by Steven Ertelt
January 3, 2007
Topeka, KS (LifeNews.com) — A special prosecutor appointed by outgoing Kansas Attorney General Phill Kline to handle a case of illegal late-term abortions, has asked a judge to reinstate the case. Previously a court dismissed Kline’s case in which he filed 30 misdemeanor charges against Wichita abortion practitioner George Tiller.
Kline filed the charges based on legal documents he obtained showing Tiller doing late-term abortions for reasons other than medical emergencies.
Kansas allows such abortions only for legitimate medical problems and Kline says Tiller did 15 illegal abortions from July through November 2003 on women and girls aged 10 through 22.
Special Prosecutor Donald McKinney filed a motion Friday asking the court that dismissed the charges to vacate its previous decision, but the legal paperwork only became public on Monday.
District Judge Paul W. Clark previously threw out the case, citing jurisdictional and other issues, and has refused to reinstate it.
Clark dismissed the charges at Sedgwick County District Attorney Nola Foulston’s request without notifying Kline or his office. He said Kline can’t file the charges without her authority and she is not assisting Kline in the case.
McKinney said the court was wrong because state law didn’t require Kline to get Foulston’s permission to file the charges against Tiller. He cited several cases showing the state Attorney General with the power to control legal cases like this one.
In a statement provided to LifeNews.com at the time, Kline said Foulston’s argument that he does not have authority to file charges against Tiller was false.
"As Attorney General I have initiated hundreds of filings without the permission of the legislature or the Governor and consistent with my common law and statutory authority of the office," Kline said.
Kline said the objection was particularly concerning because he and his staff met with Foulston Thursday afternoon and she agreed Kline had the authority to present the charges.
Foulston also sent Kline an email thanking him for the meeting.
She has since said that she is merely trying to protect her right to decide what cases are tried in Sedgwick County but pro-life advocates accuse her of trying to protect Tiller, and say he is her political ally and supporter.
Kline leaves office on Monday and pro-abortion Attorney General-elect Paul Morrison, a Democrat who defeated him in the November elections, has said he won’t keep McKinney on the case.
Dan Monnat, the lawyer for Tiller, says Kline has no basis for the charges and said the patient records he obtained through a court order show no evidence of wrongdoing. Monnat previously told the Associated Press the abortion businesses may go after Kline.
"We also intend to explore any and all means of holding Kline personally responsible for his malicious actions," Monnat said.
Kansans for Life, a statewide pro-life group, applauded the charges.
"Tiller and his lawyers can scream and curse and call law enforcement officials all the names they want, but if he has broken duly passed Kansas laws, he deserves to be brought to justice," Mary Kay Culp, the group’s director, said in a statement LifeNews.com obtained.
The state’s top attorney has been dueling with Tiller and a Planned Parenthood abortion center in Overland Park for over a year as he’s tried to access patient records to prove his case.
Tiller escaped prosecution in the January 2005 death of Cristin Gilbert, a 19 year-old mentally disabled girl he killed in a botched late-term abortion. State officials said he followed state laws in doing the abortion.