Kansas Attorney General Paul Morrison has filed 19 misdemeanor counts against Wichita abortion doctor George Tiller.
The charges stem from a state law requiring that a doctor who provides an abortion and a referring doctor not have any financial or legal ties. Morrison is alleging that Tiller had those kinds of ties in 19 cases.
Here's the Kansas City Star report.
The Star adds this interesting paragraph.
Morrison’s decision to charge Tiller is likely to come as a shock to anti-abortion groups who expected Tiller to be cleared. They predicted that Morrison would decline to charge Tiller, saying the attorney general would shield the abortion provider. A political action committee controlled by Tiller spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in the recent election attacking Kline.
One problem with instant analysis of the news is that you don't have time to dig up facts or get perspective, but having said that I'm going to leap in here for a quick opinion: At first blush, it appears that Morrison and his staff took their job seriously to investigate Tiller. (Hence the "shock" expected from anti-abortion groups.)
If that is true, isn't it much better that the new AG took his time and did a careful job, rather than doing what the previous AG, Phill Kline, may well have done? Botching an indictment doesn't help get a conviction.
It will be interesting to hear the reaction of Kline and his camp to today's events.
One important fact to note is that both Kline's and Morrison's charges are misdemeanors.
The bottom line is that we will only know over time whether Kline or Morrison or neither of them have been right about Tiller.
[1:12 p.m. update]
Here's AP's take on the story. They quote Morrison as saying the 19 counts are "technical" violations of the law.
More from AP. This story names the doctor with alleged ties to Tiller. See the bottom of the story, which also provides more detail.
[1:02 p.m. update]
A more national perspective is available at In This Moment.
First reports from Topeka say that Attorney General Paul Morrison has rejected all 30 counts Phill Kline filed against Wichita abortion provider George Tiller in December. However, Morrison has filed 19 new counts against Tiller.
Details are coming.
Morrison's office had already announced that it was not filing 15 of the original 30 charges originally pressed by Kline. Calling Kline's work sloppy and unethical, Morrison's spokesperson yesterday told the AP that the charges the previous AG had filed were unfounded.
Here's background on the entire Tiller saga.
PHOTO: Paul Morrison