Guest blogger Rachel Walden of Women’s Health News is posting here this week, while Christine is on vacation.
Judge Anthony Powell announced today that he would recuse himself from presiding over the prosecution of Witchita, Kansas abortion provider George Tiller, one of a handful of late-term abortion providers.
Powell is visibly anti-choice, having helped to push the 1998 legislation under which Tiller is charged; this editorial from the Witchita Eagle suggests that the law was intended from its inception to target Dr. Tiller.
Tiller is charged with 19 misdemeanor counts for allegedly violating a law that requires providers to obtain an independent opinion from a second doctor prior to performing a late-term abortion. He has pleaded not guilty to those charges.
Feministing has a good summary of the case, and explains that he is accused of having had a financial relationship with the second doctor who signed off on the procedures. Tiller’s attorneys requested Powell’s removal from the case, and argue that the law is unconstitutional because it does not adequately define the limits of the relationship of the doctors and the allowable burden on the woman.
The Kaiser Network also provides more background.
For one woman’s perspective on the necessity of keep late-term procedures available, see this essay by Gretchen Voss, “My Late-Term Abortion.”