by Peter Smith
TOPEKA, Kansas, February 16, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The criminal case built by former Kansas attorney general Phill Kline is now moving forward against a Johnson County Planned Parenthood, after languishing in Kansas’s legal system for two years.
Johnson County District Court Judge Stephen Tatum presided over Wednesday’s hearing, which established that the prosecution and the defendant Planned Parenthood would each have 45 days to file motions and 45 days to respond. The next hearing was scheduled for July 14-15, 2011.
The case involves 107 criminal counts filed by Phill Kline against Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri’s (PPKM) Comprehensive Health clinic in Johnson County, including 23 felony charges related to the manufacture of evidence to cover-up failure to report child sexual abuse.
Kline was Attorney General of Kansas from 2003-2007, and then District Attorney of Johnson County from 2007 – 2009, during which time he became the only U.S. prosecutor to file criminal charges against Planned Parenthood.
However, the news comes as Kline prepares to battle a disciplinary hearing for alleged professional misconduct in his investigation of both the late abortionist George Tiller, and Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri.
The two-count complaint alleges that Kline’s pro-life convictions required that he recuse himself from investigating abortion providers, that he lied to the Kansas Supreme Court, misled a Johnson County grand jury on the applicable law, and discussed the ongoing Tiller case on the national talk show program “The O’Reilly Factor.”
However, the charges brought against Kline by Disciplinary Administrator Stan Hazlett, are the same ones that Hazlett’s own team of investigators dismissed in May 2008 as lacking merit. (see coverage here)
The case is scheduled to go to trial before a three-judge panel on February 21, although Kline’s attorneys have filed a motion to disqualify the panel members due to a conflict of interest – at least one of the members supported Kline’s opponent Paul Morrison in the 2006 AG election.
Kline began investigating the abortion providers in 2003 after his office became aware that very few abortion providers reported instances of child rape.
Kansas law requires medical professionals to report to the Secretary of Social and Rehabilitation Services if they have “reason to suspect that a child has been harmed as a result of physical, mental or emotional abuse or neglect or sexual abuse.”
But examining an 18-month period, Kline’s office observed only a handful of child-abuse reports from abortion clinics, when other state records showed more than 130 children 14-years-old and younger had abortions, and more than 200 15-year-olds had abortions.
Kline’s prosecution of Planned Parenthood, however, was frustrated by repeated interventions from the Kansas Supreme Court. Five out of seven members of the state’s high court were appointed by former Democrat Governor Kathleen Sebelius, who had deep political connections to the state’s abortion businesses.
The case was finally allowed to move forward back in October when the high court ruled key evidence obtained by Kline could be let back in the case, although DA Steve Howe continued to let the case languish.
Operation Rescue president Troy Newman said his Wichita-based abortion-watchdog group was “suspicious of Howe’s move” to prosecute the case against Planned Parenthood now, but he added, “it does take away some of the impetus of the Board to follow through with its political lynching of Kline.”
He added that he believed Kline’s political foes will “still try to use any finding against Kline as an excuse to scuttle the case.”
“This would place politics above the rule of law and above the lives and health of women. We hope that will not be the case.”