Archive for Friday, December 22, 2006

Soon as filed, charges against abortion doctor dismissed

Outgoing AG’s actions criticized

December 22, 2006

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Kansas Attorney General Phill Kline answers a question during a news conference Friday at his office in Topeka. Kline, a vocal abortion opponent, charged a well-known abortion provider, Dr. George Tiller, with illegally performing late-term abortions, but a Sedgwick County judge on Friday threw out the charges. Kline, who lost his re-election bid in November and leaves office in less than three weeks, said he would try to get the charges reinstated.

Kansas Attorney General Phill Kline answers a question during a news conference Friday at his office in Topeka. Kline, a vocal abortion opponent, charged a well-known abortion provider, Dr. George Tiller, with illegally performing late-term abortions, but a Sedgwick County judge on Friday threw out the charges. Kline, who lost his re-election bid in November and leaves office in less than three weeks, said he would try to get the charges reinstated.

In a political and legal whirlwind Friday, Attorney General Phill Kline filed misdemeanor criminal charges against nationally known abortion doctor George Tiller, only to have the charges dismissed after the local district attorney cried foul.

Sixteen days from leaving office after getting trounced at the polls in November, Kline, an ardent opponent of abortion, vowed to press on in the investigation.

"We will exhaust all legal efforts," Kline said at a news conference. "Justice requires that we pursue what the duty of this office is."

Tiller's attorneys called Kline's attempt a desperate act on his way out as attorney general.

"The filing of criminal charges by Phill Kline is the last gasp of a defeated and discredited politician," Lee Thompson and Dan Monnat said in a prepared statement.

Busy day in court

Here is the sequence of events:

Late Thursday, Kline and his top assistants traveled to Wichita, where Tiller's clinic is located, and filed 30 misdemeanor charges against Tiller, accusing him of performing illegal late-term abortions.

State District Court Judge Eric Yost issued a summons for Tiller to appear in court on Wednesday to answer the charges, which carry a penalty of up to one year in prison for each count.

By early Friday afternoon, Sedgwick County District Attorney Nola Foulston stepped into the fray.

She asked State District Court Judge Paul Clark to dismiss the case because she said Kline had no authority to file the charges because he failed to consult with her office.

"The district attorney does in fact object to any such filing by the attorney general as he lacks the legal authority to file such complaint in this jurisdiction," Foulston said.

Clark agreed and dismissed the case.

By late Friday, Kline had dispatched an assistant by plane to find Clark to file an emergency motion for reconsideration. If unable to find the judge, Kline said he would seek an appeal next week. Kline also said he had consulted with Foulston. Foulston did not return a phone call for comment.

Three-year probe

The roller coaster of activity stemmed from Kline's nearly three-year investigation into clinics operated by Tiller and Planned Parenthood in Overland Park.

Kline said he has been investigating allegations of sex offenses against minors and illegal abortions. The clinics have denied any wrongdoing and said Kline has been on a fishing expedition.

The once-secret probe has gained national attention, and was seen as a major factor in Kline's defeat at the polls last month.

The winner, Democrat Paul Morrison, accused Kline of abusing his authority in the investigation. Tiller has long been a heavy political contributor opposing Kline.

After Morrison defeated Kline, he asked Kline to hold off on any legal actions in the investigation. Morrison said he would examine the case when he took office Jan. 8.

The allegations

But Kline didn't hold off, filing charges that allege violations of Kansas abortion laws.

The allegations concern 15 late-term abortions in 2003 to females aged 10 to 22.

Under Kansas law, late-term abortions are allowed only if the physical or mental health of the mother is in jeopardy.

Abortion doctor George Tiller

Abortion doctor George Tiller

In most of the abortions at issue, Tiller and a second doctor listed as justification for the abortion "major depressive disorder, "single episode," or "acute stress disorder," according to Kline.

Kline said those justifications don't fit the law's exemption that refers to "substantial and irreversible impairment to a major bodily function of the mother."

But Tiller's attorneys disputed Kline, saying, "A review of the charges makes clear that Phill Kline continues to belittle the role of a woman's mental health in her decision to terminate a pregnancy. Whether he likes it or not, the U.S. Supreme Court has held to the contrary," they said.

Kline responded, saying, "I would anticipate that any case like this is going to flush out a lot of constitutional issues."

Sides react

Remarking on the turn of events after the charges were dismissed, Mary Kay Culp, director of the state's largest anti-abortion group Kansans for Life, said, "When the issue is abortion, all the rules change. Nothing ever surprises me."

Abortion rights advocates, however, said it was Kline who wasn't following the rules.

"This is about Phill Kline's personal problem with women's right to control their own health care decisions," said Marla Patrick, state coordinator of Kansas NOW.

Comments

Richard Heckler 8 years, 5 months ago

JOCO republicans made a huge mistake by appointing this sometimes lawyer to the DA position. It probaly opened a lot of republican eyes as to WHAT is running their party. NOT repiblicans but neoconservatives.

Baille 8 years, 5 months ago

30 misdemeanors? Versus Kline's one (are we aure that is all) alleged misdemeanor for allegedly violating election laws?

Anyway, does anyone else find it odd that the exact same facts upon which these misdemeanors are based on the confidential information of which Bill O'Reilly claimed to have inside knowledge? Sumpin don't smell right 'round here. Makes it seem less likely that O'Reilly got his knowledge from a medical provider and more likely he got it from a loose-lipped, lame duck AG.

SettingTheRecordStraight 8 years, 5 months ago

Of course, the story doesn't mention that Nola Foulston is an ardent abortion supporter.

Lifesupport 8 years, 5 months ago

So, the cases were dismissed on the technicality that Kline did not consult with or was invited by the local DA to file the charges against Dr. Tiller. Are these other politicians willing to look the other way when it comes to wrongdoing by an abortionist just to preserve a "woman's right to abortion"? One never hears an official condemnation by pro-choice spokespeople when an abortion facility does not live up to the standard of care or a vow to clean up their act when one is below par. This just goes to show that legal abortion does not necessarily equal SAFE abortion.

Godot 8 years, 5 months ago

"Anyway, does anyone else find it odd that the exact same facts upon which these misdemeanors are based on the confidential information of which Bill O'Reilly claimed to have inside knowledge?"

Leaks of classified documents and information that may jeopardize troops are okay, but leaks about the alleged nefarious activities of Dr. Tiller are not?

kugrad 8 years, 5 months ago

They didn't print Kline's statement because it would be a waste of paper. Tiller should sue Kline in civil court for harrassment.

fletch 8 years, 5 months ago

Hey look, Republicans are blaming the media. That's a creative response.

Godot 8 years, 5 months ago

Chuckdowning, very interesting, and well documented. Thanks.

beatrice 8 years, 5 months ago

A legal smackdown at the end of his political career! Talk about allowing the door to hit him on the way out. Too funny.

Godot 8 years, 5 months ago

"Diane Silver used to be the Wichita Eagle's statehouse reporter (as was Rothschild). She now operates a liberal blog and routinely lambastes conservatives in Kansas."

I remember when Silver lost her lover to breast cancer. Very sad.

yourworstnightmare 8 years, 5 months ago

Chuckdowning, how about arguing the merits of Kline's investigation instead of attacking reporters?

Oh that's right. You can't, because his investigation is indefensible except by invoking right-wing christian nut-job ideology and dogma.

Kline is a loser and is detested by most Kansans for his ideological crusades. The proof is in the pudding; Kline lost his reelection in a landslide. In Kansas. Arguable one of the most conservative states. If a christian whack-job like Kline can't win in Kansas, it bodes ill for the religious right.

But please, right-wing republicans, keep propping up Kline and keeping him in the spotlight. You will continue to alienate more and more Kansans, allowing moderates to govern properly.

yourworstnightmare 8 years, 5 months ago

ibroke, you seem very confident that Tiller has "murdered over 60,000 inocent (sic) children", so you must believe that those aborted fetuses were human life.

I ask again, when do you think that human life begins?

Godot 8 years, 5 months ago

What I want to know is, why would Diane Silver, a gay woman, a leader in the movement to register gay civil unions in Lawrence, also be active in defending Tiller's abortion mill?

yourworstnightmare 8 years, 5 months ago

ibroke, I didnt ask you where, I asked you when. WHEN does human life begin inside the mothers womb?

yourworstnightmare 8 years, 5 months ago

ibroke lamented "...it seems like there are posts in this discussion making kline more of a bad guy then tiller....I dont understand that?????"

ibroke, I am trying to help you understand. When do you think human life begins?

Godot 8 years, 5 months ago

Show of hands here. Grandparents. Especially those of you whose granchild was a premie by 6 or 7 weeks. How could any of you possibly support the execution of an 8 or 9 month fetus? And how could any of you support the actions of the parents of a pregnant 10 year old who does not report the child's rape to the police, and who chose a physician to perform the abortion whom they believed would also not report the rape?

Godot 8 years, 5 months ago

Just to make the situation clear, a 10 year old is not a woman. A 10 year old is a child. A child does not have the power to make an informed choice. The parents, or adults in power, have the power to force a choice, and many other things, on the child.

I would have much more comfort in the direction of our country if people were at least as outraged about the non-reported rape of, and subsequent abortion procedure performed on, a 10 year old girl, as they were about a salacious email sent to a 17 year old boy.

yourworstnightmare 8 years, 5 months ago

Show of hands here. How many out there would support forcing a 12-year-old girl who had been raped to bear the child? How many would support forcing a woman to continue a pregnancy that might result in her death?

yourworstnightmare 8 years, 5 months ago

ibroke has become strangely silent after a few emotional outbursts. Maybe he/she/it is consulting the bible for instruction on when human life begins...

yourworstnightmare 8 years, 5 months ago

Facts, shadower? Please. Facts only divert one from ideology and dogma. Godot has no use for them.

yourworstnightmare 8 years, 5 months ago

Facts, shadower? Please. Facts only divert one from ideology and dogma. Godot has no use for them.

Godot 8 years, 5 months ago

"Show of hands here. How many out there would support forcing a 12-year-old girl who had been raped to bear the child? "

Certainly not the ones who would cover up the rape that caused the pregnancy.

You do yourself no favor by appearing to trivialize the serious crime of child abuse.

Godot 8 years, 5 months ago

Agreed, Kline has not yet proven that child abuse occurred in a Tiller abortion. He has enough evidence to convince a judge that there is reasonable cause to indict.

It will now be up to Morrisson to review the evidence and take the appropriate action.

Ragingbear 8 years, 5 months ago

Yes, his charges are all based around "Well, if you give us free reign to question all of the people that came here, and their families, and everyone they ever came in contact with, we may find out that a 16 year old had sex with a 15 year old who was 2 weeks away from their birthday."

Kline should not be in any government office. He SHOULD be in jail.

MyName 8 years, 5 months ago

I would have much more comfort in the direction of our country if people were at least as outraged about the non-reported rape of, and subsequent abortion procedure performed on, a 10 year old girl, as they were about a salacious email sent to a 17 year old boy.

This is a complete red herring:

1) Obviously the rape of the 10 year old was reported, otherwise it would have been included in the charges. The misdemeanor was about the procedure itself, not the reporting aspect.

2) You have yet to show that Phill Kline cares more about the 10 year old (or anyone else involved in this case) than he does about his political career. This investigation would have been conducted in an entirely different manner if it was motivated by anything other than creating a media circus to benefit Phill Kline's quest for higher office.

3) How dare you try and point to one instance of possible and unproven wrongdoing and then make the claim that this justifies Kline's entire fishing expedition. There are no charges against Tiller in this case, and even if there were the man is still innocent until proven guilty, and yet you act like there is some massive coverup.

Answer me this: if the outgoing Attorney General's case is so strong, why couldn't he even convince the District Attorney to follow through on this? On the other hand, if this is nothing more than a political stunt based on trumped up allegations, then would you expect the District Attorney to act any differently than she did?

badger 8 years, 5 months ago

Chuckdowning, how dare you bring someone's religious affilation into this to imply that he cannot be an objective journalist?

That would be equivalent to my saying that a Christian reporter could not be objective on any moral issue without interjecting his Biblical viewpoint into it.

Are you suggesting that those with strong faith cannot be objective about moral or ethical social issues?

Because that's sure what it looks like from here. Which is ironic, given that the context is a government official who is accused of allowing his religious beliefs to cloud his objectivity, to the point of skirting legal requirements for filing criminal charges and potentially leaking confidential client data to someone nominally considered a reporter. Why is the reporter's objectivity questionable to you because of his faith, if you're not willing to have Phill Kline's questioned because of his?

And Godot, let's turn your question around? Why is the illegal release of confidential client data permissible, but not the publishing of information about a potentially illegal government-run wiretapping operation? I seem to recall you condemning earlier leaks of confidential information. What makes you condone it now?

boldaq 8 years, 5 months ago

Fetal Development From conception to 20 weeks

Day 1: fertilization: all human chromosomes are present; unique human life begins.

Day 6: embryo begins implantation in the uterus.

Day 22: heart begins to beat with the child's own blood, often a different type than the mothers'.

Week 3: By the end of third week the child's backbone spinal column and nervous system are forming. The liver, kidneys and intestines begin to take shape.

Week 4: By the end of week four the child is ten thousand times larger than the fertilized egg.

Week 5: Eyes, legs, and hands begin to develop.

Week 6: Brain waves are detectable; mouth and lips are present; fingernails are forming.

Week 7: Eyelids, and toes form, nose distinct. The baby is kicking and swimming.

Week 8: Every organ is in place, bones begin to replace cartilage, and fingerprints begin to form. By the 8th week the baby can begin to hear.

Weeks 9 and 10: Teeth begin to form, fingernails develop. The baby can turn his head, and frown. The baby can hiccup.

Weeks 10 and 11: The baby can "breathe" amniotic fluid and urinate. Week 11 the baby can grasp objects placed in its hand; all organ systems are functioning. The baby has a skeletal structure, nerves, and circulation.

Week 12: The baby has all of the parts necessary to experience pain, including nerves, spinal cord, and thalamus. Vocal cords are complete. The baby can suck its thumb.

Week 14: At this age, the heart pumps several quarts of blood through the body every day.

Week 15: The baby has an adult's taste buds.

Month 4: Bone Marrow is now beginning to form. The heart is pumping 25 quarts of blood a day. By the end of month 4 the baby will be 8-10 inches in length and will be one half of its birth weight.

Week 17: The baby can have dream (REM) sleep.

Week 19: Babies can routinely be saved at 21 to 22 weeks after fertilization, and sometimes they can be saved even younger.

Week 20: THE EARLIEST STAGE AT WHICH PARTIAL BIRTH ABORTIONS ARE PERFORMED. At 20 weeks the baby recognizes its' mothers voice.

moxxie_mama 8 years, 5 months ago

Bold- Babies born at 20 weeks are NOT routinely saved. I have a very good friend who is a neonatal nurse and she says the earliest she has seen live is 23 weeks. And that doesn't even address the major problems those kids have. But who cares about quality of life, right?

I know a lady who gave birth and almost died from eclampsia, her baby was 24 weeks- which should have been 'salvageable' (not necessarily normal), but underdeveloped at about 20 weeks probably from her condition. The hospital didn't even have the equipment to handle a baby that small. The baby did die, but before that would have needed limb amputations had it had lived.

And partial birth abortions are not done anymore. So I don't know where you get your information, but I suggest you look into facts.

yourworstnightmare 8 years, 5 months ago

boldaq, I appreciate your cut-and-paste rundown of human embryonic development. I do have an issue with your add-on that "At 20 weeks the baby recognizes its' mothers voice". I would need to see the evidence for this claim in order to accept it.

A cut-and-paste of chimp or ape development would look very much the same. Your post does not answer the question. When does human life begin?

yourworstnightmare 8 years, 5 months ago

ibroke,

So your evidence that Tiller has murdered thousands of human lives is that your god told you? Sorry, this is not an argument, it is a statement of faith. As such, it will not and cannot be accepted by those who do not share your belief in this god or any god.

By the by, how did your god tell you? Did you read it in the bible? If so, I would sure like to know where in the bible god explains when human life begins and how that relates to human embryonic development.

Justify your intemperate ranting about abortion being murder.

yourworstnightmare 8 years, 5 months ago

parkay snarled: "If there is justice in 2007, abortionist quack Tiller will start a very long prison sentence when convicted on multiple infanticide and assorted illegal abortion convictions,"

Well, parkay, I'm happy that you find this forum a good place to click your heels together and exhibit your wishful thinking, because there certainly is no logical argument in your statements.

For your wish to come true, the laws and constitution of the state and nation would need to be changed substantially. In case you didnt read the article, the charges brought by Kline were thrown out by a judge who didn't think they had merit with respect to the law. A judge elected in Kansas, nonetheless.

Maybe when the US is a christian theocracy, after laws are abandoned and judges executed, your wish will come true.

Ragingbear 8 years, 5 months ago

I don't know why these anti-abortionist are all in a tizzy anyways. The mythological book you believe in says that infants and children get an immediate pass into heaven. Of course ,you don't read that book, you just believe what your preacher tells you. All the while grinning and giving him/her more money so that they can live a life much better than yours for 4 hours of work a week.

EvaTrujillo 8 years, 5 months ago

I'm grateful the charges were dismissed. I admire Dr. Tiller and all the other physicians who provide this service.

badger 8 years, 5 months ago

Boldaq said:

"Week 19: Babies can routinely be saved at 21 to 22 weeks after fertilization, and sometimes they can be saved even younger."

Badger says, "Source, please, and not from a website that takes either side in the debate. Try something with an '.edu' or a '.gov' at the end of it, perhaps? And while you're at it, let's have some statistics for 'routinely', huh? Are we talking about a success rate of one in a hundred? One in a thousand? One in ten thousand? One in a million? As far as I know, 23 weeks is the critical age of viability, when there's any sort of reasonable, non-miracle chance that a premature delivery could have any success. Outside of that, there's minimal chance of survival - and given that a woman having an abortion at 20 weeks is more likely to be doing it for her health or because there's an unresolvable birth defect, you're already stacked against. Elective abortions generally happen in the first trimester, sport."

"Week 20: THE EARLIEST STAGE AT WHICH PARTIAL BIRTH ABORTIONS ARE PERFORMED."

Badger says, "Where, exactly are they being performed? You know, given that they've been illegal under Federal law for the last three years. Citation, please."

Kiddo, you need to realize that bad facts, hyperbole, ALL-CAPS SHOUTING, and cut-and-paste propaganda aren't how reasonable debate should be conducted between adults. Try facts, with reliable backup. Try not posting propaganda from anti-abortion websites. Try checking your facts with biology and existing federal law.

Baille 8 years, 5 months ago

"Leaks of classified documents and information that may jeopardize troops are okay, but leaks about the alleged nefarious activities of Dr. Tiller are not?"

So assuming the source of the O'Reilly leak is Kline, it is OK for Phill, the top law enforcement officer in the state, to break the law because others may have broken the law as well? What sort of reasoning is that, Godot

Linda Endicott 8 years, 5 months ago

Exactly what kind of life do you think these 20 (you claim) week old babies have if they survive, boldaq?

The more premature a baby is, the more likely it is that it will have physical and/or developmental problems that will make life difficult, if not hellish.

If you don't like abortion, then I suggest you not get one. Otherwise, leave the decision to the woman who is pregnant.

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