Abortion clinics’ request rejected
Kline investigation of medical records allowed to continue
Topeka ? Attorney General Phill Kline’s investigation into two abortion clinics will continue after the Kansas Supreme Court on Thursday dismissed a request from the clinics to take control of the probe.
Kline, who will remain in office just five more weeks, said he was pleased by the court’s ruling, adding that the clinics’ efforts “were without legal basis.”
Pedro Irigonegaray, an attorney representing the clinics, did not return a telephone call for comment. The court made its decision without comment.
One day before the Nov. 7 election, the clinics asked the court to take over the investigation and appoint a special prosecutor to look into an alleged leak surrounding the probe.
Kline, an abortion opponent, lost his re-election bid to Democrat Paul Morrison in a campaign dominated by the fight about access to medical records from the clinics.
For two years, Kline has battled the clinics operated by Planned Parenthood in Overland Park and by Dr. George Tiller, a late-term abortion specialist, in Wichita.
Kline sought through a lower court the records of 90 women and girls from the clinics, alleging possible sexual crimes against minors and illegal late-term abortions.
The Kansas Supreme Court allowed the subpoena of records provided that patient identities were redacted.
Kline received the records Oct. 24.
Several days later, he appeared on “The O’Reilly Factor” television show to talk about the case.
During the show, host Bill O’Reilly said he had information that the records showed many of the late-term abortions, which he called “executing babies,” were granted for depression.
Kline said he has no idea where O’Reilly got his information.
The clinics said O’Reilly’s comments and Kline’s appearance on the program showed that the women’s identities could be in jeopardy of being disclosed.
On Thursday, Kline said disclosure of their identities “has never been in jeopardy and they are not under any form of investigation.”
He noted that Shawnee County District Court Judge Richard Anderson, whose court has overseen the investigation, stated in response to the clinics that no patient would be identified and that the medical files may contain evidence of possible crimes.
Kline said the full investigation includes more than 175 cases of live-birth records, abortion records and DNA samples obtained through the Child Rape Protection Act.
Potential crimes under investigation include child rape, rape by force or fear, failure to report suspicion of child sexual abuse, incest, making false information, and violations of the state’s late-term abortion statute, he said.
The state high court’s refusal to intervene will keep the investigation going when Kline leaves office in January and Morrison takes over.
Morrison has asked Kline not to file any charges in the investigation before he takes office. During the campaign, Morrison said Kline’s investigation was an abuse of power.
After the election, when asked what he would do with the investigation when he is sworn in, Morrison said: “That is an open case now, and I have an obligation to look at all open cases up there, which we will do, and we’ll do that quickly. We will give that the attention that deserves. Whether that’s a lot or a little remains to be seen.”