KS Supreme Court Allows Abortion Investigation To Continue

AP’s Hanna continues to propagate false notion of abortion records “leak”

Topeka, KS — The Kansas Supreme Court has ruled against two abortion businesses that had asked for the criminal investigation against them — including abortion records subpoenaed in that case — be taken away from Attorney General Phill Kline and placed in the hands of a special prosecutor.

The denial of the abortionist’s motion allows Kline to continue his investigation until he leaves office on January 8, 2007.

Kline is currently investigating late-term abortionist George Tiller of Wichita and Planned Parenthood in Overland Park for illegal abortions and the concealment child rape. The abortionists have fought hard to prevent the medical records from being used as key evidence against them.

The motion denied today was brought after Kline appeared on The O’Reilly Factor television program earlier this month. In a surprise revelation, O’Reilly told Kline that he had an inside source and had seen some medical records from Tiller’s abortion clinic.

Associated Press reporter John Hanna jumped on the story and immediately began to erroneously report that the records O’Reilly had access to were leaked from Kline’s office, when in fact O’Reilly clearly stated that he was not sure that Kline had access to the same records O’Reilly had seen. Hanna continues to propagate the myth of a “leak” in his article published today by the AP.

“We believe that the erroneous information about a non-existent ‘leak’ of medical records that was widely distributed by the Kansas media just days before the election contributed to Kline’s defeat,” said Operation Rescue spokesperson Cheryl Sullenger.

“It is more likely that the records that O’Reilly has access to were given to him by former abortion patients who now regret their abortions,” she said. “We have strong reason to believe that O’Reilly’s records predate the subpoenaed records in Kline’s possession by several years.”

“We continue to pray that those who have concealed child rape and those who flagrantly aborted viable babies that should have been protected by law will be brought to justice,” Sullenger said.

Operation Rescue has called for a national protest at George Tiller’s abortion clinic January 19-22 in response to O’Reilly’s comments that thousands of people should be protesting Tiller’s clinic because of his late-term abortion practice.

Read Attorney General Kline’s Full Press Statement
Listen to O’Reilly’s Disputed Comments For Yourself

UPDATE: The John Hanna story published in Friday, December 1, 2006, editions of the Kansas City Star and the Wichita Eagle differs greatly from the story we rsponded to that appeared on Thursday afternoon. In Friday’s versions, Hanna toned down his language wrongly inferring that Kline’s office had “leaked” records obtained from George Tiller’s late-term abortion mill and Planned Parenthood.

We are reprinting both the original story that we responded to on Thursday afternoon and the most recent article so you can compare them for yourself. In calling out Hanna’s error, we believe we may have been able to contribute to holding the media accountable for reporting the truth.

-Operation Rescue

EARLIEST VERSION: Posted November 30, 2006
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20061130/ap_on_re_us/abortion_records_1&printer=1

Court stays out of abortion records case
By JOHN HANNA, Associated Press

The Kansas Supreme Court refused Thursday to intervene on behalf of two abortion clinics in a dispute with the state attorney general over patient records that were leaked to “The O’Reilly Factor.”

The clinics had asked the court to seize the records of 90 patients from Attorney General Phill Kline and appoint a special prosecutor to investigate how Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly got access to abortion records for a Nov. 3 broadcast.

The court offered no explanation for its ruling in a one-sentence order signed by Chief Justice McFarland.

Kline received edited versions of the records in October from a Shawnee County judge after a two-year legal battle. He said he was investigating whether clinic doctors performed illegal late-term abortions and violated a state law requiring them to report suspected child abuse.
The clinics, operated by Dr. George Tiller in Wichita and by Planned Parenthood in Overland Park, argued that Kline was on a “fishing expedition” that violated the patients’ privacy. They also said Kline, a strong abortion opponent, could not conduct an objective investigation.

O’Reilly interviewed Kline during the segment where O’Reilly discussed the leaked information. A spokeswoman for Kline, who lost his re-election bid four days after the broadcast, has said he doesn’t know how O’Reilly got the records.

Kline accused the clinics of trying to thwart his investigation and argued that the court had no authority to appoint a special prosecutor or take over a criminal investigation.

The ruling means Kline, a Republican, can continue his investigation, refer potential cases to county prosecutors or file charges himself before leaving office Jan. 8.

Pedro Irigonegaray, an attorney representing the clinics, declined to comment, saying he had not examined the ruling.

Kline said: “These motions were without legal basis and the decision is appropriate.”
Paul Morrison, a Democrat who will succeed Kline, said he has not decided whether he will continue the investigation.
___________________________

LATEST VERSION: Posted December 1, 2006
http://www.kansas.com/mld/kansas/news/state/16136041.htm

Court: Kline can investigate clinics
BY JOHN HANNA
Associated Press

TOPEKA – Attorney General Phill Kline can continue his investigation of two abortion clinics and refer potential criminal cases to county prosecutors or file charges himself before leaving office.
The Kansas Supreme Court refused Thursday to intervene on behalf of the two clinics in their dispute with Kline over patient records and his examination of their activities.

The clinics, operated by physician George Tiller in Wichita and by Planned Parenthood in Overland Park, had asked the court to appoint a special prosecutor and seize the records of 90 patients. Kline received edited versions of those records in October — after a two-year legal battle — from a Shawnee County judge.

The clinics argued that Kline, a strong abortion opponent, couldn’t conduct an objective investigation. They also wanted the special prosecutor to investigate whether someone leaked information from abortion records to Fox television’s Bill O’Reilly before a Nov. 3 broadcast of “The O’Reilly Factor” in which the host criticized Tiller.

The court offered no explanation for its ruling in a one-sentence order signed by Chief Justice Kay McFarland.

Kline has said he is investigating whether clinic doctors have performed illegal late-term abortions and violated a state law requiring them to report suspected child abuse.
He also has said he’s conducting a broader inquiry into potential crimes, including incest, rapes with child victims, other rapes and making a “false writing.”

He accused the clinics of trying to thwart his investigation, and his staff noted the clinics filed their requests with the court the day before the Nov. 7 general election, in which Kline, a Republican, lost his bid for a second term. He will leave office Jan. 8.

Kline also argued the court had no authority to appoint a special prosecutor or take over a criminal investigation.

“I am pleased,” Kline said. “These motions were without legal basis and the decision is appropriate.”

The clinics had argued that Kline was on a “fishing expedition” that violated the patients’ privacy. Democrat Paul Morrison made it a key issue in his successful campaign against Kline.
Peter Brownlie, president and chief executive of Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri, said he wasn’t disappointed in the Supreme Court’s decision.

“There could be various reasons the court decided not to hear the request at this point. We can’t even speculate on them since they didn’t offer any reasons,” Brownlie said. “We will be continuing our efforts to protect patients’ privacy and their rights.”

Pedro Irigonegaray, a Topeka lawyer representing the clinics, declined to comment about the ruling, saying he had not had time to examine it.