Celebrate Life January-February 2012

Phill Kline: A profile of rare courage

By Jenn Giroux

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In the 1970s, the world was shocked by Dr. and Mrs. Jack Willke’s Handbook on Abortion, which first exposed the public to the gruesome reality of abortion. In the 1980s and ’90s, Joe Scheidler’s Pro-Life Action League ushered in pro-life street activism nationwide through its public displays of graphic abortion images, prayer vigils, demonstrations, and sidewalk counseling at abortion mills. And modern American pro-life activism was taken to a whole new level shortly after an intrepid attorney general was elected in 2002. His story is still unfolding.

After earning a law degree from the University of Kansas School of Law in 1987, Phillip D. “Phill” Kline worked as an attorney in private practice until his election to the Kansas House of Representatives in 1992, where he served until 2000. There he helped write and pass Kansas Statute 65-6703, enacted in 1998.

This law prohibits the abortion of viable preborn babies after 22 weeks unless two physicians not legally or financially affiliated with each other determine that “[t]he abortion is necessary to preserve the life of the pregnant woman” or “a continuation of the pregnancy will cause a substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function of the pregnant woman.” Part of the law’s intent was to hold the Kansas abortion industry accountable for its diagnoses and abortion reporting, with oversight provided by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE).

The firestorm begins

As attorney general of Kansas, Kline’s visionary leadership resulted in numerous achievements and hundreds of criminal investigations. But the “mainstream” media has focused on just one investigation: the criminal case against late-term abortionist George Tiller (who was slain in 2009) and Planned Parenthood.

Under Kansas law, abortion facilities must report the pregnancy of any girl age 15 and under to the Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services (SRS). Abortion facilities must additionally report statistical information on each abortion to the KDHE. Kline discovered that, from 2002 to 2003, 166 reported abortions had been committed on children 14 years old and younger, but in the same time period, Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri (in Johnson County, Kansas) and Tiller’s abortion mill (in Wichita) had each reported only one instance of child rape to the SRS.

In September 2004, after reviewing Kline’s evidence, District Judge Richard Anderson subpoenaed medical records from both facilities. They resisted, and the case went all the way to the Kansas Supreme Court, which ruled in February 2006 that Kline was entitled to the records. However, despite the fact that this was a criminal investigation, the court allowed PP and Tiller to redact their own records. The removal of information that would identify adult patients was ordered, but the attorney general’s office needed the names of patients 15 and under in order to investigate child sexual abuse and protect the victims.

If it were proven that PP wasn’t reporting child rape, federal law required PP to forfeit all of its federal funding. (Currently, PP nationwide receives over $363 million in annual taxpayer funding.) The abortion industry quickly recognized the threat to its income and public image. So,  the clarion call went out among its ranks nationwide, and the brutal attack on Kline’s reputation began. “The assault was unbelievable and unrelenting for the next several years,” he told World magazine (May 21, 2011). Meanwhile, PP and Tiller enjoyed the full allegiance and protection of Governor Kathleen Sebelius1 and the Kansas Supreme Court.2

The assault reached fever pitch as Kline prepared to file criminal charges and campaign for re-election in 2006. Millions of pro-abortion dollars flowed into Kansas, and the resulting onslaught of media bashing and well-funded, dishonest political ads led to Kline being defeated by Paul Morrison,3 the Johnson County district attorney whom Sebelius had recruited to run against him. The anti-Kline bias of the Kansas City Star, the state’s most influential newspaper, was so blatant that PP gave it a Maggie Award in 2006.

The delays caused by PP and Tiller’s numerous legal maneuvers resulted in Kline gaining access to the subpoenaed abortion records just two weeks before the November 2006 election. However, truth somehow found a way. In December 2006, he was elected as Johnson County district attorney in a special election, thus replacing Morrison and retaining jurisdiction over the criminal case against PP.

In October 2007, Kline filed a stunning 107-count criminal indictment against PP, which made him the first (and so far, the only) prosecutor to criminally prosecute the nation’s largest abortion chain.4 The charges consisted of 23 felony counts of manufacturing documents, 26 misdemeanor counts of failure to maintain proper records, 29 misdemeanor counts of failure to determine preborn babies’ viability prior to committing late-term abortion, and 29 misdemeanor counts of unlawful late-term abortions.

Since these charges were filed, three judges have reviewed the evidence and agreed there was probable cause that crimes had been committed. And at a January 2008 hearing, Kline called to the stand Judge Anderson, who had overseen the case from the beginning. The judge testified that it appeared PP’s medical records had indeed been falsified and therefore felonies had apparently been committed to cover up misdemeanors. He further testified that he had consulted a handwriting expert, who confirmed Kline’s suspicions about foul play with the records.

Planned Parenthood’s scorched-earth strategy

Judge Anderson’s testimony was devastating to PP, and thus in May 2008, the Kansas Supreme Court cam to PP’s rescue. Without notifying Kline, it secretly ordered the judge not to testify, and suppressed other evidence while the abortion lobby sought to publicly discredit Kline. The time clock was running to continue the delays in the legal process until his term was over. From 2004 to 2008, Kline was sued by the Center for Reproductive Freedom, PP (three times), the Kansas Supreme Court (twice), Tiller, Morrison, and Morrison’s successor, Attorney General Stephen Six.

In December 2007, by order of the Kansas Supreme Court, Kline was forced into a secret trial wherein PP’s attorneys were allowed to interrogate him about the criminal evidence against the organization. In all, Kline has spent over 50 hours on the witness stand, under oath.

In 2006, the Kansas Supreme Court had ordered an investigation of Kline’s handling of the abortion records and his conduct as an attorney. After a two-year investigation, Lucky DeFries, chairman of the Topeka Bar Association’s Ethics and Grievance Committee, submitted a report to the Kansas Board for Discipline of Attorneys in May 2008 (shortly before Kline’s bid for re-election as Johnson County district attorney) that cleared him of all charges of ethics violations. However, the report wasn’t made public until two years after Kline’s defeat. It was discovered in January 2010 by attorneys working on a related disciplinary case against Kline. He was additionally cleared of any wrongdoing by three district judges.

To prosecute the felony charges, Kline needed to verify certain information indicated in the abortion records. That’s when PP’s political influence reared its ugly head from the highest office in Kansas. The KDHE (which keeps abortion compliance reports) refused to cooperate with his attempt to obtain the needed documents.

In October 2011 it was revealed that, in 2005, the KDHE (while under Sebelius’ supervision as governor) destroyed these abortion records. Furthermore, the only copies were destroyed in 2009 by the office of Sebelius-appointed Attorney General Stephen Six.5 

Because PP’s delaying tactics pushed the trial date for the criminal case beyond Kline’s first term as Johnson County district attorney, he needed to be re-elected to finish the prosecution. Thus, many Kline supporters were shocked and angered when then Kansas senator (and now governor) Sam Brownback endorsed Steve Howe, a “moderate” Republican. Some believe Brownback acted out of concern for his own gubernatorial campaign and a desire to avoid the fury of the leftist Kansas media.

Howe was elected to replace Kline in November 2008. In November 2011, after the document shredding came to light, District Attorney Howe requested that the felony charges against PP be dismissed. These were the charges that could have led to PP losing its federal funding.

Since 2009, Kline has been a visiting law professor at Liberty University School of Law in Lynchburg, Virginia. However, the abortion lobby’s persecution of him is relentless. In October 2011, in response to a second ethics complaint against Kline filed by the Kansas Supreme Court in 2008, the Kansas disciplinary board for attorneys found him guilty of ethical misconduct and recommended that he be barred from practicing or teaching law anywhere in the U.S. Next, this recommendation will be considered by the largely Sebelius-appointed Kansas Supreme Court.6

In December 2011, Kline’s legal team filed a brief that will be argued before the Kansas Supreme Court in 2012. Pro-life organizations are now being encouraged to file amicus briefs to help expose the injustices perpetrated against Kline because he dared to reveal crimes committed by PP.

An inspiration for others

Pro-life activists across America have since followed Phill Kline’s lead in exposing the sordid and illegal practices of Planned Parenthood affiliates nationwide. As a result, the largest abortion chain’s once pristine image has been seriously tarnished and tremendous momentum has been gained in the battle to end its lavish tax funding. But will other prosecutors follow his lead? How many leaders today could or would endure what Kline and his family have endured to protect young girls, women, and the preborn?

Kline continues to be an inspirational pillar of strength and integrity for pro-life activists. PP and its allies may succeed in shamelessly removing his law license without cause, but they will never take away his faith, knowledge, skill, memory, or ability to continue on in the battle for life until God’s timing allows the fruits of his long-suffering perseverance to yield complete victory for the preborn.

Jenn Giroux is a lifetime pro-life activist and chaired Phill Kline’s campaign for election to a full term as Johnson County district attorney in 2008. She and her husband, Dan, have nine children and reside in Cincinnati, Ohio.

1U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius was governor of Kansas during Phill Kline’s attempt to investigate and criminally prosecute late-term abortionist George Tiller and Planned Parenthood. Pro-life/pro-family and conservative news sites such as www.LifeSiteNews.com, www.CNSNews.com, and www.WashingtonTimes.com have published numerous articles exposing the close ties between her and these abortion perpetrators. Sebelius calls herself a Catholic, and thus, in 2008, Archbishop Joseph Naumann of Kansas City, Kansas, publicly ordered her to refrain from receiving Holy Communion, due to her very public pro-abortion stance.—Ed.

2Kansas Supreme Court justices are appointed by the governor for lifetime terms without going through a confirmation process. As governor, Sebelius appointed five of the seven justices currently serving, including Carol Beier, formerly a lawyer for the pro-abortion National Women’s Law Center.—Ed.

 3After taking office in January 2007 as Kansas attorney general, Paul Morrison sued both Judge Richard Anderson and Phill Kline, in an effort to force both men to give up evidence against Planned Parenthood in their possession. He also issued a letter clearing PP of criminal wrongdoing. Morrison lost both lawsuits, but his litigation delayed the investigation for years more. In December 2007, Morrison’s mistress, who worked in the Johnson County district attorney’s office (where Kline took over as district attorney in January 2007), publicly alleged that Morrison was attempting to use their relationship to interfere with the investigation of PP. As a result, Morrison resigned as attorney general early in 2008. Sebelius appointed Stephen Six to succeed Morrison. Like Morrison, Six acted repeatedly to obstruct the investigation.—Ed.

4The charges were filed only after District Judge James Vano reviewed Kline’s evidence in a two-day hearing and found probable cause to believe Planned Parenthood had committed the crimes alleged.

5The destruction of the original records in 2005 occurred at a time when Sebelius knew they were relevant to Kline’s criminal investigation. The destruction of the copies by the attorney general’s office in 2009 occurred when Six knew the records were evidence of criminal activity by Planned Parenthood. District Judge Richard Anderson had testified that these same records demonstrate that PP had committed felonies to cover up misdemeanor crimes.

6The same Sebelius-appointed Supreme Court filed the 2008 ethics complaint against Kline, appointed the prosecutor, and appointed the board that found Kline guilty in 2011. Among its claims against Kline are that it was unethical for him to refuse to tell Sebelius early on that he was investigating Sebelius’ political allies. Kline’s investigators testified they were concerned that Sebelius would tip off the abortion facilities and that records would be destroyed. We now know that when Sebelius learned Kline was investigating Tiller and PP, Sebelius-controlled agencies did just that: destroyed the evidence. The same Court’s prosecutor also claimed it was unethical for Kline to investigate the abortion facilities because he is pro-life.

Learn more and take action!

The mind-boggling lengths to which Big Abortion and its accomplices have gone to stop Phill Kline’s criminal investigation can’t be fully appreciated without visiting www.StandwithTruth.com (his own website) and www.PlannedParenthoodCorruption.com. See also the American Life League Report videos titled “He Said, She Shred” and “Planned Parenthood’s Political Machine” on  www.YouTube.com.

To become fully informed about Planned Parenthood and learn how to stop it, visit www.STOPP.org. Visit www.StopPlannedParenthood.com to help defund PP, as well as support Kline and call for Kathleen Sebelius’ resignation as U.S. Health and Human Services secretary.

The Action Alert for Kline enables citizens to express to Governor Sam Brownback and the Kansas Supreme Court justices their grave concern that Kline is being intentionally destroyed by those wishing to protect PP from prosecution and loss of tax funding, and insist that Kline be vindicated and PP be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law for violating applicable state laws.

The Action Alert regarding Sebelius enables citizens to call on her to resign because, under her watch as governor of Kansas, critical evidence tying PP to failure to report child rape was destroyed by a state agency. The documents were shredded during a criminal investigation of PP in Kansas. Sebelius is notorious for her support of abortion and PP.

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