Phill Kline v. Planned Parenthood

Ask attorneys who have spent any meaningful time litigating against Planned Parenthood and they will tell you three things (i)  Planned Parenthood will claim in court that it respects the rule of law and the constitutional rights of pro-lifers; (ii) Planned Parenthood, through their actions, has no respect whatsoever for the rule of law or the constitutional rights of pro-lifers, and (iii)  Planned Parenthood will boldly make any argument, no matter how absurd or lawless, to win at any cost when their business of aborting unborn children and compliance with the law is under justifiable scrutiny.

Every one of these dynamics is playing out simultaneously right in America’s heartland. In Kansas last month, Johnson County District Attorney Phill Kline charged Comprehensive Health Of Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid Missouri with 107 criminal charges after a District Court judge reviewed the evidence and found probable cause that crimes have been committed.  The charges stem from just 29 files dating back to 2003. 

A grand jury was lawfully convened this week by the citizens of Johnson County under Kansas law for the purpose of investigating allegations of current practices of that same Planned Parenthood. Over 6,000 Kansans signed petitions for the grand jury to go forward, all which have been certified by the Board of Elections, nearly 60% more signatures than the law requires.

Between the 107 criminal charges and the grand jury, the stage is now set for Planned Parenthood’s care and activity to be measured against the rule of law.

According to Planned Parenthood, that is not supposed to happen, at least to them.

The organization learned long ago that the legal rules that apply to everyone else do not apply to the abortion industry.  Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, a reliable pro-choice vote on the Supreme Court, decried this reality as far back as 1986 when she wrote in an opinion that “no legal rule is safe from ad hoc nullification . . .  when abortion is an issue.”

Last week Planned Parenthood took its bold (i.e., frivolous) argument to a new level by filing an action asking the Johnson County District Court of Kansas to stop the grand jury proceedings.  Did they argue some aspect of constitutionality? They absolutely did.

They argued that the grand jury should not go forward because the grand jury effort was supported and assisted by pro-life Christians. They never argued that they were innocent or that the charges were frivolous. Planned Parenthood’s best possible reasoning why they should not be investigated was that the 1st Amendment did not apply to their adversaries.

Planned Parenthood enjoys hundreds of millions of tax dollars from state and local governments each year — tax dollars taken from pro-life America. Now that organization has been criminally charged and a citizen’s petition for a grand jury investigation was reviewed and verified by the courts. Planned Parenthood could very well be using those tax dollars to commit crimes against humanity that many of those taxpayers abhor on religious and other grounds.

Such politicized contempt for the equal constitutional rights to free speech and freedom of association would be grounds for raucous laughter if recent history did not teach us that such nonsense might actually fly with some judges.

But for the determined efforts of District Attorney Phill Kline to discharge the duties of his office, uphold the law, and defend equal rights for all to free speech and association, Planned Parenthood’s arguments may have prevailed.  A day after the arguments were made, the court denied Planned Parenthood’s petition and allowed the grand jury to proceed.

This can happen anywhere. Does every town in American have a prosecutor ready to defend freedom of speech against Planned Parenthood? 

America must watch this Kansas situation very closely.  If the courts step in to rescue Planned Parenthood from the rule of law, it would be one of the most blatant acts of judicial activism and a trampling of First Amendment rights.