by Steven Ertelt
May 17, 2006
Topeka, KS (LifeNews.com) — Kansas Attorney General Phill Kline is appealing a federal judge’s ruling that says abortion facilities are not required to follow a state law that mandates the reporting of sexual abuse of minors to state officials. Two Kansas abortion businesses have been trying to avoid that responsibility and refused to provide records of abortions performed on children who were victims of statutory rape.
"[T]he court has called into question the Kansas law which requires the report of child rape, and we’re hopeful that the 10th Circuit will reverse, as it previously did," Kline said.
Kline added that U.S. District Judge J. Thomas Marten’s ruling places the important law in jeopardy.
Kline said a 1982 law requiring doctors, teachers and others to alert state and local officials about potential child abuse covers the statutory rape young teens experienced who are getting abortions.
He said the law should apply to abortion practitioners as well, but the abortion centers challenged that and won.
"It’s not unexpected," Kline said of the ruling last month, according to an AP report. "It’s what we’ve been predicting."
Marten ruled that the law in question gives health care providers the latitude to determine if they believe a child has been subject to abuse. That leaves it up to Kansas abortion facility staff to determine whether they want to report statutory rape of teens under 16 or not.
Judge Marten ruled that it was more important for health care workers to be able to treat patients with confidence and not violate their privacy by reporting possible abuse.
Despite that view, he contended that his ruling was "not about promoting sexual promiscuity among underage persons."
Prior to Marten’s ruling, the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver lifted, in 2004, an injunction Marten put in place prohibiting state officials from enforcing the law against abortion facilities. The appeals court ruled that protecting children trumps any so-called right to privacy.
A woman can only consent to sexual relations after she’s reached the age of 16. Sex involving children under that age is considered statutory rape.
Kline is also looking into the potential that illegal late-term abortions have been performed at the late-term abortion facility operated by infamous abortion practitioner George Tiller in Wichita. Tiller escaped prosecution in the abortion death of a mentally disabled teenager last year.
Abortions in Kansas can’t be performed after 22 weeks of pregnancy and require a viability test on the unborn child. Such abortions can only be performed for medical health reasons.
In addition to Tiller’s facility, Kline is seeking abortion records from the Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri abortion business in Overland Park. The records involve 90 women and girls.