TOPEKA The Kansas Supreme Court today ordered a lower court judge to reconsider whether to allow the continuation of an investigation by Atty. Gen. Phill Kline into two abortion clinics.
In the unanimous decision, the court said if State District Court Judge Richard Anderson decides the inquisition should continue, he must impose safeguards on subpoeanas for medical records that Kline has wanted.
Justice Carol Beier said the subpoeanas for records must be tightly restricted to protect the privacy rights of women.
At stake, Beier said was the right of a woman to get an abortion, the right to obtain confidential health care, and the right to maintain privacy over certain information.
"Only if Judge Anderson is satisfied that the attorney general is on firm legal ground should he permit the inquisition to continue and some version of subpoenas to remain in effect," the court decided.
The dispute is between Kline and clinics operated by Dr. George Tiller in Wichita and Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri in Overland Park. The case involves the records of 90 women and girls.
Kline has said he believes the 90 records contain evidence of multiple felonies and misdemeanors by the clinics and would help him build cases against sex offenders. The clinics have accused Kline of conducting a fishing expedition.