Kansas Grand Jury in Abortion Case Calls for Reviewing State Law Allowing Them

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Mar 6, 2008   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Kansas Grand Jury in Abortion Case Calls for Reviewing State Law Allowing Them Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
March 6
, 2008

Overland Park, KS (LifeNews.com) — Members of the grand jury that recently returned no indictment against a Kansas City-area Planned Parenthood accused of violating Kansas abortion law have released a follow-up report. The report calls into question the very law allowing citizens to collect signatures allowing for grand juries.

Members of the panel said they thought the state law, which is one of a few across the country, should be revised to require evidence of wrong-doing beforehand.

"It is the feeling of this grand jury that the current statute that addresses the formation of a grand jury be evaluated as to evidence required to call the grand jury," the jurors said in the report, according to AP.

Cheryl Sullenger, a spokeswoman for Operation Rescue, which called the grand jury that was supposed to investigate Planned Parenthood, said it was ironic that the grand jury ask for more evidence when it failed to gather enough evidence before issuing its decision.

"I think it’s inappropriate of them," she told AP. "They were convened under the current law, and they were asked to do a certain job. They never asked us for evidence."

"I challenge them on whether they fully investigated (Planned Parenthood). If they did, they would have asked the people who called for the petition if they had evidence," she added.

Pro-life groups have argued with Planned Parenthood about the grand jury and whether it did its job properly.

Peter Brownlie, president and chief executive officer of Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri, told AP the decision exonerated the abortion business.

But Operation Rescue president Troy Newman told LifeNews.com the proceedings were tainted by misconduct on the parts of the Judge Kevin Moriarty and special prosecutors. He said there were backroom deals cut with Planned Parenthood attorneys that denied critical evidence to the grand jury as a whole.

"There is no way that they could have possibly investigated all seven allegations that the voters empanelled them to investigate without inspecting any documents from Planned Parenthood," Operation Rescue president Troy Newman said.

"It’s shocking that Planned Parenthood was allowed to direct their own investigation and dictate to the grand jury what evidence would be provided, and even how they would be allowed to view the evidence," Newman added.

He said, "The entire process was corrupted, and Judge Moriarty is responsible for that corruption. We are considering the possibility of filing ethics charges against him."

Moriarty refused to allow members of the grand jury to inspect 16 subpoenaed abortion records that had already had all patient-identifying information redacted, citing privacy concerns.

Instead, he personally took custody of the records and prepared a "spreadsheet" summary of information in the records. The grand jury was not allowed to view the evidence in context.

Planned Parenthood still faces 107 criminal charges filed by the District Attorney’s office in October of last year.