Kansas Grand Jury in Abortion Business Probe Hires Special Counsel

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Dec 21, 2007   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Kansas Grand Jury in Abortion Business Probe Hires Special Counsel Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
December 21,

Overland Park, KS (LifeNews.com) — The grand jury impaneled for a probe into the Planned Parenthood abortion business near Kansas City has hired a special counsel for assistance. The jury is looking into accusations that the Planned Parenthood did illegal late-term abortions and falsified medical reports.

The grand jury came about when pro-life groups used a part of state law allowing citizens to call them.

A Johnston County judge selected eight women and nine men, including two alternates, to look into the charges of criminal activity.

Now, the members of the grand jury have decided to retain Larry McLain, a retired Johnson County district judge, and Rick Merker, a local attorney, to help them.

According to the Kansas City Star, District Judge Kevin Moriarty selected the two after grand jury members requested legal assistance. He picked both in case one attorney is unavailable so the grand jury can have consistent legal counsel.

Before it was seated, Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri took the panel to court, hoping to dismiss it.

However, Judge Moriarty rejected Planned Parenthood’s argument that the grand jury is nothing more than pro-life advocates harassing the abortion business.

The abortion business eventually dropped its legal case against the grand jury after the Kansas Supreme Court said a grand jury probe into late-term abortion practitioner George Tiller can move forward.

A coalition of pro-life groups, including Wichita-based Operation Rescue, Concerned Women for America and Women Influencing the Nation submitted more than 6,400 petitions from county voters for the probe.

"We are looking forward to seeing justice done, both in Sedgwick and Johnson Counties, through the grand jury process," Operation Rescue president Troy Newman previously told LifeNews.com.

"Abortionists are not above the law, even though they have been acting that way in Kansas for years," he added.

The grand jury probe came after Johnson County District Attorney Phill Kline filed over 100 criminal charges against the abortion center. The 107 counts include 23 felonies and 84 misdemeanors and they include 29 misdemeanor counts of doing illegal late-term abortions.

However, because they say politics have trumped the state’s ability to hold violators of the state’s abortion laws accountable, pro-life advocates called for the grand jury for further investigation.

In a previous statement to LifeNews.com, the coalition of pro-life groups behind the grand jury probe said Planned Parenthood President and CEO Peter Brownlie is lying to the media and public about what’s going on at his abortion business.

On October 17, he told the Associated Press that his abortion center doesn’t perform any abortions past the 22nd week of pregnancy.

However, Planned Parenthood’s web site indicates that "Our primary service is providing abortion services from 4 to 23 weeks gestation, based on the patient’s last menstrual period (LMP)."

It further states that the cost for abortions between 22.0 weeks and 23.4 weeks is $2,185.

"If Planned Parenthood isn’t doing abortion past 22 weeks, why do they say they do on their website, and even list the cost for the abortions Brownlie says do not take place?" Newman told LifeNews.com.

The petition asks the grand jury to look into seven allegations including illegal abortions, failing to report suspected child sexual abuse, providing false information, illegal trafficking in fetal tissue, and failure to comply with the 24-hour waiting period and parental consent requirements of Kansas law.