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Kansas Planned Parenthood prosecution delayed by state-destroyed evidence

by | Oct 25, 2011

By Dave Andrusko

Judge Stephen Tatum

The pre-trial hearing on a criminal case against Planned Parenthood of Mid-Missouri Kansas has been delayed for two weeks, at the request of the state of Kansas.

Judge Stephen Tatum granted the continuance for a preliminary hearing days after the state learned that the Kansas Health department (KDHE) had shredded copies of abortion reports needed as evidence.

“The Planned Parenthood clinic in the Kansas City suburb of Overland Park faces 107 charges, including 23 felony counts alleging that it falsified documents,” according to reporter John Hanna of the Associated Press (AP). “The records in question are the clinic’s copies of reports about individual abortions performed in 2003, which it was required by law to file with the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.”

Planned Parenthood objected to any continuance, arguing that the shredding was “routine.” The next hearing is scheduled for November 9 to see what progress Johnson County District Attorney Steve Howe’s office could make in the absence of the original documents.

“It’s a game changer,” Howe told Tatum in court, according to the AP. “Is it a hurdle? Yes. Does the state know what it’s true impact is? No.”

Former Johnson County District Attorney Phill Kline filed a 107-count complaint against Planned Parenthood of Mid-Missouri Kansas in 2007.

According to the Kansas Star, “In addition to the 23 felonies, the complaint also charged Planned Parenthood with multiple misdemeanor counts of failing to maintain the pregnancy termination reports, failing to perform viability tests on fetuses and unlawful late-term abortions.”

‘The shredding occurred when KDHE was under Democratic Gov. Kathleen Sebelius,” according to the Star. “The destroyed records were critical in establishing the authenticity of records from 2003 that Kline obtained when he investigated Planned Parenthood as attorney general. Planned Parenthood also provided copies of the records, but Kline contended that those did not match the ones he had in his possession.”

Pro-lifers in Kansas were stunned by news that the records had been shredded.

“Unbelievable,” Mary Kay Culp, executive director of Kansans for Life, told the Star. “We don’t believe for one second this was anything but purposefully done to protect the abortion industry.”

Culp’s comments were given further credence when Johnson County District Attorney Steve Howe said in court today that abortion reports from the clinic of the late George Tiller for the year 2003 were still available in 2010. This is at odds with Planned Parenthood of Mid-Missouri Kansas’s contention that destruction in 2005 of its 2003 abortion records was no more than “routine” purging of state documents.

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Categories: PPFA
Tags: Kansas PPFA