Kansas DA Fires Opening Salvo Against Planned Parenthood


Regional/ Kansas City:


© Jack Cashill

WND.com - January 18, 2008
(Ran as Planned Parenthood: From frying pan into the fire)

In a public hearing on Wednesday, January 16, Johnson County, Kansas District Attorney Phill Kline asked that two attorneys representing Planned Parenthood be disqualified from representing the organization during a likely criminal trial in the near future.

Those who rely on the mainstream media for their news would have thought this just another self-defeating publicity stunt by the anti-choice zealot Kline.

Those who were at the hearing, however, witnessed a devastating opening salvo in a legal battle that has the potential to rattle the political status quo in Kansas and to rout abortion champions nationwide.

On the face of things, it was still another setback for Kline. District Judge Stephen Tatum rejected Kline’s motion, and although TheKansas City Star predictably dumped the story on page B-2, it gave prominent play to Planned Parenthood’s claim that the proceedings were a “farce.”

“It was a complete waste of the court’s time and everyone else’s,” the Star quoted Planned Parenthood President Peter Brownlie as saying. “He [Kline] produced absolutely no evidence of anything that would disqualify our attorneys so clearly he had some other reason for it.”

Kline, of course, had a reason. Most obvious was the one he stated in court, namely that the two attorneys were involved in the transmission of abortion records, which Kline argued were manufactured.

Kline did not want Planned Parenthood to appeal a potential conviction in the criminal trial on the basis of ineffective counsel. His motion, whether approved or not, should preclude that from happening.

Kline likely had an unstated reason as well. He may have been alerting the media, at least those that pay attention, that this case does not belong on page B-2.

In October 2007 Kline had filed 107 counts, 23 of them felonies, against Planned Parenthood’s abortion clinic in suburban Kansas City. On paper the charges sound merely technical: making a false writing, failure to maintain records, failure to determine viability.

In the courtroom, however, these charges began to take on life. And as they did, they pointed to a larger conspiracy, one of genuinely shocking proportions.

Despite Planned Parenthood’s repeated public claims that its clinic does not perform any abortions past the 22nd week of pregnancy, this preliminary hearing suggested that they have done so in at least 23 different cases.

Kansas law allows for late term abortions only if the baby is judged non-viable or if there is threat to the life or health of the mother. The records Kline had subpoenaed showed that abortions had been performed after 22 weeks without any documentation of either non-viability or maternal harm.

Testifying to this at the hearing was Shawnee County District Judge Richard Anderson, who had authorized these subpoenas in 2004 when Kline was still Attorney General of Kansas.

As Anderson testified, as soon as he received the records he commissioned special counsel Stephen Cavanaugh to make sure each one of them was fully redacted to protect the privacy of the patients. This Cavanaugh testified to at the hearing.

Anderson then assigned two physicians to review the records. They quickly realized, however, that Planned Parenthood did not produce the viability records, which, by law, should have been in each file.

Anderson authorized a subpoena for these as well. Planned Parenthood seem to have complied.

When Kline reviewed the viability records, however, he immediately spotted a problem and alerted Anderson to the same. The records did not appear to be originals or copies of the original, but rather they seem to have been fully manufactured.

Troubled by what he saw, but declining to play investigator himself, Anderson quietly shared the viability records with a document expert from the Topeka Police Department. She concurred with Kline that these records appeared to have been counterfeited.

Unstated at the hearing Wednesday was the political scramble going on behind the scenes while Kline was pushing his record requests slowly uphill against the legal resistance of the abortion industry and their friends in the Kansas judiciary.

With the blessing of Democratic governor, Kathleen Sebelius, then Johnson County District Attorney, Paul Morrison, switched parties to run as a Democrat for Kansas Attorney General against Republican Kline.

The Kansas City Star, and the Johnson County Sun, and all the local TV stations that take their cue from the Star, championed Morrison in his campaign against Kline.

Kline was a fanatic, a “theocrat,” who was trawling wantonly through the private medical records of innocent young women in the hope of becoming a national figure in the pro-life movement.

Through various PACs and cut-outs, the Kansas abortion industry invested more than a million dollars to reinforce the “Snoop Dog Kline” message. Kline’s name was thoroughly blackened among the unknowing, and Morrison prevailed in the November 2006 election.

Unfortunately for the abortion industry, however, the Republican precinct captains of Johnson County ignored the advice of the media and chose Kline to take over Morrison’s vacated seat as District Attorney of Johnson County, home of the Planned Parenthood clinic. And in that role, Kline hung on the subpoenaed records.

Not long after taking office as Attorney General, Morrison reviewed the allegations, promptly found them insufficient, and issued a mandamus ordering that Kline hand the records back to Planned Parenthood.

When Morrison issued the mandamus, however, the viability records were still in the hands of Judge Anderson. The most dramatic testimony at the hearing came after the Planned Parenthood attorneys, having badgered Kline throughout, unwittingly allowed Anderson to tell his story in some detail.

As Anderson testified, one of the Planned Parenthood attorneys, Pedro Irigonegaray, went directly to Anderson’s office seeking the records in question. (For those looking for patterns, Irigonegaray represented “mainstream science” during the Kansas Darwin hearings in May 2005).

Anderson was not about to give them up. “These records do not match,” he told Irigonegaray. Irigonegaray continued to insist on the records, calling Anderson “unpredictable.”

Anderson confessed to having been stunned by Irigonegaray’s demeanor. He had known the Planned Parenthood attorney for twenty-five years. “Look at these records,” he repeated. “There is a problem here.”

That problem came to public attention in October 2007 when District Attorney Kline filed his charges against Planned Parenthood.

The abortion industry and it shills quickly went on the offensive against Kline. Ashley Anstaett, Morrison’s spokeswoman, told The Associated Press that Attorney General Morrison had already reviewed Kline’s accusations and found no wrongdoing.

“We are skeptical that these charges have any merit, and we continue to wonder how much politics influenced Mr. Kline’s decision to file these charges,” Anstaett said.

The real question was how much politics had influenced Paul Morrison. In December 2007, the abortion industry’s white knight suffered a terminal black eye when he found himself caught in an ugly sexual harassment scandal involving a woman still employed in the Johnson County DA’s office.

Worse, the woman publicly claimed that Morrison had asked her to help subvert Kline’s investigation into Planned Parenthood. Morrison was forced to resign.

Although it is too early to draw absolute conclusions from the preliminary evidence presented at Wednesday’s hearing, the dispassionate observer comes away thinking that Planned Parenthood is in deep trouble, and Morrison may be in even deeper trouble still.

It seems likely that the Planned Parenthood clinic in Kansas routinely and illegally aborted fully viable babies, fabricated records to cover its tracks, and perhaps even conspired with Morrison to first unseat Phill Kline and then undermine his investigation.

This is news that even the Kansas City Star won’t be able to bury.

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