by Steven Ertelt
March 16, 2007
Topeka, KS (LifeNews.com) — Just because there was a changing of the guard at the state attorney general’s office, pro-life advocates in Kansas don’t want an illegal abortion case against a late-term abortion practitioner to be dropped. There is concern that incoming Attorney General Paul Morrison won’t finish the job Phill Kline started.
Morrison has wavered on whether or not he would drop the case against Wichita-based abortion practitioner George Tiller.
Kline filed 30 charges against Tiller last year saying that he performed illegal late-term abortions for reasons such as "depression" rather than legitimate emergency medical concerns.
Sedgwick County District Attorney Nola Foulston, who has been supported financially by Tiller in her political campaigns, objected to the charges on jurisdictional grounds and dropped them.
Ashley Anstaett, spokeswoman for Morrison’s office, told the Associated Press that Morrison will look to see if any new charges are warranted but appeared to indicate that the previous 30 would not be brought back.
“We have an investigation going in regards to Dr. Tiller and if we find evidence of a crime, we will file new charges,” she said. “Those 30 charges are not really applicable anymore.”
But Kline joined pro-life advocates and dozens of pastors at a press conference Thursday and said they are still appropriate.
“I don’t think it is right to be let go,” Kline said of their case and noted that two judges said it was likely that crimes were committed in the allegedly illegal abortions.
Kline joined the pro-life advocates in calling for the state legislature to use a little-known law to order Morrison to prosecute Tiller. They say it would simply require the passage of a resolution in one branch of the legislature directing the attorney general to prosecute the case, and would not require the approval of the governor.
According to K.S.A. 75-702, the attorney general must appear on behalf of the state when "required by the governor or either branch of the legislature" to "prosecute or defend, in any other court or before any officer, in any cause or matter, civil or criminal, in which this state may be a party or interested." The law mandates pursuance of such cases all the way to the Kansas Supreme Court.
"That means that either branch of the State Legislature can order the attorney general to prosecute a criminal case, if they believe that the state has a compelling interest," said Operation Rescue President Troy Newman. "The state certainly has an interest in seeing to it that the laws of the state are enforced."
Rob Rotola, pastor of World of Life Church, is one of those who told AP he was calling for the legislature to step forward.
“Kansas pastors are asking the Legislature to protect women and children from crimes against humanity. We ask the people of Kansas to get out the message through phone calls, e-mails, etc., these five specific words, and here they are: ’Charge Tiller, it’s the law,’" he said.
Newman said the "clock is ticking on the legislative season" and he worries that such a resolution may not be drafted and approved in time before the legislature ends.