Kansas City, Mo. Johnson County District Attorney Phill Kline fired another volley in his battle against abortion providers by filing more than 100 criminal charges Wednesday against a Planned Parenthood clinic in Overland Park.
It's a high-profile clash that dates back to Kline's days as Kansas attorney general, when the conservative Republican fought to obtain abortion records from the clinic.
In all, 107 counts - 23 felonies and 84 misdemeanors - were filed Wednesday. The charges include 29 misdemeanor counts of providing unlawful late-term abortions.
The charges have activists on both sides of the issue debating Kline's motives and the potential impact of the case on the abortion debate.
Kline isn't talking for now. He declined comment Wednesday through his spokesman, Brian Burgess.
Peter Brownlie, president and chief executive officer of Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri, which runs the Overland Park clinic, said his organization hasn't had any contact with Kline's office. But he said he has heard rumors for months that Kline was planning to file criminal charges.
"I've heard nothing at all about specific charges that have been filed," Brownlie said. "We always provide high-quality care in full accord with state and federal law."
As for claims that the clinic performed illegal late-term abortions, Brownlie said the facility doesn't perform any abortions after the 22nd week of pregnancy.
The criminal complaint also charges the clinic with multiple counts of making false information, unlawful failure to maintain records and unlawful failure to determine viability for a late-term abortion.
Documents in the case have been sealed, according to a court order. The first hearing is set for Nov. 16.
A spokeswoman for Kansas Attorney General Paul Morrison questioned whether the criminal charges brought by Kline are valid.
Morrison previously reviewed all of the allegations upon which Kline's charges are based and found no wrongdoing, she said.
"We are skeptical that these charges have any merit," said spokeswoman Ashley Anstaett.