Bob Unruh joined WND in 2006 after nearly three decades with the Associated Press, as well as several Upper Midwest newspapers, where he covered everything from legislative battles and sports to tornadoes and homicidal survivalists. He is also a photographer whose scenic work has been used commercially.More ↓Less ↑
A special prosecutor appointed by Kansas Attorney General Phill Kline is spending the last few days of Kline’s term in that office determining whether there’s a way to reinstate a criminal prosecution against a prominent Wichita man who performs late-term abortions.
And the leader of an activist pro-life organization has concluded that whether or not the case documented by Kline during a multi-year investigation produces charges, the abortionist, George Tiller, will be called to account by someone.
“The evidence against Tiller is building and the day is rapidly approaching when even his most loyal media and political flunkeys will be unable to cover his tracks,” Mark Crutcher, chief of Life Dynamics, told WND.
His organization is the one that several years ago staged telephone calls to hundreds of abortion businesses across the U.S. They purported to be from a 13-year-old girl pregnant by her 22-year-old boyfriend, wanting an abortion and to not have her parents find out. The calls in Kansas went to clinics in Shawnee Mission, Wichita, Hays and Overland Park, and on many of the recordings, clinic workers are heard telling the girl how to get an abortion without notifying her parents, how to keep her boyfriend out of trouble and how to get birth control pills.
But in Kansas, if a 22-year-old adult has sex with a 13-year-old juvenile, it is considered statutory rape.
Kline, who had filed 30 criminal charges against Tiller only to see them dismissed by a judge responding to District Attorney Nola Foulston’s concerns over jurisdictional disagreements, has appointed Wichita lawyer Don McKinney as a special prosecutor in the case.
However, Kline was defeated in his bid for re-election in November and Democrat challenger Paul Morrison will take over the attorney general’s office on Monday, and he has indicated that if there is a special prosecutor, it will not be McKinney.
McKinney told WND that he was working on the situation, but couldn’t comment yesterday.
A spokeswoman for Foulston’s office, Georgia Cole, told WND that Foulston has asked state officials for documentation of the allegations so they can be reviewed, but at this point, there are too many possibilities to guess what might happen.
And she denied there were any personal or political issues involved in the decision by Foulston to have the charges dismissed.
“The case was dismissed based strictly on the facts that the AG did not have the authority to come into this jurisdiction and file charges without the DA inviting or requesting or allowing,” Cole told WND.
“That was all, because she has never seen any of the information that was used to rely on supporting the charges. That never has entered into any consideration. This dismissal had absolutely nothing to do with the merits of the case,” she said.
Crutcher, however, said Kline was to be praised for launching his investigation of claims of illegal late-term abortions, and cases of rape of a child, in Kansas. Kline had questioned how there could be 78 abortions on juvenile girls in one year, without a single sexual assault case being filed. (He said he’s sent information on 25 such cases to local prosecutors already).
He also noted that the 30 counts filed earlier – and dismissed – against Tiller alleged illegal late-term abortions and improperly diagnosing a reason for the abortions.
The babies aborted ranged up to 31 weeks old, Crutcher noted, and the abortions were performed on girls as young as 10, according to records that Kline subpoenaed from Tiller and Planned Parenthood’s abortion business in Kansas.
“In addition, not one of the records indicated any physical health problems with either the mom or the baby,” Crutcher said. “In every case, the justification given for killing the baby was either ‘stress’ or ‘depression.’ In short, according to Tiller’s own files, these were purely elective third-trimester abortions performed on healthy moms to destroy healthy babies.”
Both Crutcher and officials from Operation Rescue have expressed concern that there have been outside influences on the decision-making process that has left the case dismissed.
And there are a number of discrepancies unresolved: Foulston said Kline never consulted with her about the case, and she said that is required in Kansas. But Kline has said he talked with Foulston and that she indicated she would not oppose the case before it was filed.
When the case first was dismissed, Kline sought a re-hearing, and Judge Paul Clark granted it, but left that proceeding with the same conclusion: the charges must be dismissed.
“In the days after this … legal scholars appearing on national television pointed out that the Kansas law in question clearly shows that Kline has the legal right to bring such charges,” Crutcher said.
He said it appeared as if delays were being sought so that Kline’s tenure would expire, and Morrison, who had expressed during his campaign that he saw no need for an investigation of abortion clinics, would be in office.
“But whatever happens, the good news is that this opera ain’t over,” Crutcher said. “Whether or not Attorney General Kline is successful in getting the charges reinstated before he leaves office, and whether or not the special prosecutor is fired …, the abortion lobby’s frantic and desperate response to this situation shows that Tiller is surviving on little more than sips of hope.”
Kline noted that the state Supreme Court had twice reviewed the case and allowed it to go forward, and another Wichita judge also had reviewed the case, the charges and the evidence, and found them sufficient to proceed.
“I was stunned that the District Attorney, after meeting with me prior to the filing of charges and pledging not to stand in the way, later reversed course and without any effort to notify myself or my office went to a different judge who had not reviewed the evidence and obtained a dismissal ex parte contrary to law and contrary to the facts,” Kline said earlier.
The case took so long to develop largely because Tiller and Planned Parenthood had battled through the state Supreme Court against having to release any records to Kline, whose request for anonymous documentation was supported by still another judge who concluded Kline needed them to determine if laws were broken.
The counts that had been prepared against Tiller cited a number of abortions, such as the July 22, 2003, abortion on a 14-year-old child, patient “072203LM,” where Tiller “wrongfully relied on a diagnosis of Anxiety Disorder … or Adjustment Disorder with mixed anxiety and depressed mood to determine that a continuation of the pregnancy will cause a substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function of the pregnant woman when such diagnoses do not establish that a continuation of the pregnancy will cause a substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function of the pregnant woman, in violation of [Kansas law.]”
Kline will be moving out of the state office into the office of district attorney for Johnson County, where the Planned Parenthood clinic stands, and still will have jurisdiction there. But his personal involvement in any case that may be brought against Tiller most likely will end when he leaves the state office.
Kline said the 30 counts relate to 15 different abortions, provided to mothers ranging in age from 10-22, with the babies aged 25-31 weeks. They allege that Tiller “induced or performed an illegal late term abortion contrary to Kansas statute 30-6537-03″ and that he “failed to report the reason and basis for performing that abortion on a viable child as required by that statute.”
During Morrison’s campaign efforts he promised to begin a domestic violence unit, without any additional expense to the state. “Some of the money that’s been used on misplaced priorities could easily fund” the plans, he had told the Lawrence Journal-World. He cited Kline’s investigation of the abortion businesses run by Tiller in Wichita and Planned Parenthood as an example.
Morrison also got a huge boost in his campaign when a non-profit organization that the newspaper linked to Tiller mailed hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of mailings critical of Kline.
The mailings called Kline “Snoop Dog” and were mailed by Kansans for Consumer Privacy Protection, said the newspaper, which noted that group had the same office address as ProKanDo, a political action committee Tiller started and is funding to elect pro-abortion candidates.
But he’s also denied being “in anybody’s camp” and said he would review the case when he takes office.
Operation Rescue officials said they are convinced of the validity of the case because among the witnesses listed are Dr. Ann Kristen Neuhaus, a former abortionist and Tiller associate, and Dr. Paul McHugh, director of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.
“This is a matter of life and death. Operation Rescue is exploring a number of legal options to make sure that Tiller answers to these charges,” OR chief Troy Newman said.
His organization also is holding a four-day protest called, “A Cry for Justice” in Wichita starting Jan. 19 to call for charges to be filed. It was prompted, officials said, by Fox News host Bill O’Reilly who has said “there should be thousands of people demonstrating” because of what Tiller is doing.