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 ↑
Members of Congress have promised to look into concerns expressed by the leaders of several pro-life organizations outraged by a decision by a prosecutor in Kansas to dismiss criminal charges filed by the state attorney general against an abortionist.
Rev. Pat Mahoney, director of the Christian Defense Coalition in Washington, D.C., and Gary Cass, executive director of Coral Ridge Ministries’ Center for Reclaiming America, have met with members of the Kansas delegation, including Sen. Sam Brownback, Rep. Todd Tiahart and staff members from the office of Sen. Pat Roberts.
They were seeking a federal inquiry into the “lack of willingness by certain Kansas officials to uphold Kansas laws,” a circumstance that has placed women’s civil rights “at serious risk and jeopardy.”
The battle is over the abortion business run in Wichita by George Tiller, who is noted for his late-term procedures. Just before he left office, Kansas Attorney General Phill Kline filed a case including 30 criminal counts against Tiller, alleging he did abortions beyond the state’s 22-week age cutoff and did not have the proper medical diagnoses for the late-term procedures he did.
The case was filed after two separate state judges had approved the charges and the overall investigation had the endorsement of the state Supreme Court.
WND has reported on the campaign contribution link among the various players in the case, including the abortionist, the district attorney and judge, as well as the state’s new attorney general, Paul Morrison, who benefited from mailings sponsored by a group linked to the abortionist, and who campaigned on the statement that the abortion industry in Kansas didn’t need to be investigated.
“We have met with members of the Kansas congressional delegation and have gone to the Department of Justice because we are seriously concerned that there may be massive violations of the civil rights of women occurring in Kansas,” Mahoney said.
“District Attorney Foulston’s unwillingness to prosecute Tiller, in spite of overwhelming evidence that probable cause exists, is reminiscent of southern prosecutors who turned their backs on the civil rights violations of African Americans during the 1940s and 50s,” he continued. “Women who travel from all over the country to use the services of George Tiller need to know that if they experience unlawful treatment, their civil rights will be upheld.”
Mahoney and Cass both expressed concerns to the delegation that the prosecutor’s unwillingness to allow the charges, whose merits never have been challenged, to be processed in court puts “the civil rights of women” in danger.
“We have exhausted all state remedies in this said,” said Cass. “Political campaign documents have established that the parties in this case are interrelated through a series of campaign contributions. Because of this, the unwillingness of the district attorney and the new attorney general to act in this matter creates a real appearance of impropriety. For the sake of justice and the protection of women, there appears no other option but to ask for federal intervention.”
The leaders said they got assurances their concerns would be reviewed.
In one of the first acts when he took over as the state’s new top legal officer, Morrison fired a special prosecutor Kline had appointed to handle the case, in an attempt to take it away from the politics, and Morrison also requested the dismissal of motions the special prosecutor, Don McKinney, had filed with the state Supreme Court seeking reinstatement of the counts.
“We are very grateful for the efforts of Rev. Mahoney and Dr. Cass in pressing forward with the request for a federal investigation, and we especially appreciate members of the Kansas congressional delegation taking the time to discuss this important issue with them,” said Troy Newman, president of Operation Rescue. “This is literally a matter of life and death.” Operation Rescue labeled the abortionist “Tiller the Killer” after investigating a series of situations when ambulances were summoned to the clinic.
Newman said his review of the public records and other materials convinces him that “the state has a strong and compelling case that Tiller has indeed committed illegal abortions on viable babies in violation of Kansas law.”
“Innocent lives continue to be at risk, along with the civil rights of women,” said Newman. “Since local authorities refuse to enforce the law, federal intervention is necessary to preserve the rule of law and the lives of innocent children, which the law was enacted to protect.”
WND has reported on the considerable problems that could be created for abortion businesses if they are in any way found to be violating state laws governing the abortion industry: they could lose all access to federal funding and may even have to repay what they got in earlier years.
Newman, whose organization did much of the documentation of the campaign links, said there clearly was the “appearance of impropriety here that should be investigated.”
A spokeswoman in Foulston’s office told WND then that the documents, if from a reliable source, would “speak for themselves.”
Tiller had been the subject of a two-year investigation by Kline, who lost the 2006 election to Morrison. At the close of his term, he finally obtained records that he had subpoenaed in 2004, and prepared 30 criminal counts against Tiller alleging illegal late-term abortions and improper medical diagnoses in support of those. Those counts were filed Dec. 21, 2006.
Kansas law doesn’t allow abortions past 22 weeks except in certain circumstances which must be verified by a second physician. The charges allege the abortions were beyond 22 weeks, and didn’t have the proper medical support.
But within hours, Foulston asked Clark to dismiss the charges and he did.
In McKinney’s writ of mandamus, he said Foulston and Clark “unlawfully usurped” the authority of Kline and the 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.”
And Newman noted 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.
The issue of the investigation, charges and their dismissal also have been discussed by WND columnist Jack Cashill, as well as Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly.
O’Reilly had presented a series of programs about the Tiller clinic, and then concluded: “You know, I’ve been covering the news in America 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.”
That resulted in the “Cry for Justice” protests in January, organized by Operation Rescue, and when they were over, Newman told WND that the issue was “far from over.” He also said another series of events is scheduled to start May 17.
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