Kansas Liberty: 10 June 2008
Underdog JoCo DA says obsession with abortion is not behind Planned Parenthood prosecution
Kline files for full term despite fierce opposition
Acknowledging it will be an uphill battle, Republican Phill Kline last week announced his intention to run for a full term as Johnson County District Attorney.
He will oppose fellow Republican Steve Howe, a former Johnson County prosecutor, in the August primary. The victor will face off against Democrat Rick Guinn, also a former Johnson County prosecutor, in the November general election.
And during an interview on the Shanin & Parks radio show after making his announcement Tuesday, Kline said he also counted the traditional media, specifically the McClatchy Company's two local papers, the Kansas City Star and The Johnson County Sun, as election opponents. Both papers often have been accused of biased reporting by Republican conservatives.
Kline said the newspapers have focused exclusively on his dogged persecution of Planned Parenthood for 107 alleged crimes at a clinic in Overland Park, and have ignored his successful prosecutions of murderers and other accomplishments. Kline said the newspapers also have echoed Planned Parenthood’s assertion that Kline’s investigation would jeopardize the privacy of abortion recipients - a claim that Kline refutes and that is not supported by the public record.
However, Kline said he believed coverage of his office had served to make him somewhat “politically unpalatable.”
The case against Planned Parenthood, the first-ever case in the U.S. in which a judge has found probable cause to try the organization for felonies, also has reinforced Kline's image as a hero of the pro-life community, and pro-life activists urged him to renege on an earlier pledge and seek a full-term so the Planned Parenthood prosecution would not be abandoned.
Kline said circumstances had changed since he said in September he would not seek his own term. He added that he was unsatisfied with other candidates for the post.
While Kline has been ardently pro-life throughout his political career, he said he was not obsessed with the issue and that his personal opinion regarding abortion had no role in the pending Planned Parenthood case.
If he’s obsessed with anything, Kline said, it’s the rule of law, and that was the focus of his announcement remarks.
“Without the rule of law,” Kline said, “a society ceases to be a free and good society. The rule of law is the essence of our democracy and freedom as a people. Too often in our culture today, the rule of law is swept aside for political interests or societal outcomes. Too often today, the people’s will, as voted on by their elected representatives in government is tossed aside for some other interest.”