by Steven Ertelt
June 27, 2007
Topeka, KS (LifeNews.com) — Kansas Attorney General Paul Morrison, who has been under fire from pro-life groups for dragging his feet on a probe into potentially illegal abortions at Planned Parenthood dropped all of the charges. He dropped some of the charges against Wichita late-term abortion practitioner George Tiller but kept others.
The pro-life group Kansans for Life is disappointed and worries that political games may have been played.
"Planned Parenthood in Overland Park was the site of political phone banking and letter stuffing (that was surely designed to help Paul Morrison defeat Phill Kline) on multiple dates prior to the last election," the group told LifeNews.com.
Meanwhile, Morrison says the case filed by his predecessor against late-term abortion practitioner George Tiller was flawed. Former top attorney Phill Kline charged Tiller, who is based in Wichita, with 30 counts of 15 illegal late-term abortions.
Morrison dropped the charges related to the reporting violations but kept in place the more serious charges of illegal performance of the abortions themselves.
State law says the abortions can only be done in legitimate medical circumstances, but Kline found that all of the abortions in the charges were done for specious reasons such as depression during pregnancy.
However, Morrison’s office said Wednesday that the attorney general believes 15 of the 30 charges were flawed.
Spokeswoman Ashley Anstaett told the Associated Press that Kline supposedly did not include information favorable to Tiller in eleven of the charges and that, in four other cases, Kline cited the wrong patient records backing up the charges.
Kline told AP that he disagrees with the claims and said the contentions are just restatements of allegations made by Wichita attorney Dan Monnat.
"It sounds like the defense firm of Tiller, Monnat and Morrison has been at work," he said.
In a statement to LifeNews.com, Mary Kay Culp of Kansans for Life said the dismissal of some charges "will in no way exonerate Morrison of allegations of a whitewash."
"Two judges who saw the evidence in the records said it constituted ‘probable cause’ that crimes had been committed," Culp explained. "Expert witness Dr. Paul McHugh of Johns Hopkins said he saw nothing in the records that got close to meeting the criteria in Kansas law for performing these very late abortions."
On Monday, several state lawmakers appeared at a rally and said they would put forward legislation to ban late-term abortions in Kansas unless the life of the mother is directly affected by a problem pregnancy.
Rep. Arlen Siegfreid, an Olathe Republican, promised to bring a bill before the 2008 legislative session to prohibit abortions after 21 weeks of pregnancy.
"The less exceptions in the law the more luck we’re going to have enforcing it," Siegfreid, chairman of the House Federal and State Affairs Committee, said.
Rep. Lance Kinzer, also at the rally, which drew a couple hundred people, said records from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment show 1,086 abortions of viable unborn children from 2003-2006.
He told the crowed that none were necessary to save the life of the mother.