- The Washington Times - Friday, December 22, 2006

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas’ pro-life attorney general charged a well-known abortion provider with illegally performing late-term abortions, but a Sedgwick County judge yesterday threw out the charges after less than a day.

Judge Paul W. Clark dismissed the charges against Dr. George Tiller at the request of Sedgwick County District Attorney Nola Foulston, who said her office had not been consulted by Attorney General Phill Kline.

Judge Clark signed his one-page order only hours after Mr. Kline’s complaint against Dr. Tiller was unsealed.

Mr. Kline, who lost his re-election bid in November and leaves office in three weeks, said he would try to get Judge Clark to reinstate the charges.

“We are pursuing a legal remedy to what we consider a flawed decision by a district court judge,” he said.

The 30 misdemeanor counts Mr. Kline filed against Dr. Tiller involve 15 abortions from July through November 2003. They were performed on patients 22 years old or younger, including a 10-year-old, according to the criminal complaint unsealed yesterday in Sedgwick County District Court.

Dr. Tiller’s clinic, known for being one of the few in the country to perform late-term abortions, has been a high-profile target of pro-life protesters for decades. The clinic was bombed in 1985, and Dr. Tiller was shot in both arms by a protester in 1993.

Mr. Kline has been investigating whether Dr. Tiller and other abortion providers performed illegal late-term abortions in Kansas or failed to report suspected child abuse as required by law.

He waged a two-year legal battle before finally this year obtaining the records of 90 patients from Dr. Tiller’s Wichita clinic and a clinic operated in Overland Park by Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri.

Since the election, pro-choice activists have expected him to move against Dr. Tiller and perhaps Planned Parenthood.

Under Kansas law, if a woman wants to obtain an abortion after the 22nd week of her pregnancy, a doctor must first determine whether the fetus can survive outside the womb. If the fetus is viable, the procedure can only be used to preserve her physical or mental health.

Dr. Tiller and Planned Parenthood have repeatedly said they’ve committed no wrongdoing and that the patient records Mr. Kline obtained contained no evidence of crimes by either the clinics or their doctors.

“We also intend to explore any and all means of holding Kline personally responsible for his malicious actions,” Dr. Tiller’s attorney Dan Monnat said. “Rather than executing his duty as a prosecutor to see that justice is done, he has chosen to engage in a malicious and spiteful prosecution on the eve of Christmas.”

Miss Foulston argued in her request to have the charges dismissed that while Mr. Kline is the state’s chief law-enforcement official, he doesn’t have the legal authority to “unilaterally” pursue criminal charges when a county prosecutor has not asked his office to intervene or granted a request from the attorney general to handle a case.

“The district attorney has not invited or requested, consented or acquiesced, or failed to object to the filing of the complaint,” Miss Foulston wrote. “The district attorney does in fact object to any such filing by the attorney general, as he lacks the legal authority to file such a complaint in this jurisdiction.”

The incoming attorney general, Democrat Paul Morrison, has criticized Mr. Kline for seeking the records, describing it as an invasion of the patients’ privacy, but he wouldn’t say if he would drop any investigation Mr. Kline started against the clinics.

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