Sebelius-directed Kansas agency destroyed key records in a criminal case against Planned Parenthood
By Les Sillars
(WNS)--A Kansas district judge Monday postponed a pre-trial hearing in the state’s criminal case against Planned Parenthood after prosecutors revealed in court filings that Kansas health officials shredded documents related to felony charges the abortion giant faces.
Prosecutors have until Nov. 9 to gather other evidence that proves that Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri manufactured the records of clients who had late-term abortions. The abortion provider faces 23 “false writing” felony charges, and the documents were evidence central to the prosecutors’ case. In filings last week, prosecutors said that the state health department had recently revealed to them that it had destroyed the documents in a “routine” shredding.
Some Kansas pro-lifers believe that the agency under Sebelius deliberately destroyed evidence that supported allegations that Planned Parenthood, one of the former governor’s staunchest political allies, was failing to report child rape. The health department failed to disclose that fact for six years, until it was forced to do so in the current felony case over whether it manufactured client records.
In 2003, Kline, who was then Kansas attorney general, opened an investigation into Planned Parenthood and other Kansas abortion providers that would over the next six years delve into whether they were reporting child rape, as required by law, keeping proper client records, and properly determining the viability of late-term babies before performing abortions.
Kansas law requires abortion providers to submit detailed patient reports to the state health department and keep copies of the reports in the patients’ files. In 2003, Kline attempted to obtain from the health agency several dozen reports Planned Parenthood had filed. The health department initially resisted, but in 2004 it turned over to Kline’s office copies of dozens of reports.
In 2006, as the investigation dragged on, Planned Parenthood was forced to turn over redacted patient files to a judge. Those files didn’t contain the legally required copies of the health department reports, so the judge asked the organization to provide them. But when they arrived, Kline’s investigators noticed that the “copies” of the reports Planned Parenthood provided didn’t match the copies of the reports the health department had submitted. It looked to the judge like Planned Parenthood had manufactured the reports—in his words, “committed felonies to cover up misdemeanors.”
Neither the judge nor prosecutors knew at this point that the original health department reports had already been shredded the year before; the Kansas Department of Health and Environment didn’t disclose it then nor during the following two years of court battles, as the state agency continued to oppose Kline’s efforts to obtain the originals.
“This was no routine purging,” said Culp of Kansans for Life. “It really does need to be investigated further.”
The trial on the “false writing” charges could still proceed, depending on the outcome of the Nov. 9 hearing. Planned Parenthood also faces 87 misdemeanor charges for failing to keep proper records and not determining the viability of a late-term baby before performing an abortion.
The abortion provider has long denied any wrongdoing. In a court filing Friday, it acknowledged “certain idiosyncrasies” in its copies of the reports but added that the records contained the same data as in the health department’s copies.