Pro-Life Leaders Defend Phill Kline as Trial Begins

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Feb 21, 2011   |   4:39PM   |   Topeka, KS

The man who was the top pro-life attorney in the state of Kansas faces a hearing today on nine counts of alleged ethical violations before the Kansas Attorney Disciplinary Board. The trial is estimated to go on for two weeks and is the latest phase in a protracted, multi-year effort to distract from the 107 counts of wrongdoing, including 23 felonies, against a Johnson County, Kansas Planned Parenthood abortion center.

The politically-motivated charges claim Kline acted improperly during his investigations of abortion clinics, even though recently released documents show that investigators for the Disciplinary Administrator cleared Kline of any wrong-doing in 2008.

Thomas Brejcha, the chief counsel of the Thomas More Society, came to Kline’s defense in comments to, and said the irony of the case beginning today is that it comes as the case Kline filed against Planned Parenthood is moving ahead and as Planned Parenthood faces national questions related to videos showing it aiding and abetting alleged sex traffickers. 

“It’s perhaps ironic that these tactics of distraction may have boomeranged, for just this week Johnson County’s new prosecutor finally went to court to prosecute those same criminal charges against Planned Parenthood.  Also, Kline is going on trial even as a national controversy continues to erupt over recent undercover tapes showing Planned Parenthood providers in other states welcoming business from sex traffickers who exploit underage girls,” he said.

Brejcha continued:

“Scrutinized, the merits of the disciplinary charges against Mr. Kline seem unusual, if not bizarre.  Citing Kline’s ‘strong personal anti-abortion beliefs’ as grounds for revoking his law license, as did Stanton A. Hazlett of the Kansas Office of Disciplinary Administration in his letter detailing the charges, seems a rather transparent attempt to destroy Mr. Kline personally on account of his beliefs and to intimidate anyone who stands in the way of the political goals of the pro-abortion movement.

To be sure, this trial of the former Kansas prosecutor bears more earmarks of a political vendetta than of any real concern about defective professional ethics.  On the merits, Mr. Hazlett’s disciplinary charges appear at best rather stretched and strained, as even Mr. Hazlett’s hand-picked investigators who combed Mr. Kline’s record over 18 months – S.  Lucky DeFries (Chairman of the Topeka Bar Association Ethics and Grievance Committee) and Mary Beth Mudrick (“the DeFries Report”) — reported, ‘After reviewing the substantial documentation in this case, it is the opinion of these investigators that there is not probable cause that Phill Kline violated any of the rules of ethics.’

If this isn’t enough to convince objective onlookers that something here is seriously amiss, consider the fact that three different Kansas trial judges made findings that contradict and negate the factual assertions that supposedly undergird each of the charges against Kline.  Indeed, these disciplinary allegations simply don’t hold any water.  They are unsupported in law or fact.

The plain truth is that former Attorney General Kline did have authority to investigate Planned Parenthood, informed the proper Judges of the investigation, and those Judges ruled that he had legitimate grounds to proceed.  Much of the relevant information was sealed by order of the Kansas Supreme Court and as a result much of the story has been obscured or distorted.  Kline’s opponents exploited the circumstances to generate public hysteria based on false information, all of which harmed the criminal investigation and unnecessarily frightened women and children. So, let the hearing now begin and let the chips fall where they may!  The whole truth will come out in the clear light of day.  To quote the late revered U.S. Supreme Court Justice Louis D. Brandeis, ‘The best disinfectant is sunlight.’”

Mary Kay Culp, the executive director of Kansans for Life, also talked about today’s hearing:

The Kansas ban of post-viable abortions was ignored for a decade while 3,000 viable unborn children were killed as the result of fraud. Kline was pilloried for trying to stop it. From what we know of the ethical allegations, were it anyone other than Phill Kline and his target any other than the abortion industry it is highly doubtful these charges would be being brought. And here’s a question. Who gets to bring ethical charges for those 3,000 big, viable babies being killed, most if not all, outside the law? Even the new fair-minded state Board of Healing Arts director Jack Confer was fired rather than allowed to investigate this subject.

The left’s biggest beef with Kline is that he subpoenaed medical records, but what few realize is that the reason he did so was the fault of Tiller and Planned Parenthood themselves. The one page abortion report to the Department of Health required by our 1998 post-viable abortion ban law tripped up both of them. That report at no time lists the woman’s name. But the report asks the reason for doing a post-viable abortion to see if it qualifies for what are supposed to be very narrow exceptions. Tiller ignored it, and it appears Planned Parenthood falsified it, both apparently in order to get away with doing post-viable abortions outside the criteria set down in Kansas law. This left the medical records themselves (redacted of personal identifying information) as the only way for an A.G. to investigate the facts–something A.G.’s utilize all the time in all kinds of cases.
In fact, among the Pennsylvania grand jury recommendations to avoid a future “House of Horrors” clinic like the one run by Kermit Gosnell, was the admonition that inspectors be able to look at the medical records. That grand jury was made up of pro-life and pro-choice individuals.

While a woman’s privacy is touted as the reason abortion law enforcement should be ignored, nurses calling the Kansas Board of Healing Arts to make a formal complaint about an abortionist here were met with the fact that their privacy could not be guaranteed should they make the complaint.