.- A well-known abortionist was charged Thursday with violating Kansas law on late-term abortion procedures.
Attorney General Paul Morrison filed 19 misdemeanor counts, alleging that Dr. George Tiller got second opinions from a doctor who was not financially and legally independent from him, as the law requires.
At a news conference Thursday, Morrison described the allegations as a "technical violation" of a 1998 law restricting late-term procedures.
The abortions in question involved cases in which patients were more than 21 weeks pregnant and the fetuses were able to survive outside the womb. Under such circumstances, Kansas law requires two independent doctors to conclude that if the pregnancy continues, the mother-to-be will face death or "substantial and irreversible" harm to "a major bodily function," which has been interpreted to include mental health.
Morrison said Tiller listed the second doctor as Ann Kristin Neuhaus. Morrison said they had a financial relationship but did not elaborate.
If convicted, Tiller could be sentenced to up to one year in jail and a $2,500 fine on each charge.
Tiller's attorneys issued a written statement declaring their client's innocence. "Today's announcement simply involves a difference of opinion between lawyers regarding unusual technicalities in Kansas abortion law procedure," the statement said.