Kansas Official, Pro-Life Groups Frustrated With Grand Jury Abortion Probe

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Feb 27, 2008   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Kansas Official, Pro-Life Groups Frustrated With Grand Jury Abortion Probe

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by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
February 27
, 2008

Overland Park, KS (LifeNews.com) — The district attorney leading the investigation into a Kansas Planned Parenthood and pro-life groups are frustrated at the lack of progress a grand jury has made. They say Planned Parenthood’s refusal to turn over records is slowing and complicating the investigation.

Johnson County District Attorney Phill Kline filed a motion on Tuesday saying the 15-member jury can’t do its job because Planned Parenthood is refusing to comply with a January subpoena.

He asked for Judge Patrick Moriarty to enforce the sole subpoena issued by the citizen-called grand jury and raised allegations that the grand jury has been corrupted and may not be able to complete its work fairly.

The panel asked for records of 16 abortions to determine whether Planned Parenthood is violating state law at its Overland Park facility.

It has been accused of not giving women information on abortion risks and alternatives and notifying parents when a minor girl is considering an abortion. Kline has also filed 107 charges saying Planned Parenthood violated state limits on late-term abortions.

“No Grand Jury can complete a well reasoned investigation in so little time without subpoenas, directed at the target of the investigation, being enforced by the Court,” Kline wrote in the motion.

“If the Grand Jury is prevented from viewing the documents, testimony and other evidence, it cannot in good conscience come to any conclusion one way or the other," he added.

Planned Parenthood attorney Pedro Irigonegaray told the Kansas City Star that it has tried to cooperate by turning over some information and accused Kline of trying to gain politically from the motion.

He referred to the deal struck between himself, a juror and Judge Moriarty to hand over certain documents in lieu of complying with the subpoena. However that deal was voided by Judge Moriarty last week after it was rejected by the grand jury as a whole as being inadequate.

The motion cites problems with the grand jury process, including a case where the special counsel for the grand jury called Planned Parenthood attorneys while the panel was meeting. State law calls for absolute secrecy during the proceedings.

Pro-life groups are upset that Judge Moriarty has yet to order the original subpoena be enforced 50 days after it was issued.

Also, the grand jury has met only a total of 11 days and is scheduled for dismissal in early March.