Kansas group attacks Health and Human Services secretary for Planned Parenthood case

By | 10.24.11 | 3:35 pm

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius (Pic by US Mission Geneva, via Flickr)

The anti-abortion group Kansans for Life is taking aim at U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary and former Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius for a 2005 case involving Planned Parenthood.

The group is accussing Sebelius of “destroying incriminating evidence” that it claims is “at the heart of the current felony charges against Planned Parenthood of Kansas Mid-Missouri.”

Kansas, a state rife with anti-abortion activism, currently has one licensed women’s health clinic that offers abortions: Planned Parenthood. Anti-abortion advocates have been trying to get every women’s health clinic that provides abortions in the state closed down for many years. This past legislative session, laws were passed that targeted clinics that offer abortion, which made it more difficult for clinics to operate.

Planned Parenthood was charged in 2005 by former Johnson County District Attorney Phill Kline of 23 felony counts of falsifying pregnancy termination reports, The Kansas City Star reports.

Kansans for Life says records important to the case were shredded by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment. Officials say the shredding was part of a “routine” destruction of state documents, the City Star reports. The records were also shredded two years before charges were filed:

The shredding occurred when KDHE was under Democratic Gov. Kathleen Sebelius. Officials at KDHE, now part of Republican Gov. Sam Brownback’s administration, declined to comment.

The destroyed records were critical in establishing the authenticity of records from 2003 that Kline obtained when he investigated Planned Parenthood as attorney general. Planned Parenthood also provided copies of the records, but Kline contended that those did not match the ones he had in his possession.

In 2007, after he became Johnson County prosecutor, Kline filed a 107-count complaint against the abortion provider.

In addition to the 23 felonies, the complaint also charged Planned Parenthood with multiple misdemeanor counts of failing to maintain the pregnancy termination reports, failing to perform viability tests on fetuses and unlawful late-term abortions.

Kansans for Life Executive Director Mary Kay Culp said in a recent press release that “only guilty people destroy evidence; not even we anticipated Sebelius and her administration could stoop this low to protect abortion industry criminality, but this proves they did.”

“Sebelius wanted to insure that evidence of illegal abortions was removed before Kline could use it to convict her abortion industry campaign supporters,” she said in a statement.

City Star also reports that Kline, however, has a history of ethical misconduct in the state of Kansas:

Kline’s investigations of Planned Parenthood and the late George Tiller’s abortion clinic in Wichita, which started in 2003, got him in trouble with the state Supreme Court and the Kansas Board for Discipline of Attorneys.

The board recently recommended that Kline be indefinitely suspended from practicing law in Kansas, saying his investigations were marred by ethical misconduct that included providing false or misleading information to the courts. The decision is up to the state Supreme Court, which once rebuked him for his handling of the abortion case.

Kline, now a law professor at Liberty University in Virginia, accused the abortion providers of violating state law and covering for pedophiles by not reporting pregnancies of underage girls. He sought medical records of former patients to prove his case.

In the past, Kansas-based anti-abortion group Operation Rescue has touted the tactic of charging clinics with breaking the law in an effort to get them shut down. The group’s president Troy Newman told The Florida Independent that anti-abortion rights groups such as Operation Rescue need to focus on getting abortion-providers prosecuted.

“I have yet to find an abortion mill that doesn’t violate the law,” Newman said.

This past March, Newman said that “exposing the abuses of the abortion-cartel” and prosecuting-providers will continue to play a big role in the anti-abortion movement moving forward. “That is what we will be coming down on,” he said.

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