Kansas Supreme Court Temporarily Bocks Grand Jury Abortion Records Subpoena

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Feb 20, 2008   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Kansas Supreme Court Temporarily Bocks Grand Jury Abortion Records Subpoena Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
February 20
, 2008

Topeka, KS (LifeNews.com) — The Kansas Supreme Court on Tuesday temporarily blocked a subpoena issued by the grand jury investigating late-term abortion practitioner George Tiller. The panel wanted to obtain records new Attorney General David Six has from an old investigation to determine whether Tiller broke state abortion laws.

Tiller faces charges from both the state attorney general that he did illegal late-term abortions and a grand jury probe contending he violated the law other times over the last five years.

On Friday, Six asked the state’s high court to quash the request claiming that it would violate the privacy of the women involved even though the abortion records would be redacted.

Chief Justice Kay McFarland signed the one-page order temporarily blocking the subpoena and saying it was “closely related" to another the court temporarily blocked.

“The same action is deemed appropriate,” the court said about Six’s subpoena.

Had the request for the abortion documents gone forward, Six would have to turn over 60 abortion records by today.

Tiller’s lawyers have also asked the Kansas Supreme Court to quash subpoenas for as many as 2,000 abortion records and pro-life groups are worried that his abortion business carted off some of the records on Monday.

The high court will issue a ruling on that subpoena next week.

Pro-life groups told LifeNews.com they are not happy with yesterday’s decision.

Mary Kay Culp, the head of Kansans for Life, said she was not surprised Six followed on the heels of former Attorney General David Morrison in requesting to keep the records private.

"They switched names, they switched faces, but it doesn’t appear as if anything else has changed," she said. "All the signs had been pointing a certain way, but this is more than a sign. It’s a slap in the face to the people of Kansas."

The subpoena asked for 60 abortion records that were obtained by former Attorney General Phill Kline in 2006, which have already had all patient identifying information redacted, and have been certified for release by the Supreme Court to investigative agencies.

Some of those records are the basis for 19 criminal charges of illegal late-term abortions that Tiller currently faces, Operation rescue president Troy Newman explained.

"This ruling is troubling, given the fact that the records in Six’s custody have already been certified for release by the Supreme Court and deemed to contain no information that could jeopardize a patient’s privacy," Newman said. "Has Justice McFarland become that forgetful?"

Six was appointed to office by pro-abortion Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, who has benefited from hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from Tiller.

Pro-lifers suspect that Six may be willing to protect Tiller as a means of a political pay-back to his benefactor.