by Steven Ertelt
September 19, 2007
Denver, CO (LifeNews.com) — A federal appeals court has dismissed a case brought by former Kansas Attorney General Phill Kline, who appealed a federal judge’s ruling saying abortion facilities are not required to follow a state law that mandates the reporting of sexual abuse of minors to state officials. The court said a new law made the case moot.
Kline brought the case because he said two Kansas abortion businesses were trying to avoid that responsibility and refused to provide records of abortions performed on children who were apparently victims of statutory rape.
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.
However, the judge, and now the federal court, said the requirement is different following the passage of a new one that became effective in January.
Though Kline brought the suit, his replacement, Attorney General Paul Morrison, joined with abortion advocates in asking for the case to be dismissed.
Ashley Anstaett, the spokeswoman for Morrison’s office, told the Associated Press that "Due to the Legislature’s changes to the statute in question, the case was moot."
Abortion advocates applauded the decision as well.
“This case is important because this effort by (then) Attorney General Kline posed a great threat to the health and well-being of teenagers in the state of Kansas," Bonnie Scott Jones, a lawyer for the New York-based Center for Reproductive Rights, said.
The Center for Reproductive Rights, a pro-abortion law firm, challenged Kline’s view of the 1982 law and U.S. District Judge J. Thomas 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.