Planned Parenthood Case Remains Focus of Kansas City Investigation

Although the abortion debate has been temporarily subdued after the failed "Personhood Amendment" in Mississippi, the topic continues to buzz in Kansas as an investigation of suspiciously disposed documents is currently underway.

Suspicions of document destruction regarding a 2007 Planned Parenthood case is currently being investigated at the request of Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt.

"I believe sufficient questions exist to require a full and complete investigation of this matter to determine what actually happened," Schmidt said in an early November statement.

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Schmidt requested an investigation outside of the local law agency as "this office has a conflict of interest and so cannot conduct this investigation."

The investigation is a result of a 2007 Kansas City Planned Parenthood court case that took a decisive turn earlier this month when Judge Stephen Tantum threw out 23 felony charges and 26 misdemeanor charges because the state department had shredded the facility’s records.

The dismissed charges proved to be the most serious of the case, with the Kansas City Planned Parenthood having been charged with falsifying recorded abortions and failing to follow abortion law.

The judge was forced to throw out the charges, however, after Johnson County District Attorney Steve Howe argued that the attorney general's office disposed of the facility's abortion record copies 18 months after criminal charges were filed. Howe argued that the documents needed to support the major charges no longer existed.

Many questioned a possible cover-up attempt by the general attorney's office.

"It's beyond belief that evidence was purposely destroyed, but I believe that's what happened," Mary Kay Culp told The New York Times.

Although additional charges against Planned Parenthood still remain, the focus now turns to the disposed documents. Former Kansas attorney general Steve Six allegedly destroyed a set of documents in 2009.

"For seven years, Planned Parenthood has been consistent in our determination to protect the medical privacy of women who rely on us for safe, legal reproductive health care, and in our assertion none of the charges filed in 2007 have any factual or legal foundation," Planned Parenthood said in a statement in early November.

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