Commentary by Cheryl Sullenger
Wichita, KS – In life, late-term abortionist George Tiller held a tremendous amount of political influence in the state of Kansas and beyond that served to protect his controversial late-term abortion empire. With Tiller’s passing, many have assumed that his web of corruption has been broken, but in fact, that web continues to thrive in Kansas, protecting the state’s few remaining abortion businesses from investigation, regulation, and prosecution.
In 2005, Operation Rescue took out an ad in a local Christian publication decrying Tiller’s “Web of Death” that only touched on his vast political connections that were able to shield him from two grand jury investigations, 30 criminal charges filed by a former state attorney general, and numerous citizen complaints filed with the Kansas State Board of Healing Arts.
His political action committee, ProKanDo, was once considered the largest and most influential in the state. Tiller’s personal friendships and political alliances bought him protection in nearly every sphere of government that could potentially hold him accountable to the law. His relationship with former Gov. Kathleen Sebelius was famous, and very nearly cost her an appointment to the Obama Cabinet.
With Tiller’s death, the general consensus was that the web of corruption he had built over the years would lack the financial backing to continue, and in some respects that has been true.
ProKanDo has disbanded – a process that actually began months before Tiller’s death. His clinic has closed. Sebelius has moved to Washington, D.C. and now serves as Secretary of Health and Human Services. Tiller’s three out-of state late-term abortionists, who had staffed his infamous Wichita abortion clinic, have been blocked from reestablishing an abortion business in Kansas.
But overall, the network of political cronies that Tiller built over a life-time in Kansas remains largely intact.
The Governor’s Mansion, once the site of a secret soiree that honored Tiller and his entire abortion clinic staff, is now occupied by a Sebelius puppet, Mark Parkinson. His recent veto of an abortion bill that would have provided law-enforcement with the ability determine if abortionists were in compliance with the laws governing post-viability abortions lacked good sense and simply mirrored the actions that his predecessor had taken on a similar bill last year. His excuse for the veto? Abortion is a “private decision and should not be dictated by public officials.” The bill had nothing to do with a woman making a decision, but everything to do with insuring that the laws, as written, are able to be enforced. So off-base was Parkinson’s veto message that it causes one to question either his reading comprehension skills or his honesty.
The Kansas Department of Health and Environment had advised Tiller that he did not need to report the specific diagnoses used to justify late-term abortions even though the law said he did. The agency’s linguistic gymnastics had so confused was the interpretation of the reporting law requirements that it necessitated clarifications in the aforementioned bill recently vetoed by Parkinson. When Planned Parenthood was charged with 107 criminal charges, the KDH&E moved to quash subpoenas for incriminating documents needed by the District Attorney’s office to prosecute the crimes. This agency continues to stonewall prosecution efforts and cover for abortions that judges have found probable cause to believe were illegal.
The Kansas State Board of Healing Arts was formerly run by Tiller’s personal friend Larry Buening, who was forced to resign in disgrace over the Board’s inability and unwillingness to protect the public from dangerous physicians. Buening had a history of protecting Tiller and other abortionists in Kansas. His premature determination that there was no wrong-doing in the death of 19-year old Christin Gilbert during a botched third-trimester abortion shocked the state.
The KSBHA actually flirted with sobriety when it appointed Jack Confer as the new Executive Director. Under Confer, the Board issued a 11-count petition based on an Operation Rescue complaint alleging that Tiller violated provisions of the state’s post-viability abortion ban. Those charges would have likely resulted in either Tiller’s retirement or the revocation of his medical license. Tiller’s death prevented any further action. Confer later resigned under mysterious and suspicious circumstances that may have been linked to a complaint filed against Tiller’s three hired abortionists for violations of the same provisions. Since then, the Board has relapsed, refusing to take further action against abortionists.
Kansas Attorney General and Supreme Court
Stacked with Sebelius appointees, the Kansas Supreme Court might be considered the watchdog guarding the gates of abortion clinics around the state from the prying eyes of law enforcement and prosecutors.
Currently, a massive 107-count criminal case against Planned Parenthood in Overland Park involving illegal late-term abortions remains in limbo awaiting a decision by the Kansas Supreme Court that was argued in May, 2009. At issue are subpoenas to the KDH&E for evidence and to Judge Richard Anderson, who is the custodian of abortion records on which the 107 criminal charges were based. At the request of Attorney General Steven Six, a Sebelius appointee, former Chief Justice Kay McFarland gagged Judge Anderson and ordered him not to relinquish any of the evidence to the District Attorney’s office. Efforts to move the case forward have been delayed nearly three years.
Break the web in 2010
In the year since Tiller’s death, the political climate in Kansas and the nation has changed dramatically. Opposition to government sanctioned, protected, and funded abortion has never been greater.
The Legislature will have an opportunity next week to override Parkinson’s veto and insure women and their viable babies are protected from predatory abortionists. In an unscientific poll taken by the Topeka Capital Journal on their web site, 67% of respondents said that they believe that “the governor acted against the will of the people as expressed in legislation passed by both Houses. The Legislature should attempt an immediate override.”
Politicians need to be reminded that they were elected to represent the will of the people in government, not ignore it. Those who refuse to override the veto should be refused at the ballot box later this year when Kansans will have the opportunity to clean house and knock down the old cobwebs of corruption that continue to plague their state.
Once the governor is replaced with a strong pro-life advocate, then the appointees put in place by Tiller’s lackey, Kathleen Sebelius, can be replaced with men and women who respect life and the rule of law. Sweeping away the last remnants of Tiller’s web of corruption that established Kansas as the Abortion Capital will open the door to instilling protections for the pre-born that could eventually result in Kansas leading the nation as America’s new Pro-Life Capital.
• If you live in Kansas: Contact your state legislators immediately and demand that they override Parkinson’s veto of HB 2115. Click links for contact information: House; Senate.
• If you live anywhere: Please sign the petition demanding that the Kansas Supreme Court stop stonewalling on the 107 Planned Parenthood criminal charges and send them to court. Click here to read the petition and sign it.