A judge last week threw out charges that a Kansas City area Planned Parenthood clinic falsified records and failed to follow abortion law after prosecutors admitted that state officials destroyed key evidence. Not only is this a tremendous victory for Planned Parenthood and its supporters, it is additional evidence that the legal attacks against the organization have been nothing but political posturing.
Authorities will now investigate whether the destruction of those documents broke any laws.
The documents at issue were reports on individual abortions performed in 2003 that had been filed by Planned Parenthood’s Overland Park clinic with the state health department as required by law, including copies held by the attorney general’s office.
Because those documents were destroyed, district judge Stephen Tatum dismissed 23 felony counts of falsifying such reports, as well as 26 misdemeanor charges that the clinic had failed to maintain its own copies as required by law. The dismissed charges claimed that Planned Parenthood had failed to maintain its copies of the reports, then produced falsified versions when compelled to do so in 2006 during an ongoing investigation of abortion providers by the attorney general’s office.
The clinic still faces charges it performed illegal abortions, charges the group insist are as baseless as the falsifying records claim. But if this last year has shown us anything, it’s that those who oppose a woman’s right to chose don’t care if their opposition is grounded in fact or law and they certainly have no problem abusing the judicial system in pursuit of their political agenda.
Photo from steakpinball via flickr.