Does ProKanDo Recent Ethics Problems Indicate Abortion Patient Names Have Been Given to Political Fundraisers?
When it was first publicly revealed that former Attorney General Phill Kline was investigating Mr. George Tiller and Planned Parenthood, both abortion clinics cried foul. At the time, and continuously since, the abortionists have complained that Kline was grossly invading privacy and on a “witch hunt” and “fishing expedition.”
Now we know that the files subpoenaed by Shawnee County District Court Judge Richard Anderson do not contain names and not one patient name has been revealed by the investigation – there goes the privacy claim.
And we know that every judge who has reviewed the evidence has found probable cause to believe that Tiller and Planned Parenthood have committed crimes ( 156 crimes charged so far)- so quite a successful “fishing expedition.”
But what many do not remember is what Kline predicted when the clinics first publicly expressed their concerns about “privacy.” At the time Kline predicted that that patient identities would only be revealed by the clinics, not Kline’s investigation.
The prediction is coming true. First, Tiller has engaged in a public relations effort in which former patients describe their abortions. Stories have run in the LA Times about such abortions. Interestingly, the stories demonstrate violations of state law as, for example, one abortion patient informs the reader she had her abortion because her unborn child was diagnosed with down’s syndrome. Fetal anomaly is not justification under Kansas law for an abortion on a viable child.
But an even greater indication that Mr. Tiller is struggling with the issue of privacy comes from his PAC’s most recent run-in with the Kansas ethics commission. The Commission is considering issuing a fine to ProKanDo, one of Mr. Tiller’s political arms (read news story here).
The Commission reports that the PAC failed to report the identity of hundreds of contributors and instead reporting tens of thousands of dollars in a lump sum contribution from a telemarketing company that ProKanDo hired to do fundraising.
Who did the telemarketing firm call? Most likely, part of the list was Mr. Tiller’s abortion clients. In other words, in words from Mr. Tiller’s website, Tiller provides the names, addresses and phone numbers of his abortion clients to ProKanDo which in turn provides the information to telemarketers. All of this done while Tiller and Planned Parenthood fought to avoid a judges subpoena of records without names claiming a gross violation of privacy.
We may contact you to request a tax-deductible contribution to support important activities of Women’s Health Care Services, PA and/or ProKanDo. In connection with any fundraising, we may disclose to out fundraising staff demographic information about you (e.g. your name, address and phone number) and dates of health care that we provided you. If you do not want to receive any fundraising requests in the future, you may contact our Privacy Officer at (316)-684-5108.” (this page of his website is archived at: http://web.archive.org/web/20030623101920/www.drtiller.com/notice.html).
(the site points out another potential problem for Mr. Tiller in that ProKanDo’s activities are likely not tax deductible).
In response to Mr. Hanna’s questions, Mr. Tiller’s staff claimed that the inclusion of the above statement on the website was a simple mistake. Here’s the excerpt from Hanna’s February 2005 story:
“That was actually mistakenly put on there,” she said. Burkhart said Tiller doesn’t disclose the information to fund-raising staff and said she didn’t know how the statement was placed on the site.
The quote is by Julie Burkhart, the executive director of the ProKanDo PAC. Yet, the statement had been on the website for close to two years prior to Hanna’s question. The effective date of the policy is identified on the webpage as follows:
“Effective Date and Duration of This Notice
- Effective Date.
This notice is effective on April 14, 2003.”
A two year mistake? Unlikely. It is likely that some of the contributions reported as a lump sum from ProKanDo’s telemarketer are contributions obtained from Mr. Tiller sharing his patient lists with ProKanDo which in turn shares the names with the telemarketing firm to raise funds to “support important activities” such as electing prosecutors that will look the other way and give up on investigations of Mr. Tiller.
Unfortunately, Hanna’s story received very little Kansas print media play and zero electronic media coverage. Kansas editors that support abortion on demand, regardless of the law, ensured that Mr. Tiller’s hypocrisy was not exposed.
Further, the same concerns exist with Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri, although their use of the private information of their patients is even more brazen – it is still on their website (follow this link to the Planned Parenthood privacy statement). It reads:
We may use health information about you to contact you in an effort to raise money for our not-for-profit operations. Please let us know if you do not want us to contact you for such fundraising efforts.”
And so, as Planned Parenthood continues to claim privacy concerns regarding records that do not contain names, the organization continues to reserve the right to give out the name, address and phone number of women who have had abortions at their clinic to telemarketers.
This inconsistency has been pointed out to the Kansas City Star numerous times and the Star’s refusal to report these facts is probably what allows Planned Parenthood to be so brazen.
At one point, Planned Parenthood was asked about the statement by a reporter. Planned Parenthood replied that the organization was required to include that statement in their privacy statement by federal law, specifically HIPAA.
This is true, but only if Planned Parenthood actually does provide the names to fundraisers. HIPAA’s requirement only requires disclosure of intended uses of the records. If the records were not to be used for fundraising, then it was not necessary to make such a disclosure under federal law. Accordingly, Planned Parenthood making the disclosure is an admission of their intent to use the records for that purpose. The reporter, however, accepted Planned Parenthood’s explanation and refused to do a story.
It will be interesting to see if ProKanDo claims a constitutional right to privacy to prevent disclosure of the names of its contributors. Appearances, however, already indicate that Mr. Tiller and Planned Parenthood are more than willing to disclose the names of their patients to third party fundraisers, while at the same time fighting tooth and nail to prevent disclosing evidence of potential crimes when privacy is not at issue because patient names are not requested. And it also appears that the Kansas print media and editorialists are more than willing to continue to applaud the abortion organizations as great protectors of privacy despite the clear and evident duplicity of such a claim.