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 ↑
The executive director of the Center for Reclaiming America told WND during a weekend-long series of events protesting the failure by Kansas to prosecute a late-term abortionist that now is the time for remember the words of the late Dr. Martin Luther King, that “if there is injustice in one place, all justice is at risk.”
The words from Gary Cass came in an interview as he participated in this weekend’s “Cry for Justice” conference in Wichita, Kan., an event set up by Operation Rescue on the suggestion of Fox News Channel’s Bill O’Reilly.
The issue is a series of 30 criminal counts alleging illegal late-term abortions and inappropriate medical diagnoses that had been prepared by former Kansas Attorney General Phill Kline against late-term abortion specialist George Tiller of Wichita. Within hours of those charges, which had been reviewed and endorsed by two separate state judges in Kansas, being filed, the Wichita district attorney, Nola Foulston, worked with yet another judge on her request to have them dismissed.
Subsequently, a special prosecutor hired by Kline was fired by the state’s new attorney general, Paul Morrison, who had campaigned on the statements that he didn’t think the abortion industry in Kansas needed to be investigated.
“Are we going to be a nation of laws or a nation of men,” asked Cass, “and if what I know to be true about the charges is true, and it seems to be confirmed by these other judges, there’s been a material violation of Kansas law.”
The weekend’s activities included a noon news conference at Tiller’s clinic and a follow-up event in front of the Sedgwick County courthouse, he said.
“We picketed in front of the courthouse in downtown Wichita, trying to encourage the district attorney to go ahead and allow these charges to be filed against Mr. Tiller, which she seems to be intent on not doing,” Cass said.
“Then we went up to her office to see if we could get a meeting with her, and she was not available, and we were asked to send a formal request (asking for a meeting) and we did that,” added.
He said the concern is that with Morrison replacing Kline in the state prosecuting attorney’s office, “that these charges which have been substantiated by two other judges, saying that they have merit, that these charges are not going to be brought.”
“If that does happen, we will do our best to try to call for a federal investigation of what’s going on here,” he said.
“It seems at this point, as if they’re immune to any pressures from within the state. It’s going to require national attention being brought to bear. This is the time for everybody to let their feelings be known: that we expect equitable and fair enforcement of Kansas law,” he said.
The letter that was delivered to Foulston requested a meeting on behalf of Rev. Pat Mahoney of the Christian Defense Coalition, Cass, Newman and Cheryl Sullenger of Operation Rescue and Jeff White and Cheryl Conrad of Survivors.
“We are deeply concerned that there may be an intentional effort under way on the part of the Sedgwick County District Attorney’s office and the Kansas Attorney General’s office to deny due process in the matter of criminal charges against George R. Tiller for illegal late-term abortions,” the letter said.
“We are asking you to read the complaint, then reinstate the 30 misdemeanor charges that were lawfully filed by Attorney General Phill Kline on December 21, 2006. We understand that two judges have already determined that there is probable cause [to] believe that crimes have been committed. These charges need to be heard in a court of law.”
“We are requesting a meeting with you on Monday, January 22, 2007, at 11:00 AM to discuss this matter…”
It concluded with the suggestion that the writers hoped the situation would not need a federal investigation, and the letter was copied to three individuals within the U.S. Department of Justice.
Newman, chief of Operation Rescue and organizer for the weekend which attracted several hundred people, said when he arrived in Wichita there were three abortion clinics, and now only one remains.
“This is the focal point of the pro-life battle in America. We want to see this place that is now the abortion capital become the pro-life capitol of the world,” he told WND.
The actual status of the charges against Tiller is that they were dismissed by a district judge on Foulston’s request. However, before he was fired by Morrison, special prosecutor Don McKinney submitted a lawsuit to the state Supreme Court asking for an order that the charges be reinstated and that Foulston be required to allow them to move forward.
A spokeswoman for Morrison’s office, Ashley Anstaett, told WND that that case remains pending in the state Supreme Court, and an assistant attorney general has been assigned to review the counts against Tiller.
McKinney’s Writ of Mandamus with the high court was based on the grounds that Foulston and District Judge Paul Clark, who dismissed the Tiller counts, “unlawfully usurped” the authority of Kline and state legislature by improperly terminating the case.
“The judicial system of this state cannot function properly if loose cannon local prosecutors can hijack a case from the attorney general and then dismiss the charges to protect their friends or political allies,” McKinney told WND at the time. “Such extraordinary conduct destroys equal justice, interferes with the attorney general’s ranking position, and snubs the authority of the legislature to mandate prosecutions by the attorney general.”
He noted the Legislature specifically authorized the attorney general to obtain reports from abortion clinics regarding the age of unborn babies at abortion, and “use such documents for the purpose of a … criminal proceeding.”
When he was dismissed, McKinney told WND that it was just Morrison paying “political debts.”
Georgia Cole, a spokeswoman in Foulston’s office, earlier told WND there were no 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 said.
And Anstaett also told a Wichita newspaper that Morrison’s campaign received no contributions from Tiller or the political action committee he supports, called ProKanDo.
However, a group called Kansas for Consumer Privacy Protection was active in the campaign, and it held the same address as ProKanDo, according to the newspaper.
Also, Morrison during his campaign had told the Lawrence Journal-World that he thought state money was being used for “misplaced priorities” in an investigation of abortion business practices in the state and he would instead use that to start a domestic violence unit.
He 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.
The four days of events were inspired by O’Reilly’s call for justice. He presented a series of programs about the Tiller abortion clinic, and then concluded
“You know, I’ve been covering the news in American for 30 years and this Kansas situation is the worst thing I’ve ever seen … Americans cannot turn away from this; cannot ignore it. There should be thousands of people demonstrating outside Tiller’s abortion clinic in Wichita,” he said.
The weekend also has plans for a series of seminars and services, as well as a dedication of a building that used to house another abortion clinic. It was closed down when Operation Rescue bought the building, with plans to make it into the national headquarters for the organization. The activist group later labeled the abortionist “Tiller the Killer” after investigating a series of situations when ambulances were summoned to the clinic.
Cass has served at the Center for Reclaiming America, a part of the outreach of the Coral Ridge church programs headed by D. James Kennedy, since 2004. He was a leader in the efforts to save Terri Schiavo and has delivered the vision for Reclaiming America with the White House.
Also scheduled to appear during the weekend are Michael McMonagle, of Generation Life, Cheryl Conrad of Survivors, Leslie Hanks of Colorado Right to Life, Larry Donlan from Omaha’s Rescue the Heartland and Dr. Heather Mechanic, a post-abortion expert from San Diego.
The case has an extended history, with Kline seeking as far back as 2004 records from several abortion businesses in Kansas that he believed may document the commission of crimes. For example, he asked how could dozens of underage girls be given abortions in Kansas without a single case of assault on a child being reported?
He fought a two-year battle for those records, having gained the approval of two different district judges and the state Supreme Court in that time. He obtained the records just a few weeks before Christmas, and just days before the holiday filed 30 criminal counts against Tiller, alleging he performed illegal late-term abortions and did not have the state-mandated medical diagnoses for those procedures.
Reports of the King statement vary, but a common version is: “If there is injustice anywhere there is injustice everywhere.”