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ACLJ Lawyers Take On Planned Parenthood at the Kansas Supreme Court

On Friday, May 2, 2008, the Kansas Supreme Court unsealed the case against current Johnson County District Attorney, and former Kansas Attorney General, Phill Kline, who has been investigating whether abortion clinics are in violation of Kansas laws.

 

The case was filed by Comprehensive Health of Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri in June 2007.  Then-Kansas Attorney General Paul Morrison, who had replaced Kline as Attorney General, intervened in the case in support of Planned Parenthood.  Morrison has since resigned from office amidst an embarrassing scandal involving a female employee.

 

ACLJ attorneys Edward White and Carly Gammill, along with Caleb Stegall of Perry, Kansas, and Edward Greim of Kansas City, Missouri, represent Kline.

 

At the heart of the case is Planned Parenthoods claim that Kline should be held in contempt of court for using redacted patient records in his criminal investigation and prosecution of Planned Parenthood.  Planned Parenthood seeks an order instructing Kline to return the records so they may not be used as evidence.

 

According to Edward White, Planned Parenthood, as a criminal defendant, is attempting to thwart a valid criminal prosecution by having the Supreme Court order Kline to return evidence of criminal activity.  Such a result would be an unprecedented invasion of the province of a prosecutor to enforce the laws of his State.

 

Every judge who has reviewed the evidence Kline has gathered against Planned Parenthood has determined there is probable cause to believe that Planned Parenthood has committed crimes against Kansas law.  Such probable cause determinations have led Kline to file 107 criminal counts against Planned Parenthood, including charges of performing illegal abortions and falsifying documents to hide criminal activity.

 

Carly Gammill noted that Planned Parenthood receives taxpayer dollars each year.  Along with enforcing Kansas criminal laws, one important part of this prosecution is for the public to learn whether their money is funding an organization engaged in blatantly illegal activity.  Regardless of whether taxpayer dollars are expressly allocated to the performing of abortions, the availability of such money may be contributing indirectly to illegal, late-term abortions by Planned Parenthood.

 

One of the unsealed documents is the 44-page report of Judge David King, the special master appointed by the Court to hold a fact-finding hearing, conducted over five days this past November and December.  The report refutes Planned Parenthoods claims that Kline lacks the authority to possess and use the medical records in his criminal prosecution.  The report also indicates the absence of any factual basis for Planned Parenthoods claim that Kline improperly distributed copies of the records to the media and to the Kansas Legislature.

 

Although we are pleased that the Court has granted our motion to unseal the case, we have much more work to do, explained White.  We still have additional briefing to file by May 29, 2008, and we must prepare for oral argument on June 12, 2008, before the Kansas Supreme Court on all issues affecting the final disposition of the case, which will include our motion to dismiss the lawsuit against Kline.

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