by Steven Ertelt
December 4, 2006
Topeka, KS (LifeNews.com) — A pro-abortion Kansas state lawmaker who has been charged with one count of battery for attacking a pro-life advocate at a campaign rally for Gov. Kathleen Sebelius will face a hearing later this month. Rep. Vaughn Flora, a Democrat, will have a pretrial hearing on December 19.
Flora is accused of attacking pro-life advocate Troy Newman at the rally while Newman poked fun at Sebelius over the issue of abortion.
During the September 9 rally, Newman dressed up in a cockroach outfit and donned a Sebelius mask and pretended to be her campaign mascot.
Newman’s actions, which he regarded as political satire, were meant to highlight Sebelius’ veto of a measure that would have provided for more safety regulations on abortion facilities. Newman dressed like a roach because his pro-life group recently purchased a former abortion business and found dead roaches on the floors.
Flora was upset by the antics and tried to grab the Sebelius mask off of Newman’s face, which resulted in cuts and abrasions on Newman, the head of the pro-life group Operation Rescue.
Reno County prosecutors filed charges against Flora saying he acted in a “rude, insulting and angry manner.”
If convicted of the class B misdemeanor Flora could serve up to 12 months in prison and face fines just under $1,000.
“We’re not really out for blood,” Cheryl Sullenger, outreach coordinator for the pro-life group, told the Lawrence Journal World newspaper. “There’s a way to behave in public. If you don’t agree with our speech, you can’t just attack someone.”
She told the newspaper Flora still hasn’t apologized over the incident.
"As an elected official, his behavior is more than reprehensible. I am shocked at his actions," Newman told the Hutchinson News after the attack. "The more I think about what he did … the more I feel that he has a serious problem with controlling his anger."
Flora previously told the newspaper he doubted any charges would be filed in the case, but Assistant Reno County District Attorney Karen Smart charged Flora.
Flora has been in the legislature since 1995 and ran unopposed this year.