HealthLawProf Blog

Editor: Katharine Van Tassel
Concordia University School of Law

Sunday, February 27, 2005

Kansas Prosecutor and Abortion Records

The New York Times reported earlier this week on a Kansas prosecutor's request for certain abortion records from two Kansas medical clinics.  The article states,

Attorney General Phill Kline, a Republican who has made fighting abortion a staple of his two years in the post, is demanding the complete medical files of scores of women and girls who had late-term abortions, saying on Thursday that he needs the information to prosecute criminal cases.

Mr. Kline emphasized statutory rape at a news conference here but also spoke obliquely of other crimes that court documents suggest could include doctors' providing illegal late-term abortions and health professionals' failing to heed a state law that requires the reporting of suspected child sexual abuse.

"When a 10-, 11- or 12-year-old child is pregnant, under Kansas law that child has been raped, and as the state's chief law enforcement official it is my obligation to investigate child rape in order to protect Kansas children," Mr. Kline said. "There are two things that child predators want, access to children and secrecy. As attorney general, I'm bound and determined not to give them either."

I agree with the individual in the story who states that they don't like seeing medical records used to determine whether crimes have been committed.  Surely, there are other law enforcement methods available.  For a further discussion of this case, and some of the politics involved, please see Ezra Klein's blog, February 26, post entitled, "What's the Matter with Kansas Now?"  [bm]

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