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Medical-Record War Heats Up

Two Kansas abortion clinics refuse to comply with court order.
2005This article is part of CT's digital archives. Subscribers have access to all current and past issues, dating back to 1956.

Two Kansas abortion clinics continue to oppose a court order to hand over medical records of about 90 women and girls who possibly had late-term abortions or were raped in 2003.

Kansas Attorney General Phill Kline said he is looking for evidence of child rape and abortions occurring after the 22nd week of pregnancy.

In spring 2003, Shawnee County Judge Richard D. Anderson sent a subpoena to every abortion clinic and hospital in the state. In a grand-jury investigation, Anderson ruled that there was probable cause that some abortion providers had violated state laws. In Kansas, sexual intercourse with someone younger than 15 is considered rape, while abortions performed after 22 weeks are legal only if the unborn child is not viable or if the pregnancy presents a significant health risk to the mother.

Most hospitals and abortion clinics complied with the request. Only Women's Health Care Services of Wichita, operated by well-known abortionist George Tiller, and a Planned Parenthood clinic in Overland Park refused to comply with the request for medical data.

Kline accused the clinics of trying to operate outside the law. "In virtually all crimes—whether it be homicide, rape, or battery—hospitals and clinics respond to requests. The only thing different about this case is that we have abortion clinics," Kline said.

Bill Hoch, a spokesman for the Wichita clinic, told CT that his client opposes Kline's request on privacy grounds. He noted that the brief that Women's Health Care Services filed on March 16 with the state Supreme Court "underscores our client's unyielding commitment to ensuring that patients need never fear public exposure of the confidential information they share with their doctor."

Kline told CT a judicial ...

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