Wichita to abort much-wanted pregnancies, long after they had decorated nurseries and chosen baby names."
"Several women"? Try a whopping total of five (link). Meanwhile, while Simon cites the testimonies from a web site, Simon makes no mention of the powerful testimony of "Kelly" who appeared on the 12/12/06 episode of The O'Reilly Factor. In a must-see segment, Kelly described her absolutely horrific abortion experience with Dr. Tiller. (Transcript here. / YouTube video here.)
5. Near the end of her column, Simon writes, "In 2005, antiabortion activists circulated petitions to force a grand jury investigation into the treatment of a 19-year-old mentally disabled patient who died of complications from an early-third-trimester abortion at Tiller's clinic. The grand jury found no grounds for criminal indictment."
While it is true that the grand jury did not rule for indictment, four counts of indictment reportedly fell short by only one vote. The death of Christin Gilbert is an extremely sad one. From the outset, Dr. Tiller's office acted evasively. Listen to the 911 call from Tiller's office (mp3 file). There's a lot more to this, and Operation Rescue has an excellent comprehensive series on the tragic death of Christin. See also this and JusticeForChristin.com.