Nearly eight years after Phill Kline, the attorney general of Kansas, started his investigation of Planned Parenthood along with their affiliates, a judge has ordered nearly half of the original charges to be dropped-including all the felonies due to faulty record keeping on the part of the county’s district attorney’s office.
The investigation started in 2003 around allegations that reports of child abuse, including child rape, were going unreported at the abortion clinics. The charges were eventually filed in 2007, and they included failure to maintain proper records and failure to complete records after the investigation had begun. They were not the blockbuster charges the prosecutors had hoped for.
The legal marry-go-round continued for the better part of a decade and it was the first of its kind to try to prosecute an abortion clinic. The proceedings also tried to direct funding away from the services that the clinics provided. The remaining misdemeanor charges are still pending and include failing to fully determine viability before performing some abortions.
Peter B. Brownlie, president and chief executive of the local Planned Parenthood affiliate, praised the dismissal of the most serious charges and said the organization would prevail on the remaining ones.
“There’s no question that political opponents of Planned Parenthood and abortion would have been emboldened by a conviction, particularly on a felony charge,” said Brownlie.
The charges were dismissed due in part to abortion clinic records that were intended to be used as evidence were apparently destroyed preventing the state from presenting their case. This caused wide spread conspiracy theories to circle the case.
Mary Kay Culp, executive director of Kansans for Life, noted that former governor Kathleen Sebelius, was a strong supporter of abortion rights.
“It’s beyond belief that evidence was purposely destroyed, but I believe that’s what happened,” said Ms. Culp.