Vengeance on the prairie

"Vengeance on the prairie" Continued...

Issue: "After Osama," May 21, 2011

The abortionists got the records to Anderson only two weeks before the 2006 elections. Kline lost his reelection attempt to Republican-turned-Democrat Paul Morrison, the district attorney for Johnson County (in suburban Kansas City). Tiller and others supporting Gov. Sebelius spent hundreds of thousands of dollars promoting Morrison and funding anti-Kline advertising. The Kansas City Star kept slamming Kline and earned a 2006 "Maggie" award from the national Planned Parenthood office for its abortion coverage.

The end result: The Kansas high court had delayed prosecution of Planned Parenthood until Kline left office and was replaced by a pro-abortion Democrat. But then, in a remarkable twist, Johnson County Republicans appointed Kline to take over as DA. (Morrison had been elected DA as a Republican, so the GOP could choose someone to finish his term.) Kline and Morrison swapped offices in January 2007. Kline said about becoming DA, "It was not a job I wanted, but I was convicted that I had to see this done."

Kline also hoped to convict Tiller: Just before leaving the AG's office, he filed misdemeanor charges against Tiller for performing late-term abortions without proper medical justification and failing to report the procedures properly to the state. Tiller had stated on the clients' medical records that not aborting would produce "severe and irreversible bodily harm" to the mother-but not what that harm would be. It turned out that one young mother wanted an abortion so she wouldn't have to hire a babysitter to attend a rock concert.

Kline's case was strong. A distinguished Johns Hopkins University psychiatrist, Dr. Paul McHugh, said in an affidavit that none of the records he examined would have justified a late-term abortion under Kansas law. But the day after Kline filed the charges, a county judge dismissed all counts on a jurisdictional technicality. Kline left office, and the case died.

Before leaving office Kline had also arranged for copies of the patient records he'd collected to be transported to the Johnson County DA's offices. There he continued his investigation despite legal attempts by Morrison and the abortionists to get him to give up the copies of the client records.

As district attorney, Kline began building a new case against Planned Parenthood, which is supposed to submit to the state a report for each abortion it performs and keep a copy of that report in each client's file. The files it turned over to Judge Anderson in 2006 were missing those copies, a misdemeanor, so when Anderson asked for the copies Planned Parenthood provided documents. But in 2007, Kline and his staff noticed that the handwriting on the documents Planned Parenthood gave Judge Anderson didn't match the handwriting on the reports Planned Parenthood filed with the state. It looked like someone had manufactured the reports.

Judge Anderson thought so, too, and consulted a Topeka police handwriting expert to confirm it. At a later hearing Anderson would testify that the organization appeared to have "committed felonies to cover up misdemeanors." In October 2007, Kline filed 107 charges-23 of them for felonies-against Planned Parenthood: It had allegedly produced "false writings," failed to maintain proper records, and failed to determine the viability of a late-term baby before performing an abortion.

Supporters of Planned Parenthood struck back. A week later the Kansas Supreme Court ordered Kline to appear before District Judge David King for a closed "evidentiary hearing"-what critics say amounted to a Star Chamber secret trial. Kline and his staff were put under oath to answer accusations that they mishandled evidence, among other things. Attorney General Morrison intervened on behalf of Planned Parenthood.

Judge King, in his January 2008 report, found no credible evidence that Kline or his staff had mishandled evidence, even though when transferring records to the Johnson County DA's office one investigator (without Kline's knowledge) stored some records temporarily in his living room. King sternly rejected speculation from Morrison's deputy solicitor general that Kline had given some of the records to Bill O'Reilly prior to an appearance on The O'Reilly Factor.

Kline doggedly pursued his case. In April 2008, he subpoenaed Judge Anderson to testify at a hearing as custodian of the redacted records and to produce the originals. The Kansas Supreme Court, with no explanation, promptly ordered Anderson not to appear at the hearing. That stonewalled the prosecution again; no records, no case.

But the Supreme Court did release thousands of pages of documents in June 2008, with passages in judicial rulings that were critical of Kline helpfully highlighted for reporters. With such bad publicity, Kline then lost the Republican primary for Johnson County DA to Stephen Howe, who went on to win election. For a second time the Kansas Supreme Court had delayed a prosecution of Planned Parenthood until Kline was out of office.


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