The last 32 criminal charges against Planned Parenthood that were filed as part of a larger case brought by former Kansas Attorney General Phill Kline were dropped by prosecutors today, prompting outrage and a demand from a pro-life organization for the resignation of the district attorney who took over the prosecution.
Staff members of Operation Rescue say they have uncovered documentation revealing the records supposedly “destroyed” earlier by the state – and cited as the reason for the dismissal of a series of 49 counts, including 23 felonies – were not, in fact, destroyed.
The case against Planned Parenthood, which if convicted could have faced the loss of hundreds of millions of dollars in taxpayer funding, dates back years. While he was attorney general, Kline investigated Planned Parenthood and then filed 107 counts against the abortion industry operator for allegedly violating a state law that in 2003 limited abortions at or after the 22nd week and allegedly violating records requirements.
In the years since, under other attorneys general and new prosecutors, the charges gradually have been removed from the court, finishing with today’s move by Judge Stephen Tatum to dismiss the last 32.
Officials said Johnson County District Attorney Steve Howe and Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt made the decision, making abortion company operators happy.
But Cheryl Sullenger and Troy Newman of Operation Rescue posted a demand for Howes’ resignation today after he “bumped up” a scheduled hearing on Monday to today “after news leaked that Operation Rescue had obtained documents that prove Howe dropped the 49 most serious charges against Planned Parenthood under false pretense.”
In a report posted on the Operation Rescue site, the organization says it acquired the new information through requests under the Kansas Open Records Act.
When the most significant charges against Planned Parenthood were dismissed last winter, the reason given was that both the copies and originals of significant amounts of evidence – paperwork in the various abortion cases – had been destroyed by the state so prosecutors could not proceed.
However, OR reported today it has obtained documentation that the records, instead of being destroyed, actually were placed under seal in custody of the Shawnee County Clerk of the Court by Judge Richard Anderson in January.
“Documents also obtained from the office of Judge Anderson indicate that there was never any formal inquiry about the records from the Planned Parenthood case prosecutor, Johnson County District Attorney Steve Howe, or from Shawnee County District Attorney Chad Taylor, who was tasked in November 2011 with determining who was responsible for the destruction of the supposed final copy of the records that were the basis for 49 out of 107 total criminal charges against Planned Parenthood, including 28 felonies,” Operation Rescue reported.
That would mean those officials who last winter said the records had been destroyed apparently never even looked for them.
“This is evidence that proves the 49 charges dismissed in November 2011 at the request of Howe were dropped under false pretenses two months before Anderson moved and sealed the remaining records. It further indicates the possibility the dismissal was the result of a widespread criminal conspiracy to obstruct justice,” OR reported.
It also raises questions about Howe’s testimony in court that the records were gone.
Operation Rescue President Troy Newman explained, “This means Howe intentionally walked into open court and lied to Judge Tatum about the records in order to prevent the prosecution of Planned Parenthood on the most serious criminal charges. Because of this newly uncovered evidence of a conspiracy between Planned Parenthood and Howe to deceive the court, we renew our call for Howe’s immediate resignation. We plan to file an ethics complaint against him soon.”
Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius
Operation Rescue has contended that the records reveal wrongdoing because they do not match.
“This was strong evidence that Planned Parenthood created the records at a later date and put them into the patient file to make it look like they had been there all along since it is a misdemeanor not to keep a copy of the KDHE form in the patient’s file. In doing so, those records could prove that Planned Parenthood committed a felony to cover up for a misdemeanor,” Operation Rescue’s report said.
Anderson previously stated on the record there were problems with the evidence submitted by Planned Parenthood, but he was gagged by the state court system from talking about it then.
He reportedly fought a brutal war to keep the records and not have them returned to Planned Parenthood as state supporters of the abortion industry apparently wanted.
“As long as those records existed, Planned Parenthood remained under the real threat of felony criminal convictions for falsifying records to cover for other crimes. This could have jeopardized over $300 million in federal tax grants that flow to Planned Parenthood organizations every year under the condition that they obey all state and federal laws,” Operation Rescue reported.
Operation Rescue said the existence of the records has been confirmed because Anderson released a protective order he issued when he placed the records “in the custody of the clerk of the court of the Third Judicial District.”
That protective order, obtained by Sullenger, reveals that the “evidence against Planned Parenthood” was ready and waiting until Anderson’s protection order.
Newman said, “Clearly an independent investigation is needed in this obstruction of justice case. The problem is finding anyone who is independent. That does not appear to exist in Kansas. A federal investigation is possible, but given that the Obama administration would want to cover up any involvement by Secretary Sebelius during a heated presidential election cycle, there is no guarantee that justice can be had. There don’t seem to be any honest people left.”
Operation Rescue has been monitoring the case since Kline filed it. It’s been through the desks of several attorneys general and several district attorneys since.
But pro-life blogger Jill Stanek, who has been following developments, told LifeNews, “What happens when a corrupt state government, Kathleen Sebelius … and her hand-picked court system collude to stall a case so long the statue of limitations runs out? And what happens when that same state governor’s health department shreds evidence in that same case? And what happens when a prosecutor with nerves of steel is replaced by a prosecutor with nerves of spaghetti? All three combine for death by a thousand cuts of a rock solid case against Planned Parenthood of Overland Park, Kansas, for committing illegal late-term abortions, failing to report abortions of minors, and falsifying documents.”
Kline alleged Planned Parenthood of Kansas has a history of criminal activity.
“In 2010 and in October of 2007, I reviewed my evidence and found probable cause to believe that Planned Parenthood committed 107 criminal acts, including 23 felonies,” Kline said.
In 2003, Kline as attorney general “began an investigation of child abuse reporting to determine if sexual predators were using abortion clinics to destroy evidence of their crimes.”
While Kansas law criminalizes all intercourse with children under the age of 16, except for married couples, Kline noticed that abortion clinics almost never complied with the law requiring notification to authorities of suspected child abuse. Kline pointed to the evidence of abortions performed on children and obtained subpoenas for abortion clinic records.
Even though a judge agreed with Kline that the documents might contain evidence of criminal wrongdoing, the clash between Kline and the abortion industry began.