Prosecution questions the constitutionality of Planned Parenthood’s demands
Overland Park, Kansas – In a case involving 107 criminal charges related to illegal late-term abortions, attorneys for Comprehensive Health of Planned Parenthood, located in Overland Park, Kansas, have filed two motions for “protective orders” in advance of a scheduled motion hearing on July 15.
The Planned Parenthood motions request that the court set up a complicated computer system to insure that no one attending the public trial can see the evidence except for the judge, jury, and attorneys, even though all evidence has already been heavily redacted to prevent the identification of any particular patient. In some cases, the data in question is public information available on a web site operated by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE).
Assistant Johnson County District Attorney Christopher L. McMullin objects to the Planned Parenthood demands in a formal response filed with the Court on May 25, 2011.
“Notwithstanding the competing rights – of the defendant to a public trial, of the media to a public trial, of the public to a public trial – these measures are unnecessary (and perhaps unconstitutional),” wrote McMullin, who is the prosecutor of record.
Planned Parenthood also demands to be immediately notified if the prosecution decides to seek further subpoenas if KDHE records so it may object. However, McMullin, insists that Planned Parenthood “has no standing to object to the issuance of such a subpoena, and no authority to insinuate itself into the process for handling the forms should they be retained.”
“This is nothing more than a continuation of Planned Parenthood’s 8-year effort to cover-up – and ultimately destroy – the evidence against them. They are wrongly hiding behind the skirts of their patients’ privacy rights in order to conceal their crimes,” said Operation Rescue President Troy Newman. “These documents have all been so censored that no one could ever guess a patient’s identity, especially after eight years. Planned Parenthood’s motions are really an underhanded attempt to subvert justice.”
The motions for protective orders concern two types of documents. The first are abortion records dating back to 2003, which were obtained through subpoena and have already been heavily redacted “beyond HIPAA requirements.” These documents are in compliance with strict redaction rules imposed by the pro-abortion Kansas Supreme Court to assure the protection of the identity of abortion patients.
The second class of documents is KDHE Reports of Induced Termination of Pregnancy (TOPs). These are KDHE-generated forms that abortionists must fill out for each abortion. The forms do not contain patient names or the name of the abortion provider, but contain generic information that is compiled and released to the public.
So heavily redacted are the TOPs forms currently in evidence that even the box labels are redacted despite the fact that copies of the form are public and online on the KDHE Web Site. An example of actual redacted TOPs forms can be viewed here.
“After viewing an example of the redactions that are already in place, Planned Parenthood’s demands for special treatment become ludicrous, if not comical,” said Newman. “They are using ‘smoke-and-mirrors’ arguments to make it appear that privacy is at issue when it is not. There’s no doubt that Planned Parenthood is more concerned about keeping ‘private’ evidence of their guilt, than they are about women.”
Assistant District Attorney McMullin agrees that Planned Parenthood’s concerns are baseless.
“The Office of District Attorney for the Tenth Judicial District has vast experience in presenting evidence of a sensitive nature in open Court,” wrote McMullin in his response. “For instance, this office routinely prosecutes sexual assault cases. Victim records, including colposcope photographs of genitals, are presented in court, in a discrete manner. Pornography depicting minors is routinely presented in court. Are these items any less deserving of privacy and respect? The litigants have clear direction from this State’s highest Court regarding the handling of the patient records, and these directions will be followed. There is no need for expensive, complicated additional procedures to correct a problem that does not exist.”
A hearing on the motions is scheduled for July 15, 2011, in the courtroom of Judge Stephen Tatum at the Johnson County Courthouse in Olathe, Kansas.
In addition to two Kansas Attorneys, two attorneys from Planned Parenthood Federation of America are representing the Kansas abortion clinic, which shows the importance of this case on a national scale. If convicted, Planned Parenthood could face hefty fees and the loss of Federal funding nationwide since groups that receive Federal tax-dollars must be in compliance with all Local, State, and Federal laws.
“Operation Rescue has worked for eight years to expose Planned Parenthood’s wrong-doing in Kansas and prevent this case from being swept under the rug,” said Newman. “We continue to work to help the public understand the often complicated legal twists and turns, and keep this criminal prosecution in the public eye. There is a lot at stake, not the least of which are the innocent lives of pre-born babies.”