Phill Kline
Enlarging the rabbit hole
By Phill Kline
November 3, 2009

Hailing from Kansas I am naturally dubious of razzmatazz. I value straight forward speech and action and intuitively believe anything less is an effort at sleight of hand: the same Kansas instinct that caused Dorothy and Toto to pull back the curtain. Yet, when the curtain is pulled some behind such facades are not as good natured as the Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Rather, such efforts at revealing truth are met with vicious assaults. The lie for some is simply too precious.

Abby Johnson saw the truth — in a sonogram. The former Director of Planned Parenthood of College Station, Texas, witnessed an abortion on a sonogram. This revelation combined with a new business model in which Planned Parenthood was pushing abortion, compelled the Director to resign her position in October of this year. She now has joined forces with the local coalition for life organization to reveal the truth — if American justice will allow her to reveal the truth.

Planned Parenthood, which battles any legislative efforts to require mother's to see a sonogram before an abortion, responded by suing Ms. Johnson. They want her silenced. Planned Parenthood claims that they must "protect patient privacy." Yet, I am certain that it is not patient privacy which has the operatives at Planned Parenthood trying to use the force of law to pull their curtain back in place — it is the knowledge (or belief) that Americans would not support their organization of the truth is revealed — abortions on demand, failure to report child rape, "counselors" hired off the streets without experience and lack of patient follow-up to name a few.

I am also certain that Ms. Johnson would voluntarily agree not to reveal any patient identities. If patient privacy is a concern, Planned Parenthood should then walk away; but they won't. We will just have to wait and see if a Texas judge is willing to trample the First Amendment in an effort to protect an industry; something which just might happen.

Battling Planned Parenthood in court is more similar to Alice in Wonderland rather than the Wizard of Oz — it only gets "curiouser and curiouser." Rules are changeable and malleable taking on entirely new meanings to fit those who have the power to proclaim them — the media with newsprint and Judges with proclamations from the bench.

As a prosecutor, I battled Planned Parenthood for over five years. During this battle efforts were made to issue a subpoena for records with the names of patients removed. Patient privacy would be protected but the records were necessary in order to determine if Planned Parenthood was complying with Kansas late-term abortion laws. This resulted in a multi-year legal battle.

At one hearing, Planned Parenthood argued that privacy was still at issue even with the names redacted because the medical records contained the date of the womens' last menstrual period and therefore the women could be identified. (This information is necessary to verify the gestational age of the fetus). When I responded by pointing out the obvious absurdity of this argument Planned Parenthood changed course — they then argued that a prosecutor must not ever be allowed any information that would allow a patient to identify herself from the record. The Johnson County, Kansas District Court Judge listened to this argument and later refused to honor a grand jury subpoena.

Such rulings place Planned Parenthood above the law. Certainly the woman herself knows she had an abortion. Preventing legitimate law enforcement efforts to obtain information to verify legal compliance in order to prevent a woman who already knows she had an abortion from identifying herself from her own medical records does not add anything to patient privacy but it sure prevents prosecution.

Although I won my legal battle in that the Kansas Supreme Court ordered Planned Parenthood to provide my office the redacted records and I charged Planned Parenthood with criminal charges: the men and women in robes hold the final card. As the case was preparing for trial, the Kansas Supreme Court, without notice and without stated legal justification, simply ordered the key witness to Planned Parenthood's alleged crimes into silence by issuing a one paragraph order telling the key witness to alleged criminal activity that he can no longer speak. The Planned Parenthood charges are still pending and the gag order also still stands.

Planned Parenthood is sure hoping what worked in Kansas will work in Texas and that the rabbit hole will grow much, much larger.

For more information and the full story regarding Ms. Abby Johnson's resignation visit

© Phill Kline


The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
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Phill Kline

Phill Kline is the former Attorney General of Kansas who is, to date, the only Attorney General / prosecutor ever to obtain abortion records and formally charge both George Tiller and Planned Parenthood... (more)

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