Attorneys for Planned Parenthood are seeking to get dismissed dozens of misdemeanor charges alleging that the abortion business failed to test whether an unborn child was viable (as required by state law) before doing a late-term abortion, and that it manipulated records it submitted to the state to cover up those crimes.
Motions filed by Planned Parenthood were unsealed yesterday by Judge Stephen Tatum in the criminal case involving 58 counts related to illegal late-term abortions. The abortion business is seeking dismissal of all charges.
Planned Parenthood is accused of failing to determine viability for at least 26 abortions in 2003. While they determined gestational age, they failed to apply more than a blanket designation of non-viability to babies 24 weeks and under. Kansas law at that time mandated a determination of viability at 22 weeks or later. Planned Parenthood is asking the court to prohibit testimony about post abortion fetal weights that could prove the babies were well beyond viability.
Because former attorney general Steve Six, an appointee of former Gov Kathleen Sebelius, destroyed the documents, a court dismissed all of the felony charges filed against Planned Parenthood because the evidence supporting those charges had been destroyed. Under Sebelius, the Kansas Health and Education Department fought access by Kansas Attorney General Phill Kline to original copies of abortion reports needed to prosecute Planned Parenthood.
The case was rocked by scandal last year when District Attorney Steve Howe told the court that crucial evidence had been destroyed during the administration of former Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, who now serves as U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services. That evidence was needed to prove the most serious charges that Planned Parenthood had manufactured evidence to cover for other crimes. Because the prosecution could not produce the evidence, Judge Stephen Tatum dismissed 49 of 107 original counts last November, leaving the remaining 58 counts pending.
Democratic Attorneys General under Sebelius actively worked through the years to subvert the investigation and prosecution of Planned Parenthood. Disgraced Attorney General Paul Morrison issued a letter in June, 2007, “clearing” Planned Parenthood of wrong-doing. Judge Richard Anderson, who oversaw the investigation, deemed that letter inappropriate.
As District Attorney, Phill Kline filed the 107-count criminal case against Planned Parenthood just four months later. After Morrison was forced to resign due to a sex and abortion corruption scandal, his successor, Sebelius appointee Steve Six, obtained a gag order on Judge Anderson and the incriminating records in his custody. The current Attorney General is a pro-life Republican.
“We think we have very powerful legal arguments,” Topeka attorney Pedro Irigonegaray, who’s representing Planned Parenthood, said Tuesday. “There’s plenty to show that there was never anything to it.”
“This was simply an attack on women’s reproductive health care issues, not based on facts but on political motivations,” Irigonegaray said.
According to AP, “Attorneys for Planned Parenthood also are trying to block the testimony of a family practice physician and a doctor who provides care for patients with high-risk pregnancies. The two are questioning the methods used to determine that each fetus wasn’t viable.”
“The defense attorneys said Tatum should not allow the testimony because neither performs abortions. The attorneys added that a potential defense witness — a medical school professor who edited a textbook on abortion and serves as chief medical officer for Planned Parenthood’s New York City chapter — concluded that the Kansas clinic followed standard medical practices at the time,” it reported. “In the past, the Kansas Supreme Court has declared that a criminal case against an abortion provider cannot boil down reasonable differences of medical opinion.”
District Attorney Steve Howe, who is prosecuting the case he inherited from Kline, has yet to answer the motions.
Mary Kay Culp of Kansans for Life responded, “Planned Parenthood’s demands are outrageous! Long questionnaires and closed door interviews with jurors about their personal experience with abortion? Attempts to limit common language? Asking that expert witnesses be limited to abortionists? What’s next? Trying to limit jurors to those on the Planned Parenthood donor list?”
Operation Rescue president Troy Newman responded, “Howe’s answers will be a great indication to us if he has the will to prosecute this case against the largest and most politically powerful abortion provider in the state. Will he do his duty, or allow himself to be cowed by political pressure? That remains to be seen.”
Planned Parenthood included an affidavit in support of its motions from abortionist Maureen E. Paul, M.D. who currently serves as Chief Medical Officer of Planned Parenthood of New York City. However, Paul has a dark history of her own. She is the former CMO for Planned Parenthood Golden Gate from 2002 to 2005. That organization imploded due to corruption scandals involving financial mismanagement that forced it to disaffiliate from Planned Parenthood and later close altogether. In 2002, Paul oversaw staff abortionist Shelley Sella, who was employed part-time by George Tiller at the now-closed Women’s Health Care Services in Wichita, Kansas. Tiller’s abortion business was also under investigation and joined with Planned Parenthood to block law enforcement from obtaining abortion files that contained incriminating evidence against both abortion businesses.
“Paul is far from unbiased and is working to protect her associates, because if they are convicted, it could mean that other affiliates are also breaking the law, and that could endanger their $300 million in Federal tax money they get each year,” said Newman. “If anyone should be disqualified from testifying, it is her.”
In the meantime, Planned Parenthood criticized two potential witnesses for the prosecution, Dr. Thomas Murphy Goodwin, a professor of maternal-fetal medicine and Dr. Mark Gillett, a family practice doctor, because they had no experience with outpatient abortion clinics. That argument was used unsuccessfully by another abortionist, Ann Kristin Neuhaus, in her medical license disciplinary trial to attempt to discredit the expert testimony of Dr. Liza Gold, who said that Neuhaus repeatedly failed to meet the standard of care when making late-term abortion referrals to Tiller.
“It shows Planned Parenthood’s arguments are bankrupt because they have to get internal sources to corroborate their stories, then they claim that anyone not as dirty as they can possibly testify about their dirt. It would be laughable if we were not talking about determinations that resulted in the brutal deaths of 26 viable, healthy babies,” said Newman.
Newman said most disturbing were the motions filed by Planned Parenthood attorneys demanding special treatment if the case goes to trial. It seeks to devalue the lives of the viable babies by banning any terms that might allow them any dignity or shred of humanity. The motions asks Judge Tatum to ban terms such as “late-term abortion”, “child”, “baby”, and “infant”, and seeks to prohibit references to the aborted babies as “victims.”
He also said motions were disturbing that sought to
question jurors about their religious beliefs in order to weed out those who may oppose abortion on religious grounds.
“They want no one with a moral compass standing in judgment of them,” said Newman. “This leaves only those who support abortion eligible for the jury, and that is just as prejudicial to the state’s case. This motion exposes Planned Parenthood’s extreme bigotry against those whose faith differs from theirs.”
A scheduling conference has been set for July 11, 2012, when the court will determine how much additional time might be needed for responses. No trial date has been set and none is likely in the foreseeable future.
“The evidence in this case must be allowed to go to trial. This case has survived years of corrupt efforts to destroy it. That is a testimony to the validity of the charges,” said Newman. “Of course, Planned Parenthood will continue to fight this with everything they have because they know if this case is properly presented to a fair and impartial jury, they are doomed. That is all the more reason to take the facts to court and let the chips fall where they may.”