As Attorney General, Phill Kline presented evidence to a Shawnee County District Court Judge in an effort to obtain a subpoena of abortion records from a Wichita, Kansas clinic operated by Dr. George Tiller. Mr. Tiller, a pathologist by training, is one of the few physicians in the nation to perform late-term abortions on healthy viable fetuses.
After reviewing the evidence, the Judge found probable cause to believe that evidence of crimes were contained in the Tiller clinic files and issued the subpoena. At Mr. Kline’s request, the court would receive the records and then remove patient names in order to protect patient privacy. The patients were not under any investigation, only Mr. Tiller was being investigated.
Kansas law provides that an abortion late-term on a viable child (one that is capable of living away from the mother at the time the abortion is performed (generally the last trimester) can only be performed if “two doctors find the mother would suffer substantial and irreversible damage to a major bodily function” if the abortion is not performed. This law is one of the most strict late-term prohibitions in the nation and the langauge has been upheld by the United States Supreme Court in the case of Planned Parenthood v. Casey, 505 U.S. 833 (1992).
Regardless, Kansas still led the nation due to Mr. Tiller’s activities. Once Mr. Kline obtained the Tiller clinic records (after names had been removed and a multi-year legal battle in which Mr. Kline and the Judge who issued the subpoena were sued) Mr. Kline hired Dr. Paul McHugh, the long serving Chairman of the School of Psychiatry at Johns Hopkins University to review the files.
Mr. Kline hired Mr. McHugh because, as later criminal charges demonstrated, Mr. Tiller was performing late-term abortions on viable fetuses for mental health reasons. Mr. Tiller would diagnose “temporary episodic depression,” “adjustment disorder,” and “anxiety disorder.” Mr. Tiller would call such conditions “permanent and irreversible damage to a major bodily function” and perform the abortion. Mr. Kline wanted Dr. McHugh’s opinion regarding whether such conditions were permanent and irreversible and whether the diagnosis was justified by the medical evidence in the file. Mr. McHugh’s opinion on both counts was an emphatic no. (An interview Dr. Paul McHugh regarding Dr. Tiller’s files is provided at the end of this post).
Dr. McHugh in the videotaped interview you can view on this page, states that none of the abortions performed by Mr. Tiller were justified under Kansas law.
Dr. McHugh states that Mr. Tiller would find irreversible damage to a major bodily function of the mother in instances where the mother wanted a late-term abortion because she did not want to have to hire a babysitter in the future so she could attend rock concerts. Another example cited by Dr. McHugh is the desire to go to a prom.
In December of 2006, Mr. Kline, as Attorney General, filed 30 criminal counts against Mr. Tiller for illegal late-term abortion. Before filing the charges, Kansas law required Mr. Kline to present his evidence to another judge, this one in Wichita, where the law required the judge to review the evidence and determine if charges should be filed.
Sedgwick County District Court Judge Eric Yost reviewed Kline’s evidence and found probable cause to believe that Mr. Tiller committed the crimes alleged and the charges were filed. Judge Yost’s finding represents the second judge to issue a probable cause finding regarding Mr. Tiller.
The following day, however, in an extraordinary development, Sedgwick County District Attorney Nola Foulston, on her own and without any notice to Mr. Kline, found a separate traffic court judge who, without reviewing the evidence, dismissed the charges. Ms. Foulston convinced the judge that the Attorney General does not have legal authority to file such charges despite the fact that Kansas law recognizes the Attorney General as the state’s chief law enforcement official.
Mr. Kline filed emergency motions to reinstate the charges arguing that his office had the legal authority and in the alternative that even if such authority did not exist – Mr. Kline stated that he consulted with Ms. Foulston prior to filing the charges and she consented to the AG’s office pursuing the case.
Kansas law is clear that if a District Attorney grants permission to the AG, that the AG has full authority to proceed with a case. Ms. Foulston claimed to have never met with Mr. Kline and denied Mr. Kline’s claims.
Ms. Foulston’s office visitor’s log, however, shows that Mr. Kline did in fact meet with Ms. Foulston for a solid your prior to the filing of charges.
Mr. Kline filed an emergency appeal of the dismissal to the Kansas Supreme Court. Mr. Kline, however, had been defeated in his re-election bid having been savagely attacked and grossly outspent due to millions of dollars of abortion monies supporting his opponent, Democrat Paul Morrison, who promised to end “Kline’s witch hunt” when he became Attorney General.
As Mr. Kline was leaving office, he appointed a special prosecutor to continue his appeal and his efforts to reinstate the Tiller charges.
Upon being sworn in as the state’s 42nd Attorney General, Mr. Morrison promptly fired Mr. Kline’s special prosecutor and then later dismissing Kline’s appeal and ending the charges against Mr. Tiller.
Mr. Morrison then sued Mr. Kline and the judge who originally issued the subpoenas in a remarkable effort to return all evidence of criminal activity by Mr. Tiller back to Mr. Tiller. Mr. Morrison did engaged in a similar lawsuit against Mr. Kline and the same judge in conjunction with Planned Parenthood which was also under investigation by Mr. Kline. Mr. Kline moved from Attorney General to Johnson County District Attorney effectively switching jobs with Mr. Morrison.
Mr. Morrison had been a long serving Republican District Attorney in Johnson County, a Kansas City suburb and the largest county by population in Kansas. Mr. Morrison was recruited to run against Mr. Kline by avidly pro-abortion Democrat Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius. Mr. Morrison switched his party affiliation to Democrat and then defeated Kline. Mr. Morrison, however, had to vacate his District Attorney’s job mid-term to assume the role of Attorney General. Since Mr. Morrison was originally elected District Attorney as a Republican, Kansas law provided that Republican precinct committeemen and committeewoman would elect his successor to fill out his term – and in early December, 2006 they elected Mr. Kline. Accordingly, on January 8, 2007, Mr. Kline and Mr. Morrison simply switched jobs.
In various legal proceedings, which are still not public, Mr. Morrison worked to stopped Mr. Kline’s investigation while Mr. Kline sought to proceed with the investigation. Mr. Morrison was brought under legal pressure to acknowledge the evidence of crimes and in June of 2007 Mr. Morrison announced he would file 19 criminal charges against Mr. Tiller. Mr. Kline had predicted Mr. Morrison would do so and then seek to settle the charges with a slap on the wrist for Mr. Tiller and that Mr. Morrison would refuse to continue to investigate any of the more substantive charges uncovered by Mr. Kline.
Mr. Kline’s prediction appeared to be correct as Mr. Morrison called his own charges against Mr. Tiller as “hyper-technical,” refused to engage in any further investigation and continued his lawsuits against Mr. Kline and the judge in order to retrieve and return to Mr. Tiller and Planned Parenthood any evidence of criminal wrongdoing.
Additional extraordinary developments, however, removed Mr. Morrison from the Attorney General’s office. In December of 2007, the Topeka Capital-Journal newspaper broke involved an illicit affair Mr. Morrison had with his former office manager. (read story here)
The office manager, who worked for Mr. Morrison in the District Attorney’s office, remained in that office to work for Mr. Kline after the job switch. Among her allegations, were claims that Mr. Morrison attempted to manipulate the woman in a manner to undermine Kline’s investigation. One week after the story broke, Mr. Morrison announced he would resign as Attorney General.
Kansas law gives the Governor the authority to appoint some one to fill Mr. Morrison’s term and she appointed democrat activist, former trial lawyer and appointed Judge Stephen Six to fill Mr. Morrison’s term. Mr. Six has continued to refuse to engage in any further investigation of the Kansas abortion clinics, despite clear indications of illegality, but appears to have taken a more professional approach to the existing charges against Mr. Tiller. Mr. Tiller is still charged criminally, although the more serious charges filed by Mr. Kline and supported by the McHugh video have not been reinstated.