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Kansas House Speaker's Failed Leadership Lets Abortionist Off the Hook

Neufeld blocked every effort to bring abortionist Tiller to justice


Contact: Troy Newman, President, 316-841-1700; Cheryl Sullenger, Senior Policy Advisor, 316-516-3034; both with Operation Rescue,


TOPEKA, Kansas. May 24 /Standard Newswire/ -- House Speaker Melvin Neufeld's failed leadership on life issues has allowed late-term abortionist George R. Tiller to continue to flout Kansas law that bans abortions after the 21st week of gestation. After blocking efforts by pro-life groups and legislators to take meaningful action to insure that Kansas abortion laws are enforced, Neufeld proposed a series of ineffective and inadequate plans that served to essentially paralyze the House on the Tiller matter.


"We think members of the House need to seriously consider whether they can move forward with the current leadership," said Cheryl Sullenger, Senior Police Advisor for Operation Rescue. "Men who say one thing and do another cannot be trusted to lead, especially when the consequences of their duplicity result in the loss of innocent lives."


Neufeld opposed a House Resolution supported by a number of pro-life/pro-family groups that would have compelled Attorney General Paul Morrison to reinstate 30 criminal charges against Tiller that had been filed by former Attorney General Phill Kline, only to be dismissed on shaky jurisdictional grounds the following day.


Secret Plan to Subpoena Tiller Documents


Behind the scenes, efforts were underway to conduct a House investigation that would have included subpoenas for documents related to Tiller charges previously filed by Kline. Those documents would have revealed exactly what is going on inside Tiller's unregulated and uninspected abortion mill that caused Kline to file 30 criminal counts against the infamous late-term abortionist last December.


Ill-conceived Provisos


It is unclear why Neufeld so adamantly opposed the investigation and subpoenas, since that would have been the most effective strategy to uncover the truth about Tiller's questionable abortion practice. Instead, Neufeld came up with the failed scheme to drop the resolution and investigation in favor of introducing provisos to be attached to the omnibus budget bill. Neufeld mistakenly insisted that the provisos would strengthen the existing abortion reporting laws, giving the public more information about why women are aborting in the later stages of pregnancy.


"Neufeld's provisos gave the impression that there is something wrong with the current abortion reporting laws. That is simply not true. The reporting laws in Kansas are good ones. The problem we have is that they just are not enforced," said Sullenger. "Neufeld should have been insisting on the enforcement of existing laws, instead of manufacturing excuses to pass new and unnecessary ones."


In the end, only the weakest of the three proposed provisos survived to reach the desk of Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, an avid supporter of radical abortion rights, and recipient of huge Tiller campaign contributions. As predicted, Sebelius vetoed the proviso citing the false concern that it would violate the privacy of women obtaining abortions in Kansas. An attempt to override the veto failed in the Senate.


"Not only were the provisos unnecessary, but they gave ammunition to the other side to continue to mislead the public that the privacy of women is somehow endangered," said Sullenger. "I don't think the proviso plan could have been worse for the pro-life side if Neufeld had been taking his cues directly from Tiller's political action committee, ProKanDo."


Neufeld's Private Investigation?


Once it became obvious that the proviso scheme was a failure, Neufeld began to confide in certain legislators that he had a new plan that would be better than obtaining the Tiller documents through his subpoena power.


One source, who wished to remain anonymous, told Operation Rescue that Neufeld was telling individual legislators that he had investigators working on the Tiller case, and that in 40 days he would have information more incriminating than that which former Attorney General Kline was able to obtain during his three year investigation. Neufeld used this alleged private investigation as a ploy to impede efforts to launch the House investigation and issue subpoenas.


"For one thing, I would like to know how Neufeld thinks he can get information that the chief law enforcement officer of the state was unable to get," said Sullenger. "This ploy was nothing more than a stall tactic at best and a bald-faced lie at worst to sidetrack the more effective efforts to bring Tiller to justice."


"Sine Die" - Babies Die


Hope remained that legislators would be able to reason with Neufeld and convince him to move forward with the House investigation and subpoenas on the final day of the legislative session, known by the Latin term "Sine Die," meaning ironically "without another day." Those hopes were dashed when the chairman of the House State and Federal Affairs Committee Arlen Siegfreid backed out of the plan at the eleventh hour.


"'Sine Die' had a double meaning for those babies that would have beeen spared if the truth behind the Tiller charges had been allowed to come out. They are literally without another day," said Sullenger.


Resigned in Protest


Five legislators, frustrated with the failed leadership and political stonewalling, met with Neufeld at 6:00 a.m. on Sine Die to tender their resignations from the House State and Federal Affairs Committee in protest of the botched handling of the Tiller scandal. Another meeting was scheduled for 3:00 p.m. that afternoon.


After what one witness described as "considerable browbeating" throughout the day, four of the five legislators withdrew their resignations at the afternoon meeting. One legislator, Rep. Ben Hodge, held his ground and maintained his protest.


"It was a black, black day in Kansas," said Operation Rescue President Troy Newman the day after Sine Die. "We had an opportunity to make public the dirty secrets of the abortion industry - information they have gone to great lengths to suppress - but the legislature lacked the political will to do it."


Morrison Now Free to Sweep Case Under the Rug


Meanwhile, Attorney General Morrison, himself the beneficiary of campaign mailings and phone calls financed by groups linked to Tiller, plans to announce the outcome of his own investigation around mid-June, but the pro-life leaders who have worked so hard to see Tiller answer his charges in a court of law are not holding their collective breath.


"The timing of Morrison's announcement is a political move to insure that the Legislature has no ability to intervene or force his hand. We know that a man like Morrison, who owes so much to Tiller, will do all he can to persuade people that there was nothing in the Tiller documents worth pursuing," said Newman.


If the House had been successful at making those documents public, it would have been impossible for Morrison to sweep the Tiller criminal case under the rug. Now that is exactly what pro-life supporters expect him to do.


"The one ones who will pay the price for this are the innocent babies that should have their lives protected by Kansas law, but do not," said Sullenger. "Those lives cannot be brought back. The damage is permanent and far-reaching and will adversely affect families in every state in the nation. Troy said it was a black day in Kansas, but it was really a black day for all of America."


Operation Rescue is one of the leading pro-life Christian activist organizations in the nation.  Operation Rescue recently made headlines when it bought and closed an abortion clinic in Wichita, Kansas and has become the voice of the pro-life activist movement in America.  Its activities are on the cutting edge of the abortion issue, taking direct action to restore legal personhood to the pre-born and stop abortion in obedience to biblical mandates.