News Columns & Blogs

Tiller's wife fights subpoena for abortion records

A lawyer for Jeanne Tiller, wife of a slain Wichita abortion doctor, filed a motion this afternoon to quash a subpoena for her late husband’s business records, sought by his accused killer, Scott Roeder.

Attorney Lee Thompson said in his motion that Roeder’s defense had requested “professional calendars, appointment books, records of scheduled procedures” from Tiller’s Women’s Health Services Clinic.

Roeder is charged with first-degree premeditated murder in Tiller’s shooting, May 31, inside the doctor’s church.

“The records sought contain personal, confidential and identifying information of women who sought constitutionally protected abortion services,” Thompson wrote in his brief.

Thompson also says the information is irrelevant to Roeder’s murder case.

Thompson said Jeanne Tiller received the subpoena last Thursday and served Roeder’s public defenders with objections over the weekend. Except for a personal datebook, Jeanne Tiller does not have records from the clinic, Thompson said. Those records are being held in a trust by his law firm, Thompson said.

Roeder’s defense said they will continue to pursue the records.

“What we’re going to do now is turn our efforts to getting the records from the medical trust,” said public defender Mark Rudy.

The defense has been seeking the records for months.

The defense previously had asked for similar information from the prosecution. But prosecutors said they didn’t have it, and the defense withdrew its request.

Rudy said the defense doesn’t plan to reveal any identities of women seeking abortions at Tiller’s clinic but aims to prove how many women could not receive abortions after Tiller’s shooting. Roeder has claimed he killed Tiller to protect the unborn.

The filing was the latest on the day Roeder’s trial was supposed to start. Earlier in the day, prosecutors made another effort to limit Roeder’s defense, delaying the start of jury selection for two days