Using Politics to Play With Other People’s Lives Will Haunt You
It’s gratifying and inspiring to know that people who abuse the legal system to target abortion providers will eventually get caught. This is what’s happening now to Phill Kline, the former Attorney General and District Attorney for Johnson County in Kansas. A disciplinary panel decided earlier this month that Kline’s license to practice law should be suspended indefinitely after the way he has targeted abortion clinics.
Phill Kline is well known as the attorney who investigated Planned Parenthood and the late Dr. Tiller’s clinic while he was the state’s Attorney General from 2003-2007. According to an ethics complaint in 2005, Kline’s staff recorded the license plates of visitors to Dr. Tiller’s clinic and subpoenaed the guest list from the nearby hotel where patients frequently stayed. Ignoring warnings by the Supreme Court, Kline talked about the details of the case against him on Bill O’Reilly’s FOX show, which the disciplinary panel concluded “had a substantial likelihood of intensifying public contempt for Tiller,” who was murdered in his church by an anti-abortion activist.
Johnson County is currently still prosecuting Planned Parenthood for a case Kline filed in 2007 when he was the county District Attorney, accusing them of falsifying pregnancy termination reports. His ‘evidence,’ however, was shredded by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment in 2005 per standard procedure. After Kline accused state officials of intentionally destroying important documents, Irigonegaray, the attorney for Planned Parenthood, commented that “it is not the responsibility of the KDHE to educate counsel on retention policies” and Kline should be familiar with normal document disposal regulations.
Despite his incredible lack of respect for the law, for women, and for abortion providers, Kline still claims he did nothing wrong.
Congressman Stearns is following in Kline’s path. He recently launched an unnecessary and expensive audit of Planned Parenthood after viewing reports compiled by anti-abortion groups. Stearns says Planned Parenthood is a pointless organization and demands to know why a country in debt is spending so much on Planned Parenthood—a women’s healthcare provider making routine medical care accessible to many women in this country. Stearns’ colleagues call his audit, “an abusive witch hunt by Republicans” and “an unconscionable waste of taxpayer dollars,” and a petition with more than 130,000 names was sent to him calling for him to stop.
Maybe Stearns should look at what is happening to Phill Kline and remember that denying women’s access to healthcare because of his own personal ideological agenda will lead to personal consequences later.