By Jenn Giroux
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).
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....
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