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Operation Rescue takes credit for criminal investigation hearing against Kansas Planned Parenthood affiliate

A four-year pending criminal case against a Planned Parenthood clinic in Overland Park, Kans., has been scheduled for a preliminary hearing on Oct. 24-27 to determine whether evidence supports 107 charges (including 23 felonies) against Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri, reports the Kansas City Star.

Former Kansas District Attorney Phill Kline initially filed the lawsuit in 2007, accusing the affiliate of falsifying records and performing illegal late-term abortions; assistant county prosecutor Chris McMullin is now leading the case.

According to the Star, a Johnson County judge ruled during a motions hearing Friday that the public will be allowed to view medical documents being used as evidence in the case, despite Planned Parenthood’s attorneys’ argument (PDF) that this would violate confidentiality agreements with their patients.

In response, the state argued (PDF):

Victim records, including colposcope photographs of genitals, are presented in court, in a discrete manner. Pornography depicting minors is routinely presented in court. Are these items less deserving of privacy and respect?

The Kansas affiliate is facing the type of scrutiny anti-abortion rights activists and certain members of Congress wish upon Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA). Last week, eight Republican representatives met at a press conference with officials from the public-interest law firm Americans United for Life (AUL), which recently released areport citing criminal allegations against Planned Parenthood and its affiliates. Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-N.C.) said she and some of her colleagues are working on launching an investigation against the health care and abortion provider but could not identify any specific plans for action.

Just as AUL is trying to help spark a legal case against PPFA, Wichita, Kans.-based Operation Rescue has been encouraging legal action against the Kansas affiliate for many years, and is now taking credit on their website for having “helped convene a citizen-called grand jury” to investigate Kansas’ Planned Parenthood affiliate.

Operation Rescue has created a time line of events leading up to this fall’s hearing against Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri. The organization claims that between November 2006 and 2009, Operation Rescue has:

  • exposed “gross misrepresentations” from the late Dr. George Tiller’s attorneys to the media about the release of subpoenaed abortion records,
  • submitted a petition and letter to Congress calling for a grand jury investigation and a halt to funding for the Kansas affiliate,
  • released four recently unsealed court records claiming Kline’s previous prosecution against the affiliate was actively being undermined by former Kansas Attorney General Stephen Six.

In May 2009, Operation Rescue released an undercover tape that encouraged the Kansas Legislature to pass an amendment to defund the state’s Planned Parenthood affiliate, but the amendment was vetoed by former Gov. Mark Parkinson. Now Operation Rescue is advertising on its site a DVDs of the documentary Bloodmoney, which was filmed in 2009 and features testimony from Operation Rescue President Troy Newman. According to the filmmakers, this movie is about Planned Parenthood, “a multi-billion dollar industry that literally thrives on the destruction of unborn babies and the traumatizing of young pregnant women.”

Watch the trailer:

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