Phill's LLast Hurrah

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Kansas' rabid anti-abortion attorney general Phill "God meant for me to have two Ls" Kline—last seen by Jacob Sullum taking a sweet consolation prize after voters ousted him—is making one last, futile attack against the state's most controversial abortionist. A final "surge" of lawsuits, if you will.

Kansas' attorney general, a vocal abortion opponent, has filed criminal charges against Wichita abortion provider George Tiller, the doctor's attorney said Friday.

Tiller's clinic, known for being one of the few in the country to do late-term procedures, has been a high-profile target of anti-abortion protesters for decades. The clinic was bombed in 1985, and Tiller was shot in both arms by a protester in 1993.

Kline, who lost his re-election bid in November and leaves office in three weeks, has been investigating whether Tiller and other abortion providers performed illegal late-term abortions in Kansas or failed to report suspected child abuse as required by law.

Laugh if you want. In a few years, we'll all be begging for representation from Nifong Kline LP.

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  1. Why would I laugh? If a pro-lifer is using his office to try and stop late term abortions in court, what’s the problem? Why would “we” need Nifong, who hides evidence in a case that is filled with questions, to defend us? Are you trying to say that the corrupt Nifong is somehow morally superior to the outgoing prolifer?

    Not all libertarians are prochoice. The whole “do no harm” principle easily applies to the unborn.

  2. The whole “do no harm” principle easily applies to the unborn.

    That’s right it applies to the unborn. Therefore, when an fetus is about to ruin the life of the mother, it should be aborted.

    Call it self-defense.

  3. Yelowd,

    The point here is that these are both examples of overzealous prosecutors applying a microscope to particular parties in order to try and find something prosecutable in their behavior. That’s not really how it’s supposed to work.

  4. Why would I laugh?

    Sometimes, I laugh to keep from crying.

  5. Akira,
    Brilliant twist. The problem is with that rational you are admitting the fetus is a human which opens up all sorts of legal and philsophical cans of worms. The other problem is you are claiming that the mother was unknowing of the possible results of sex (prepare your rape and incest arguments). I guess I should just toss the whole personal responsibility thing right out the window.

  6. Brian,

    I get what Weigel was trying to do, but the overzealous prosecutor link doesn’t really work in this case, which makes for a lousy joke.

    Yeah, to any choicer they’ll see an overzealous prosecutor. OTOH, the prosecutor believes the abortions are murdering real people. If you believe that, than he’s about as overzealous as an abolitionist.

    Nifong wasn’t exactly overzealous about finding white, rich kids to prosecute for raping black strippers. He was political, won his election, and is now a pragmatist. If he has a history of going after white, rich kids, I’ll take it all back and get the joke.

  7. The problem is with that rational you are admitting the fetus is a human which opens up all sorts of legal and philsophical cans of worms.

    Not it doesn’t. If a mad dog or wild animal is going to kill you, a human should have the right to kill it.

    Ditto with a fetus. Abort the little fucker. Hell, legalize infanticide for all I care. It’s not as if the loss of a child who isn’t providing jack or shit to civilization is going to matter. Weep for the death of the experience and educated, not blank slates. We can breed more of those.

    The other problem is you are claiming that the mother was unknowing of the possible results of sex (prepare your rape and incest arguments). I guess I should just toss the whole personal responsibility thing right out the window.

    So do you see pregnancy for a punishment for sex outside the prison called marriage?

    I would say that a woman who doesn’t abort a fetus when it’s obvious that they don’t have the means or inclination to care for it is being irresponsible.

  8. I guess I should just toss the whole personal responsibility thing right out the window.

    In a sense, yes. What other undesired conditions easily linked to behavior do we “hold people responsible for” by refusing treatment? Heart attacks in the obese? Lung cancer in smokers? Hardly. Personal responsibility only goes so far. In a world where _everyone_ takes risks, we would all be in serious trouble, both as individuals and a society, if there weren’t ways to ameliorate the consequences.

  9. It’s the castle principle. If someone’s in your house stealing your stuff, and if they pose a threat to your life, have a right to defend yourself. If they’re in your belly, metabolising your glucose, and they pose a threat to your life (childbirth still isn’t risk free) you certainly don’t have to sit around and ponder the ontological riddles of when human existence begins. They’re a threat, and may be eliminated if the need is felt by the owner of the body in question.

    Yes, I’m being flippant, but still, the point here is that the AG in question makes no bones about the fact that he’s intentionally going after this guy because he doesn’t like the doctor’s LEGAL activities. Kline doesn’t exactly go after doctors who treat underage miscarriages to see if they’ve failed to report alleged sexual assault, like he does with abortionists. Because he’s not interested in finding doctors who don’t report underage pregnancies, he’s interested in putting people who do legal abortions in jail. It’s abuse of power, and it’s wrong.

  10. Yelowd- The thing is that a prosecutor is supposed to enforce the law, not his particular view of morality. That’s the job. Looking for anything prosecutable because you don’t like the legal business a person is running is not the job.

    That has nothing to do with life/choice. It has everything to do with his responsibility as a prosecutor.

  11. Did this abortion doctor actually break the law (even if many people, myself included, may disagree with it)? Is it a scofflaw situation?

    I’m thinking this is not an irrelevant distinction here, particularly if you want to make comparisons to Nifong (where there’s little evidence to suggest the accused broke any kind of law).

  12. “Personal responsibility only goes so far”
    So should we scrap involuntary manslaughter? Heart attacks, lung cancer, etc. are a result of poor decisions that at the core only affect that person. It doesn’t do any harm to another person. Whatever you want to say, everyone knows sex makes babies. You could argue that sex resulting in a child that is then aborted was actually reckless endangerment of another human. It’s a sad state of affairs when those who can easily excuse their actions are making arguments for why it’s ok to off someone who can’t defend their rights in any way (and can’t even really do that for years after being born).

    Akira,

    Hilarious. Either you’re bat shit crazy or you’re just trying to give me a hard time.

  13. Kline, who lost his re-election bid in November and leaves office in three weeks, has been investigating whether Tiller and other abortion providers performed illegal late-term abortions in Kansas or failed to report suspected child abuse as required by law.

    OK, so it’s Kansas, and the fundie wackos there are about the worst in the nation. Still, there is the law, and it’s quite possible that this doctor has violated it.

    Kline should have left the decision to press charges to the incoming AG, though, instead of being a prick by playing “gotcha” politics and forcing the new AG into a bad spot as he enters office.

    However, sometimes pricks in government pull shenanigans as they leave office. Just ask Marc Rich.

  14. Akira, speaking as one pro-choice person to another: you’re not helping.

  15. I’m guessing that most prosecutors are generally looking for possible crime violations, in the same way the police are always out and about, in the same way the IRS is always watching. If there is talk of law breaking abortions, then it is fair game to investigate and press charges.

    Can any of you tell me how the unborn are to defend themselves? They didn’t choose to bring themselves into the world. Two people chose to have sex or mix a cocktail in a turkey baster and made a kid. Since everyone seems to be conceding that the unborn are humans (castle principle, self defense, etc.) what rights do they have and why should they start only at birth when the child still can’t defend itself. Now to reverse the situation, should we be able to sue our parents for making us, for not being the best parents? What harm do our parents do us and should we be able to kill them if that harm is a great burden? Should I be able to off my mother if she goes to a nursing home? Should I be able to off any retiree who is bleeding me of my hard earned dollars through medicaid, medicare, social security, etc.? They are a burden, individually and a whole. In fact everyone is a burden when you get down to it. How far do we take individualism?

  16. Count me as one who concurs entirely with AKIRA’s admittedly provocative commentary above.

    If a female knows full well she has no commitment to raising a delivered baby to adulthood, she would do well to terminate the little scudder ASAP.

  17. yelowd,

    I’ve never been able to come up with a coherent answer to your question.

    Sadly, by Akira’s logic, if a mother realizes two months after birth that she is unable to raise it, or the kid is just too much of a damn burden, well, the kid can’t take care of itself, so it’s fair game.

  18. “How far do we take individualism?”

    I don’t know exactly, but I do know that there is no objective principle upon which the determination of a fetus as a person, or non-person can be made. It is simply personal belief. As a result I don’t see how your belief should trump mine as a matter of government intervention. In other words, if you think a fetus is a person, then don’t have/(participate in) an abortion. Others who disagree, finding a fetus to be no more a person, yet no less human than a liver can do what they feel is right for them.

    But thats just my two cents, and I mean no offense.

  19. but I do know that there is no objective principle upon which the determination of a fetus as a person, or non-person can be made

    We establish reasonable and unreasonable legal definitions and standards for many things, like when life ends and whether you’re drunk.

    Although it wouldn’t satisfy the life-begins-at-conception crowd nor the infanticide-is-okay-until-puberty group, there is no real reason why we cannot establish a legal definition of when a person’s life begins.

  20. Phill’s off base here but there is plenty of precedent for these kinds of presecutorial shenanigans.

  21. Judge dismisses charges Kline filed against Wichita doctor

    Clark signed his one-page order only hours after Kline’s complaint against Tiller was unsealed.

    http://www.kansascity.com/mld/kansascity/16300454.htm

  22. Akira, speaking as one pro-choice person to another: you’re not helping.

    Jennifer, you and I both know that sooner or later some Christard is going to play the “infanticide” card and claim that if we can allow abortion because a fetus can be an inconvenience we should allow infanticide. They expect us to backpeddle in hopes that if we can see the immorality in the latter act, we’ll see it in the former. I was once anti-abortion, so I know how these people think, and I’d rather be thought of as a callous baby killer than ever give philosphical ground to any Christian pile of shit.

  23. Akira,

    Frankly, I like your style.I find you less offensive than those who claim abortion is morally wrong, but ok for others. If it is morally wrong because you believe that someone is killing a person, than you actually have a duty to defend those who can’t defend themselves. If you’re going to be for abortion, why be ashamed? Jennifer, Akira, is right. The reason that Akira isn’t helping is because in quite course terms, that’s the reason people are aborted. Any hint of being ashamed, any hint that pulling the baby out except for the head and then driving a spike through the brain makes you squeemish calls into question the morality of the very act. If you can’t look upon the 88,000 aborted people in New York and not think “wonderful,” you’re giving ground. If you can’t look upon early stage abortions at tiny, severed hands and feet, at chemically burned fetuses, without any twinge of disgust, then it is hard for me to actually believe you are pro-choice. If you only want abortion to be seen as a “sanitary procedure” it’s simply not the case. If you want to think there is some better reason, than selfishness in most cases of abortion than you shouldn’t argue. At the core, Akira is right. But again, Akira, opens up pandora’s box and returns us to Hobbes state of nature. And in that state of nature when Akira gets older or becomes a burden, Akira’s children or society abort Akira because “…when an fetus is about to ruin the life of the mother, it should be aborted.” So why not dispose of Akira when he is about to ruin the life of the child.

    Having said that, I’m actually even more disturbed by the notion. The child isn’t ruining the life at that moment, but it is the belief or perception that the child is “about to ruin the life of the mother” that justifies killing it. Swell. Let me complicate things more, what if the father wants his life “ruined”?

  24. Yelowd, I have no interest in discussing whether an unborn fetus is a human or not in some existential term. As a matter of law, it is not. Therefore, abortion is not legally murder, even if that particular form of abortion is outlawed, it is a different crime than murder.

    We were being a bit flippant, and I do appologize at least for my own remarks. However, I do think that regardless of what Phill here thinks about abortion, what the doctor he’s persecuting does is legal. Even if Phill think’s the doc’s committing murder, it’s not LEGALLY murder, so it’s none of Phill’s business. It’s ALSO not Phill’s job to find a person legally doing something Phill doesn’t like and then to keep digging, with no evidence, to find something he can prosecute on. If strip clubs are legal, it’s not acceptable to raid them three times a month to see if they’re serving underage drinkers if you’re not doing the same thing to non-sex-related bars. You just don’t take your personal likes and dislikes and use that to decide whom you’re going to investigate. You investigate people for whom you have evidence of a crime, not people you hate.

  25. At the core, Akira is right. But again, Akira, opens up pandora’s box and returns us to Hobbes state of nature. And in that state of nature when Akira gets older or becomes a burden, Akira’s children or society abort Akira because “…when an fetus is about to ruin the life of the mother, it should be aborted.” So why not dispose of Akira when he is about to ruin the life of the child.

    Yeah, because an idividual with a lifetime of knowledge and experience is somehow as great a loss to society as drooling babbling baby.

    But, don’t worry your brainless Christian head. If that day comes that I am no longer capable of taking care of myself, I’ll do my hypothetical spawn a favor and do myself in… of course, your fucking religion seeks to deprive me of my right to suicide just as it does women the right to control what goes on in their uterus, all in the name of your non-existent “God.”

  26. You just don’t take your personal likes and dislikes and use that to decide whom you’re going to investigate. You investigate people for whom you have evidence of a crime, not people you hate.

    Lunch, you obviously haven’t been watching House.

  27. Still not helping

    What-the fuck-ever.

  28. I wonder how long Richard Dawkins has been posting comments here under Akira MacKenzie’s name. (Oh, and thank you A.K., I’d say you’re helping articulate the morality of your position perfectly.)

    Speaking of House, how long before Tritter or his wife or child gets rolled in on a gurney with a mysterious, life threatening disease?

  29. I wonder how long Richard Dawkins has been posting comments here under Akira MacKenzie’s name.

    And you’re Pat Robertson and your fellow Jesus-fucker, yellowd, is Pope Nazi I.

    (Oh, and thank you A.K., I’d say you’re helping articulate the morality of your position perfectly.)

    While you’ve shown the fascism of the anti-abortion position perfectly.

  30. “””Although it wouldn’t satisfy the life-begins-at-conception crowd nor the infanticide-is-okay-until-puberty group, there is no real reason why we cannot establish a legal definition of when a person’s life begins.”””

    Sure there is a real reason, it’s because we can’t agree on a definition.

    I say when it no longer requires a host to survive.

    Someone really disagrees with me in 3, 2, 1….

  31. I’m sorry for being such a SoB, folks. I’m having one of my manic episodes.

  32. Sure there is a real reason, it’s because we can’t agree on a definition.
    =======================================
    We can’t have a consensus definition because we have no clear, universally-agreed upon analogies. Clearly, a fetus is neither a baby nor a tumor. It’s somewhere in between, and we don’t have any positive law precedent to deal with it.

    So let’s take a different approach. Western Civilization has a long history of using story to determine what’s just and what’s unjust. Also, we tend to agree that there are a couple of “tie-breakers”: when in doubt, side with the party who has the most to lose, pay special attention to the party who has no recourse other than law, etc.

    A fetus isn’t a baby. It may or may not be, in some objective senses, a person. But it is an entirely helpless party who is dependent on the good graces of the person with whom it shares the closest of human relationships. Should it be legal to break this connection by performing an act that would be infanticide under slightly different circumstances?

    I think that it shouldn’t be legal. I can’t prove it with a syllogysm or make recourse to any tried and true legal axioms, but I can make the judgement that the act in question isn’t conducive to preserving the set of attitudes we call human nature.

  33. Lunch,

    I find the legal / not legal thing fascinating on libertarian website. While Akira thinks I’m some nutjob, I’m simply a firm believer in a human’s right to life, liberty, and property (yes, with much influence from my Christian beliefs). How often does this magazine and everyone on it push or promote something that is currently illegal or bemoan something becoming illegal, all the while believing in the rightness of their position?

    Kline is simply another person who is fighting for a cause and pushing the boundary. Where would the libertarians be on the issue of slavery in America. Would you be a little “r” republican and say that the blacks were not fully men because they didn’t fight to free themselves (a widely accepted notion at the time) or would we recognize their humanity despite the fact that slavery was legal and even spread to the north due to the Dred Scott decision? If you believed slavery to be wrong is it “ok” to fight that fight by stealing slaves, writing papers, legally challenging it, using official offices to try and rid the country of it, helping slaves escape?

    Let’s dispense with judging the rightness of Kline’s actions through the legal or illegal lens and look at his actions for how I would guess he sees it as good man vs. good citizen. Plenty of good citizens of plenty of states around the world have committed legal, heinous acts. And almost always its done in behind closed doors in secret or remote places.

    Plenty of good men have committed illegal acts because they had morality on their side. So to go back to my original point, Kline should not be lumped in with Nifong for us all to get a good laugh.

    Frankly, I’m a bit saddened that not more than 2 people on this thread are willing to even consider the very obvious: Sex can result in a baby. If you’re having sex, just maybe there is an implicit responsibility for whatever may come … not the people involved, just a baby. And if we recognize that when sperm and egg unite it’s the beginning of humanity and the fetus begins to develop more and more and that even out of the womb it can’t do a damn thing on it’s own except cry, eat, poop, and sleep (parents, you know what I’m talking about) and not until it gets much older can it maybe fend for itself. So if there is a human somewhere in there, why not say do no harm to it since it didn’t chose to do harm to the mother (or host for Akira). And let’s not judge it on it’s value to society (way to throw out individualism). Humans have value in simply being.

    Alright, sorry for the long post. I feel I’ve got to respond to several different people. Tear it up, I’ll check back later. ps. I’m not a troll, usually I just read and I’m not witty enough to add much to things like the regulars, but this one got me going.

  34. Thanks, Freespeech

  35. Tricky, I think we can agree on a definition and we have done so on many thorny issues. For example, we have decided that you can be put to death for the premeditated murder of another human being. Some say that ain’t right and there is room for argument and discussion and change. But, we have, in fact, established a legal standard for when the state may put you to death for murder.

    I suggest viability as a standard because it is both a reasonable standard and an elastic standard that will automatically adjust itself to a changing world (shrinking toward conception as medical technology evolves).

    If the unwanted freeloader can be removed and survive outside the womb, either with or without medical intervention, then it’s viable. And, it’s yours. Raise it or give it away, your choice. If it dies, you win.

  36. yellowd, agreed on the irony of the legal/not legal dichotomy.

    I am a big believer that morality trumps law on many issues, particularly the so-called victimless stuff (typical libertarian in the respect).

  37. Why can’t we all be pro-life and pro-choice?

  38. I meant to quote that and respond with this:

    Life for conscious humans is a known quantity, but life (or pre-life) for fetuses (fetii?) is less known because none of us have conscious memories stretching back that far. Maybe a fetus is just a lump and everything that makes us human comes later. I doubt it, but maybe. If I’m facing an ambiguous ethical decision, I will have to use biases and presuppositions rather than hard facts. I choose to be biased towards human life, because life is incredible and I’m certainly enjoying mine. I rarely say this about things I believe (rather than know), but there truly OUGHT TO BE A LAW against not being biased in favor of life.

  39. I’d like to answer yellowd, who I would not “excommunicate” from libertarianism just because he happens to think that an individual’s individuality kicks in before its body exits the birth canal. There’s been a Libertarians for Life organization since 1976, for cryin’ out loud.

    Ever since I first started thinking for myself on this topic, my take has been based on the fact that we judge the end of life by a mental standard. When someone is “brain dead” we can declare them legally dead, harvest their organs, turn off the artificial life support. The determination has to be made that they are incapable of resuming their life as a thinking and/or feeling person. If society were ever to negotiate a pre-birth standard for the beginning of life, it would have to similarly be based on the normal development of a fetus’ brain. When a conceptus is too young it is physically incapable of feeling, let alone thinking. Is it scientifically impossible to draw a bright line before which abortions for convenience would be allowed, and after which some more serious reason (e.g. saving the mother’s life) would be demabded? I don’t care if abortion stops a beating heart, if the Mark I brain that heart is to be in service of has never “booted up.”

    Of course, enforcing a particular theological view without some alternate explanation that would satisfy those of other or no religious opinion would be out of bounds in such a discussion.

    One thing Tiller may or may not have been doing that infuriates the anti-abortion/pro-life crowd is abusing the “health of the mother” exception. That “loophole” that resulted from the SCOTUS opinions in Roe and its follow-on cases makes a dead letter of restrictive legislation, even if it is of the types allowed to the states in the second and third trimesters. Checking off “psychological harm” as a reason to allow last minute abortions in all cases doesn’t sound like real doctoring to me. If your objection is that women and their doctors shouldn’t be forced into such a charade, that’s well and good, but it may not be Kansas law.

    Kevin

  40. YELOWD laments: Frankly, I’m a bit saddened that not more than 2 people on this thread are willing to even consider the very obvious: Sex can result in a baby.

    SH: More directly, sex can result in an embryo; an undisturbed embryo can result in a fetus and a nurtured fetus can result in a baby.

    If you don’t want your “sex to result in a baby” and your birth control fails, thank goodness you can remove the embryo or even the fetus long before an unwanted baby develops.

    God Bless America

  41. “They” will not be able to euthanize “unwanted old people” en masse without sufficient legal support from the populace.

    So spare me any red herrings in that context.

    One person makes the decision if a woman will voluntarily carry a fetus to term. It is not decided by legislative fiat or “majority rules” or any other spectre one might like to imagine is in play.

    ====

  42. AKIRA, if you were apologizing earlier in the thread for your choice of invective, then cool.

    However, in unlikely event you were apologizing for being supportive of the right to terminate an unwanted pregnancy, you never need to say you’re sorry.

    Three cents for previous three posts.

    Plus a nickel

    SIC

  43. I wonder how long Richard Dawkins has been posting comments here under Akira MacKenzie’s name.

    Dawkins doesn’t tend to use words like “Christard” and “Christian pile of shit.”

    Still, he would probably agree with Akira’s general position.

  44. [quote]If that day comes that I am no longer capable of taking care of myself, I’ll do my hypothetical spawn a favor and do myself in…[/quote]

    No you wouldn’t. You’d crap your panties and, given the opportunity, gladly sacrifice one “spawn” per minute of added life to your pathetic carcass. Because all that matters is Akira.

    Traditional conservative values > Libertarionism.

  45. Nonsense. AKIRA’s stated views again reflect my own. I’d be happy to cut the cord if I found myself in a completley unviable position and future physically and medically.

    I don’t fear death, so what’s the big deal?

  46. I suggest viability as a standard because it is both a reasonable standard and an elastic standard that will automatically adjust itself to a changing world (shrinking toward conception as medical technology evolves).

    hmmm, i don’t think so- your reductio points to the hole in that argument. most people (at least those who aren’t hobbled by manic depression, bigotry, and parent issues) would agree that a blastocyst is not a human but that a fetus about to crown is. as technology pushes viability back toward blastocyst, does that make the little cell clump any more human?

    i’ll pimp again for what i think is the logical position, covering fetuses and terri schiavo- the existence of organized cerebral activity. one’s humanity or lack thereof should not be determined by the state of technology, but rather, should be defined by endogenous factors.

  47. Akira, when I taught high school and my students had to write a “persuasive essay,” one of the rules was that they could not use insults or accusations; nobody has ever changed their minds because their opponents called them evil or, in your case, “Christian pieces of shit.” Also, not all Christians are brainless, despite what you’d like to pretend. As a pro-choice atheist, I respectfully request that you stay the fuck away from your computer when you’re having your mood swings, because I am sick and tired of people assuming that I’m as spiteful, bigoted and irrational as you.

    Seriusly, Akira: “all Christians are stupid” is exactly as valid as “all atheists are immoral.” If you’re going to argue the former, stop being offended by those who would argue the latter.

  48. in the spirit of the holidays, i’d like to offer this prayer.

    dear baby jesus, to whom we offer this wonderful day of roast beef (and maybe some coffee and pie after dinner), can you see it in your tiny perfect infant heart to get akira a piece of ass before he turns into an angry atheist version of comic book guy? yea, verily, for his sorely vexed and vexedly sore, as converts tend to be, and i doubt any re-readings of eric hoffer’s seminal work “the true believer” will help.

    amen.

    ps. baby jesus, we must skip the burn victims but bbw is totally cool. not sure about eyepatches or peglegs, but i will check and get back to you later. peace.

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