PP’s arguments designed to keep incriminating testimony out of court

Topeka, KS – Oral arguments were made this morning before the Kansas Supreme Court concerning whether or not subpoenas for testimony in the criminal case involving 107 charges against Planned Parenthood should be allowed to go forward.
Steven J. Obermeier made arguments for the District Attorney’s office. He indicated that Judge Richard Anderson, custodian of evidence in this case, is currently under a gag order issued by the Kansas Supreme Court preventing him from testifying or releasing any of the evidence. That gag order sprung from a separate case that has since been dismissed. Because the original case no longer exists, he asked that the Anderson be allowed to testify.
Obermeier was questioned about why he believed he could use information from the KDHE forms that statute labeled as “confidential.” Obermeier explained that the District Attorney’s office handles confidential documents all the time. “Confidential” does not mean that they are beyond subpoena. If that was the legislative intent, then it would have been stated in the statute, as it is in other statutes. Obermeier said that he never heard of a judge denying a district attorney KDHE records until Judge Steven Tatum quashed the subpoenas in this case.
Planned Parenthood attorney Pedro Irigonegaray argued that the appeal is frivolous, “motivated by politics rather than by rule of law.” As predicted, he argued that abortion cases should be handled differently than other cases out of concern for “patient privacy” saying that abortion-related records were the “most private.” He told the court that district attorneys have no authority to subpoena the KDHE records or use them for evidence.
All documents in question have had all traces of patient identifying information removed.
When asked about the application of one of Irigongaray’s legal theories to other situations, he responded, “You mean non-abortion cases?”
“That statement by Planned Parenthood’s lawyer was very telling, because he is trying to carve out special privileges under the law for abortion cases, placing them above the laws and procedures that would apply to any other case,” said Operation Rescue President Troy Newman, who was present for the hearing. “In other words, Planned Parenthood would have abortion records treated with more sensitivity than rape or murder records. This is ridiculous and is simply a ploy to keep incriminating evidence out of court.”
The justices took the case under advisement. A ruling is expected before the end of June.