Abortion opponents want clinic investigated

? A coalition of abortion opponents wants a grand jury formed to investigate whether Planned Parenthood’s Overland Park clinic is complying with state abortion laws.

The Life Is for Everyone (LIFE) coalition, which is circulating a petition, says it has reason to believe that Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri and its Comprehensive Health clinic in Overland Park might be violating the law.

“There’s too much controversy surrounding Planned Parenthood at this point,” said Troy Newman, president of anti-abortion group Operation Rescue. “I think an independent grand jury can get to the bottom of it.”

A spokeswoman for Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri deferred comment to the group’s president, Peter Brownlie, who was out of town Wednesday and couldn’t be reached.

In seeking the investigation, abortion foes are using a 1970 state law that allows the public to petition for a grand jury.

If convened, the grand jury would be the second in Johnson County this year. One that adjourned Tuesday was formed after a citizens group filed a petition calling for investigations of businesses believed to be promoting obscenity. That grand jury issued nearly 40 indictments, including four obscenity cases.

The grand jury that the LIFE coalition is calling for would investigate whether Planned Parenthood performs illegal late-term abortions, whether it fails to report child abuse and whether it takes part in the illegal trafficking of fetal tissue.

The coalition also wants the grand jury to determine whether Planned Parenthood provides “false information in order to induce government action or inaction,” whether it fails to comply with parental consent requirements, whether it fails to enforce the required 24-hour waiting period before an abortion can be performed and whether it fails to follow the required standard of care in providing medical advice.

Newman, of Wichita, said the coalition believes it can collect the required 3,500 registered voter signatures in a few weeks. The petition has to be certified by the Johnson County elections office and approved by the county’s district judges.

Tim Golba, spokesman for the coalition and former director of Kansans for Life, said the group is not accusing Planned Parenthood of any wrongdoing.

Kansas is one of only six states where a citizens petition can compel a county to convene a grand jury.