Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Commentary: In Defense of Phill Kline

Defending Phill Kline:

In 2003, Phill Kline, then Attorney General of Kansas, began an investigation of the Johnson County Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri. Using subpoenaed medical records, Kline uncovered evidence that seemed to prove that Planned Parenthood had willfully neglected to report instances of child rape, had forged their viability reports, and had performed illegal late-term abortions. (The records had the names and other personal information carefully redacted to protect the women's privacy.)

Planned Parenthood decided to ignore the charges. As court hearings began, PP's army of lawyers relied on procedural ploys to delay and squelch the case. In the public arena, no attempt was made to counter the charges or even to acknowledge their existence. Planned Parenthood, it turned out, wasn't interested in defending itself against the charges. Instead, it had decided to destroy Attorney General Kline's reputation.

The abortion giant put out a press release which suggested that his charges, which they repeatedly referred to as "baseless," were pure political posturing. They accused him of "further[ing] his political ambition of making abortion illegal by using unethical tactics." "No health care provider should be threatened with felony convictions," said PPKM CEO Peter Brownlie, "simply because elected officials oppose legal abortion."

Following the lead of Planned Parenthood's formidable PR machine, dozens of newspapers, blogs, and public figures all went for the jugular. "Kline just personifies the abortion debate," ABC News contended in October of 2007. "This is a guy who has never tried any cases and has a very marginal record as an attorney, and so it is very much seen, I think, even by the pro-life people, that Kline's personal beliefs are his No. 1 priority." This preposterous claim comes straight out of Planned Parenthood's talking points. Apparently ABC's zeal for abortion is more important than its commitment to truth.

Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL, predictably called Kline "one of the most extreme anti-choice politicians." But then she went on to make the totally false claim that he was "invading people's most private medical information." The records, as I mentioned above, had been carefully purged of any identifying information.

The New York Times also parroted Planned Parenthood's official line, calling him "an anti-abortion zealot who gained national notoriety by misusing his office to further his ideology," while gliding over the charges themselves, which they wrongly characterized as a "gross assault on privacy and legal rights."

Someone who annoys PP and the NYT is someone worth listening to. Keep up the good work Phill Kline!