Tiller Abortion Racket
Withers in the Light


Regional/ Kansas City:


By Jack Cashill

September 13, 2007

After 22 year-old Michelle Armesto finished testifying last Friday, Wichita abortion doctor George Tiller had to wonder how much more money he would have to pump into Kansas politics to keep his late term empire afloat.

Armesto testified on the third and last day of special legislative hearings in Topeka on the enforcement of Kansas late-term abortion laws.

With the help of the many politicians he has backed-- including Democratic governor, Kathleen Sebelius--Tiller has turned this reddest of red states into the world’s bloodiest. His clinic performed 380 late term abortions last year alone.

That same year, 2006, Tiller money was instrumental in the undoing of then Kansas Attorney General Phill Kline. Tiller pumped hundreds of thousands into the campaign against Kline to derail his dogged investigation of Tiller’s clinic.

For all that, Tiller would not have prevailed without the full throated support of the local media. In fact, for its repeated slander of the “anti-choice extremist” Kline, the Star won Planned Parenthood’s top media honor last year, the “Maggie Award,” named for its eugenicist founder, Margaret Sanger.

Despite Kline’s defeat, some of the more stalwart Kansas legislators have refused to back down. They organized the hearings in question when the man who beat Kline, pro-choice Republican turned Democrat Paul Morrison, appeared to be dragging his feet on the investigation that Kline had forced open.

Curiously, the Armesto file was not among those Kline had subpoenaed. Kline had been investigating only those abortions performed on healthy, viable babies. Unbeknown to Armesto, Tiller had recorded her unborn child as being non-viable.

This fact Armesto learned only after she had volunteered to testify. She fully believes her unborn baby to have been healthy at the time of the abortion.

Otherwise, the Armesto story is as heartbreaking as it is typical in this unholy industry. As she testified, her parents pressured her to abort what would have been her first child.

Armesto was 18 at the time and in the 24 th week of her pregnancy. She told her mother, “It’s murder and I will not do it.”

Armesto’s fiance and his parents desperately wanted the baby as well. He was making decent money, and the parents offered a basement apartment and child care while she attended school.

Their support only aggravated Armesto’s parents. “I was told that I would be kicked out of my family and to not come back,” she told the legislators.

Tiller’s clinic eased Armesto’s conscience by citing a Catholic groupn that “believed in abortion” and promised baptism for the aborted baby. In reality, the Catholic Church considers abortion “murder” and “always morally evil.”

Ordinary Kansans are no friends of abortion either. Under Kansas law a late term abortion can be performed on a viable baby only if the woman would otherwise die or suffer “substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function.”

As Armesto would soon learn, Tiller honored Kansas law about as faithfully as he did Catholic doctrine. Not one woman in her group of five, herself included, risked physical or mental health impairment of any sort.

The women talked among themselves during their stay in Wichita. “All were there,” Armesto testified, “because they thought [late term abortion] would solve their problems.” These problems ranged from unreliable boyfriends to socially ambitious parents.

After the group watched a video on “Dr. Tiller’s legacy,” a nurse took Armesto to a private room and prepared her for an ultrasound. When Armesto tried to look at the screen, the nurse abruptly moved the screen away.

Armesto was then taken to another room. There a female doctor inserted a large needle twice to make sure she injected the unborn child, “and that,” said Armesto, “is when the baby was killed.”

Only after this procedure did Armesto fill out the paperwork and meet with a counselor. She also met with a self-identified Unitarian minister who consoled her, “You have to take care of the ones who are here not the ones who aren't born.”

After the initial injections Armesto underwent a variety of preparations to ease the delivery of the dead baby. A late term abortion of this kind is a three-day ordeal with nights spent at a local hotel.

On her second day, Armesto met casually with Tiller for the first time but only for a few minutes. He talked to her about his own teenage children and how presumably, “if in the same situation, would do the same thing.”

That evening, Armesto’s fiancé got word of what was happening and finessed his way past her mother and into the hotel room where she was staying.

“He begged me not to go through with the abortion,” Armesto lamented, “and I told him it was too late.” The fiancé was sincere in his affection. Despite the abortion, he later married Armesto, and today the couple has two children.

By the third day Armesto’s labor had proceeded to the point where she was ready to deliver. What follows is not for the faint of heart.

“I remember yelling at the nurse and calling her names and telling her I did not want to be on the toilet,” Armesto recounted. “I finally birthed the baby and I distinctly remember seeing the baby on the floor to the left of the toilet.”

Said Armesto, “That image haunts me daily.” There was no follow-up care of any kind for Armesto. Nor did Tiller’s clinic call to see that there was.

This would not surprise Dr. Paul McHugh. Before leaving office, Kline had contracted with the impeccably credentialed Johns Hopkins psychiatrist to review the subpoenaed Tiller files, all of which cited mental health exemptions.

After new AG Morrison ignored McHugh for six months, pro-life forces brought McHugh to Kansas City to share his findings.

When asked whether he had seen any one file that justified a late term abortion under Kansas law, McHugh unequivocally responded, “I saw no file that justified abortion on that basis.”

Nor did McHugh see any sign of medical follow-up with these women who had allegedly just been rescued from irreversible psychiatric damage.

The Armesto testimony adds heart and soul to McHugh’s findings. From existing evidence, it seems likely that nearly all of Tiller’s late term abortions have been performed as a matter of coercion or convenience in full indifference to Kansas law.

Although The Kansas City Star is beginning to distance itself from the heretofore white-hatted Tiller, it still reserves words like “grisly” and “horrific” for editorials on Michael Vick.

For a Maggie winner, alas, this is not likely to change.

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