It’s hard to believe, but the former Attorney General of Kansas Phill Kline saga continues. In case you’ve forgotten this inquisition of ill intent, let me refresh your memory. Phill Kline is the former AG who decided to go on a fishing expedition into women’s private medical records in order to drive reproductive health care providers out of business.
However, this time, Kline is on the flip side of the coin. The Kansas Board of Discipline of Attorneys will be holding a hearing on February 21st to deliberate on Kline’s disbarment for his wrong doings in his quest for the private medical records of 90 women who had later terminations of pregnancy. Kline is now outraged with the system that he so cleverly manipulated for personal gain.
An email recently circulated from Kline’s wife, Deborah Shattuck-Kline, and was sent to all of their followers across the country. In this sensationalized piece of propaganda, Shattuck-Kline continues to claim that the State of Kansas, in its entirety, has been involved in a vast cover-up conspiracy and is in the pocket of reproductive health care providers.
Let’s take a look at some of the history and facts of the case:
- Kline’s crusade to shut down abortion providers and harass women began back in October of 2003, when sealed subpoenas showed up at Dr. Tiller’s clinic, Women’s Health Care Services and at Comprehensive Health of Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri. Due to the gag order on the subpoenas, the general public and the press did not learn about his fishing expedition until early winter of 2004.
- Kline spun his zealotry against the clinics as protection of children from rapists, even though the vast majority of the records that he sought were for adult women. It didn’t take long for the media to see through this politically motivated ploy. However, the case raged on, with the real threat of women’s privacy being violated.
- It became clear that the only way Kline was ever going to stop his trolling for women’s medical records was for him to lose his AG seat. Due to his blatant misuse of his governmental office and extravagant expenditures, he lost his position to Paul Morrison by a 16-point margin in 2006, which was remarkable given the Republican vs. Democratic registration in Kansas. These numbers showed just how fed up Kansans were with his one-issue-ax-to-grind agenda.
- After Kline gained access to women’s medical records, it was discovered that these private records were taken to a Kline staffer’s home and also photocopied for unknown reasons at a local print shop.
- Shockingly, right-wing talking head Bill O’Reilly somehow, miraculously, had all the information from those private medical records that Kline so diligently sought.
- Bill O’Reilly then used those records to create his own personal platform in order to demonize Dr. George Tiller. He railed against Dr. Tiller night after night, for months on end, calling him heinous names, which clearly worked to incite violence against Dr. Tiller.
In her recent email propaganda, Mrs. Kline asserts that the State of Kansas is taking undue, unwarranted actions against her husband for his abuse of public office. Let us not forget the years spent in litigation over these charges – seven-and-a-half and counting. Let us not forget the unknown cost of Kansas tax-payer dollars used to lead this crusade.
And it’s not over – Kline still has his legal fees covered through the Tort Claims Fund in Kansas. Finally, let us not forget that not one finger was lifted to help the children who need protection from neglectful and abusive people. Nor was a finger lifted to actually help the pregnant women who could have greatly benefited from a more benevolent State.
Let us also remember that the former AG’s motives were not pure— they were smoke and mirrors. What he purported was a crusade to protect minors, was, in reality, a crusade to meddle in the private lives of women and to shut down doctors who provide a service critical to public health. If his motives had been pure, he would have also investigated others who are obligated to report the rape of minors, such as crisis pregnancy centers, a full range of doctors, teachers, social workers and hospitals. Kline’s former Chief Deputy, Eric Rucker, who has also faced disciplinary actions in this case, admitted that they had not investigated any other mandatory reporters.
On February 21st, we hope that the disciplinary panel will hold Kline accountable and serve him with the severest penalty under their jurisdiction. Phill Kline should be ashamed of himself for making a mockery of our political, legal, and judicial systems and for meddling in the lives of women and their families at a time when they face such critical and sensitive circumstances. Shame on you, Phill.