Archive for Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Court orders review of abortion subpoenas

May 6, 2008


— The Kansas Supreme Court Tuesday ordered a lower court to review subpoenas issued by a grand jury seeking records from Dr. George Tiller's abortion clinic.

In a unanimous decision, the court upheld the constitutionality of citizen-initiated grand juries, such as the one investigating Tiller, but said the panel's subpoenas must be scrutinized by state district court judges who are overseeing the case.

"Grand juries are not licensed to engage in arbitrary fishing expeditions, nor may they select targets of investigation out of malice or with an intent to harass," Justice Lee A. Johnson wrote for the court.

Through a petition drive process available only in Kansas and five other states, anti-abortion groups were able to convene a grand jury in Wichita to investigate their accusations that Tiller has been violating restrictions on late-term abortions. Tiller denies any wrongdoing, and says the grand jury proceeding amounts to harassment.

That grand jury has ordered Tiller to provide the medical records of patients who sought late-term abortions between July 1, 2003, and Jan. 18, 2008.

The state Supreme Court instructed the district judges to determine if the subpoenas are too broad in scope and whether patient records would be too burdensome to produce.

The judges must also determine if the grand jury is engaging in harassment. If so, then the subpoeanas must be stopped, the court ruled. If not, the district court must determine if the state's interest to prosecute alleged crimes is greater than the patients' constitutional privacy interests.

If the records are eventually subpoenaed, all patient identifying information must be redacted, reviewed by an independent attorney and physician, and kept within the grand jury proceeding, the court ordered.


twaldaisy 10 years ago

I have a question. How does Kline and his cronies even know that late term abortions have been done illegally? Don't they have to have some kind of evidence to present to even begin getting subpoena's? Plus I thought all this started with Tiller doing underage girls abortions and Kline wanted to prosecute for statutory rape. I realize Kline is officially no longer behind the Tiller case, but I bet he has his finger in the pie still. Most especially now that he is harrassing Planned Parenthood in JOCO for the same thing that has been proven twice before that PP had done no wrong. If underage girls or women want an abortion that is on their conscious and it is nobody's business but their own. It is a tough decision and I am thankful I never had to make that decision. There are already way too many abused and unwanted children that are dying every day that fell thru the cracks of SRS or the police.

twaldaisy 10 years ago

Thanks geniusmannumber1 exactly my point.

staff04 10 years ago

I'll bet the Operation Rescue Donation Club members are in a check-writing frenzy today.

staff04 10 years ago

Did I beat parkay and STRS to an abortion story?The rapture must be upon us...

twaldaisy 10 years ago

It is proof that people kill babies/children every day outside of the womb.

Confrontation 10 years ago

Kansas needs to get rid of this Grand Jury junk. It's a waste of time and money.

dweezil222 10 years ago

These citizens' grand juries are just a flat-out bad idea. Too much potential for abuse by people with no idea about how the law affords rights such as, say, privacy, which for medical records is supposed to be very, very rigid. There's a reason a doctor-patient privilege exists in the law, and it's precisely to guard against unwarranted intrusions like this. The women from Tiller's clinic, whether or not late-term abortions were performed, deserve to have their privacy protected. At the very least, the judge overseeing these subpoenas needs to take steps to protect the individual women, by blocking out identifying intormation BEFORE these become public record. Hopefully, Parkay, before you and your fellow pro-lifers had the decency to do so before your legislative report. Otherwise, don't get pissed when someone decides they want to broadcast your medical history to all the world, too.

staff04 10 years ago

lucky, where do you think the people who you mention get the money to give?

geniusmannumber1 10 years ago

"As proof there is an article in today's paper about 3 babies found in the freezer and the mother was arrested."As proof of what? As proof that there's a lot of people in the world who should be having abortions instead of children? I should think that would be obvious.

1029 10 years ago

Right on, geniusmannumber1. It is impossibly for one to be fully aware of what is going on in society and also be vocally "pro-life" at the same time. If I was a "pro-lifer", I would keep it to myself and not want anyone to know it. Identifing as "pro-life" is a shorter way of saying "I'm an isolated jacka** and I am completely ignorant of the world around me and the fact that some people lead lives filled with more complexity and conflict than my own happy little christian life here in Kansas."Plus, pro-lifers are cruel in that they insist that a child be born unloved with fetal alcohol syndrome or some other mental deficiency due to drug use. This "debate" is so ridiculous. At least it helps in defining who the idiots of society are, though.

twaldaisy 10 years ago

As proof there is an article in today's paper about 3 babies found in the freezer and the mother was arrested.

staff04 10 years ago

Keep going lucky. Eventually you'll get to John Q. Citizen as the source of that money as well.

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