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 ↑
Another four-day protest, “Pray in May” has been scheduled in Wichita, Kan., where late-term abortion special George Tiller has a business, as a pro-life activist group weighs its legal options in an effort to have criminal charges against Tiller heard in a court of law.
The state’s former attorney general, Phill Kline, had filed 30 criminal counts against Tiller just days before Christmas, but the local prosecutor, Sedgwick County District Attorney Nola Tedesco Foulston, worked with a local judge to have the counts dismissed before they could be heard.
That’s despite the fact they resulted from a multi-year investigation by Kline, which had been reviewed and approved by the state Supreme Court, and the counts themselves had been reviewed and approved by two separate Kansas judges.
“This is far from over,” said Operation Rescue President Troy Newman. “Viable babies who should have the protection of Kansas law continue to be illegally killed at George R. Tiller’s infamous late-term abortion mill. We must continue to seek justice, as our Christian faith demands, as long as this gross injustice continues.”
The charges against Tiller had alleged that he performed illegal late-term abortions on girls as young as 10 years of age, and he failed to have the state-required medical diagnoses for those abortions. The local judge dismissed the counts on Foulston’s motion over a dispute in jurisdictions; she alleged the state’s top law enforcement officer had no right to file charges in her district unless she approved.
The recent 4-day protest, called “Cry for Justice,” was held after Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly called for such an action.
O’Reilly had presented a series of programs about the Tiller 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.”
Foulston declined requests to meet with the protesters, and in fact sent a letter to them saying if they tried to “influence” her decision their actions could be considered criminal conduct.
“Operation Rescue has attempted to ‘petition the government for a redress of grievances,’ a right protected by the First Amendment, but was notified last week that such action could violate a Kansas law,” a statement from the group said.
Leaders of the protest now are traveling to Washington, D.C., to request a federal investigation into concerns Kansas laws are being enforced selectively, Operation Rescue said.
“The situation here in Kansas is outrageous in the extreme and is one that simply cannot and will not be tolerated. We have some of the finest attorneys in the nation seeking a remedy for this injustice,” Newman said.
“Even if Tiller was to have the charges reinstated against him today, the case would still be ongoing in May, and would still require our attention and prayers,” he said.
He said the May 17-20 event is being left “open-ended” for now because plans still are developing. The earlier event also involved leaders from the Christian Defense Coalition as well as the Center for Reclaiming America.
After the counts were dismissed, Kline appointed a special prosecutor, Don McKinney, to handle the case, but as soon as new Kansas Attorney General Paul Morrison took office, he dismissed McKinney. Morrison had benefited from campaign mailings linked by a regional newspaper to the same address as a group funded by Tiller, and he had campaigned on the statements that Kansas’ abortion industry didn’t need to be investigated.
His dismissal of McKinney, however, was not before McKinney filed with the state Supreme Court a request for an order to reinstate the case with a ruling that Foulston must allow it to be heard. That filing, a writ of mandamus, 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, McKinney said.
“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.”
Newman noted the two state judges who reviewed the counts and allowed them to move forward en route to a court hearing. And he said the “smoking gun” in the situation is that a former Tiller business associate, Ann Kristen Neuhaus, had been listed as a witness for the prosecution. “She was the person signing off on these abortions,” he noted.