Attorney General Enforces Reporting Laws, Raising Pro-Abortion Ire
TOPEKA, Kan. — Kansas attorney general Phill Kline seems to have no qualms about pursuing legal battles to protect children — born and unborn.
Kline is enmeshed in two court cases involving protection of children and pro-life issues. He was involved in a federal case involving the sexual privacy of teenagers. In 2003, he wrote a legal opinion determining what sexual activity among minors that health care workers and counseling professionals must report to the state and to law enforcement.
The pro-abortion Center for Reproductive Rights responded with a lawsuit on behalf of medical and counseling professionals in Kansas, claiming that some girls would not seek medical attention because of the requirement.
Kline also is at the center of an ongoing legal battle over his 2004 request to subpoena medical records from abortionist Dr. George Tiller’s Women’s Health Services and Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri. (Tiller specializes in late-term abortions and offers patients the opportunity to dress up and take photographs with their aborted babies. He also offers “baptism of the stillborn fetus and blessings for the aborted fetus.”)
Kline had hoped to investigate unreported child sexual abuse — in the form of statutory rape of underage girls who became pregnant and sought abortions — and possibly illegal late-term abortions.
On Feb. 3, the Kansas Supreme Court ordered a lower-court judge to make sure the attorney general has the right to see the medical records and that patients’ privacy would be protected.
Kline was not available for comment, but he told the Associated Press that he was pleased with the ruling because he believes the subpoenas will eventually be honored. He said his office never sought patients’ names.
“They are under no criminal liability or investigation,” he said. “Their privacy will be protected.”
Peter Brownlie, president and chief executive officer of Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri also considered the ruling to be a victory — though he expects Kline to continue fighting.
“We have said from the beginning that the attorney general is free to investigate us,” he said. “We follow Kansas law about abortion and reporting injury from child or sexual abuse.”
Brownlie also said that, like Kline, Planned Parenthood wants to reduce abortion in Kansas.
“We just disagree with the attorney general in how to accomplish that,” he said. “We can reduce unintended pregnancy with good sex education, access to family planning services and access to health care. We’re sorry that the attorney general is using the state’s resources the way he is and wish he would join us in preventing unintended pregnancy.”
Known as an unapologetic Christian, Kline served in the Kansas House of Representatives for eight years before being elected attorney general in 2002.
“His faith in God and his desire to protect the children of this culture from predators are his primary motivators,” Deputy Attorney General Bryan Brown said. “Kline has modeled what it means to take that faithful stand as an attorney general; all Catholics should thank him for that and stand firmly behind him in the coming onslaught from the abortion industry.”
Pro-life groups are hoping Kline will uncover whether abortion clinics have been accurately reporting child sexual abuse.
“We have followed Kline’s work because of his efforts to get patient records and expose what we believe with good reason to be their covering up of abuse of children,” said Jim Sedlak, vice president of American Life League in Stafford, Va. “We think he’s doing a fantastic job, and we wish attorneys general in every state would take on this task. Once he gets access, we hope it will snowball around the United States to reveal the sordid nature of Planned Parenthood.”
Kline also has many admirers in the local pro-life camp, including Kathy Ostrowski, legislative director of Kansans for Life in Topeka.
“Phill understands the biblical message that God created humans in his image and he understands how that translates into what you should do in public life,” she said.
“It says a lot that Dr. George Tiller spent $300,000 out of his own pocket to stop him from being elected attorney general — not to mention the money that came from Emily’s List and Planned Parenthood,” Ostrowski added. “You can’t buy this man. There’s no question that with one little concession here or there he could be up for governor right now, but that’s not his way.”
“Faith informs the general in his work, as it does all of us,” said Brown, a Catholic who has worked with Kline for years. “One’s values are informed and framed by one’s faith. Those who have faith that mere matter, in the final analysis, is all that exists have no foundation for valuing such intangible concepts as justice, fairness or equality.”
The deputy attorney general went on to say that Kline, who attends Topeka Bible Church, “sincerely believes that the divine Creator has revealed himself to man, and that this revelation must inform and frame mankind’s values. This is no empty mantra for the general — he lives this creed. With such an infinite reference point one can define justice, fairness and equality with a high degree of certainty.”
Kline is expected to run for re-election this year. Also running is pro-abortion Democrat Paul Morrison.
As executive director for the Kansas Catholic Conference, Michael Farmer cannot publicly support Kline’s or anyone’s candidacy during this election year. But he did recommend that people pray and “get involved” to combat abortion.
“One reason we still suffer from abortion is that we elect those who support abortion into office. Things won’t change until elected officials are pro-life,” Farmer said. “Catholics need to become involved in the political process, find out where candidates stand on life issues and vote accordingly.”
Brown also issued a call to action.
“Gen. Kline’s attempts to police the abortion process have allowed others the ability to better address the negative consequences that abortion visits upon our social order,” he said. “A full generation of abortion on-demand has now crashed upon the Kansas prairie, with each successive wave washing away more of our social order.
“John Paul II called upon us all to take the stand against the Culture of Death,” he said, “or risk falling into its cold grasp.”
is based in
St. Paul, Minnesota.
- February 19-25, 2006