by Steven Ertelt
January 31, 2006
Wichita, KS (LifeNews.com) — A trial opened in Wichita on Monday about whether a state law prohibiting sexual relations for teenagers under the age of 16 means all health care providers must report such activity to state officials. The law has become tangled in the abortion debate because abortion facilities are not reporting the statutory rapes.
The lawsuit stems from an opinion by Kansas attorney general Phill Kline. His interpretation of the law said that abortion centers must report such underage sexual activity.
He said they should report the statutory rapes whenever "compelling evidence of sexual interaction is present."
However, Bonnie Scott Jones, an attorney for the pro-abrotion New York based Center for Reproductive Rights, told the court that Kline’s "dragnet approach" to obtaining information about statutory rapes violated the privacy rights of minors.
She claimed it also seriously endangered the health and well-being of minors, according to a New York Times report.
"Sexual abuse is not synonymous with consensual sexual activity," the Times reported Jones saying. She told district court Judge J. Thomas Marten that underage sexual activity was "a normal part of adolescent development."
But Steve Alexander, an assistant attorney general, said the statute meant those under 16 could not consent to sex and did not have the same privacy rights as adults.
The Times reported that Alexander told the judge the illegal sexual activity can lead to abortions, STDs, and other problems for young women. "To pretend otherwise is foolish," he said.
On Friday, a federal appeals court overturned a temporarily injunction preventing the reporting, but allowed time for the trial at the district court to ensue.
Kansas is one of 12 states where sex with anyone under a certain age is illegal regardless of the age of the partners.
Kline is also embroiled in a debate with abortion businesses about turning over records that his office can use to prosecute criminals who have statutorily raped young women. The abortion centers refused to provide the records to help the investigations.