Thursday, June 28, 2007

National right-to-life figure may want to thank his political opponent

By Diane Silver

Breaking news out of my home state of Kansas is making me wonder if Phill Kline -- a figure much beloved by the national anti-abortion movement -- may just have had his rear saved by a most unlikely source.

That source is Paul Morrison, the man who decimated Kline in the race for Kansas attorney general in November.

Just before Kline left office in December, the Republican filed 30 misdemeanor counts against Dr. George Tiller, a Wichita abortion provider who is much hated by the far right. Tiller is one of the few doctors in the country who does late-term abortions.

At noon, Morrison announced that he has tossed all 30 of Kline's charges, but is filing 19 other counts against Tiller. All of the charges -- both Kline's and Morrison's -- are misdemeanors.

Morrison and his office claim that Kline botched the charges he filed against Tiller. They claim that Kline and his staff did both an unethical and sloppy job.

If Morrison and company are correct, then it's likely that Kline's attempt to prosecute Tiller would have failed. If Kline's purpose is to attack, wound and otherwise keep Tiller from working, then filing a poorly prepared case wouldn't have done that.

It is too early to tell whether Kline, Morrison or neither of them are right or have done a good job. It will, however, be interesting to see the results of Morrison's case against Tiller.

Why is Kline important nationally? Simply put, his national constituency in the anti-abortion movement means that he could one day make the leap from Kansas politics to a truly national stage. Of course, if Morrison is right that Kline seriously botched the Tiller case, then that move might become a difficult one to make.

More details of Morrison's charges against Tiller are at Kansas Voice.
PHOTO: Phill Kline, current district attorney of Johnson County.

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