On Friday a Johnson County, Kansas district attorney announced the state had dropped all 107 charges against Planned Parenthood, bringing an end to one of the most transparently political prosecutions of the health care provider in the state.
The criminal complaint had been brought by then-Attorney General Phil Kline. Kline’s complaint accused the provider of performing unlawful late term abortions without determining whether or not the fetus was viable. Kline also accused Planned Parenthood of falsifying abortion reports and patient privacy violations.
A majority of the charges had already been dismissed due to a lack of evidence. It was later discovered the state destroyed some of the evidence it collected that exonerated the provider in addition to failing to turn over evidence as well. District Attorney Steve Howe and Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt said they made the decision to drop the remaining 32 misdemeanor counts on Friday because “none of the doctors who reviewed the evidence have disagreed with CHPP’s finding of gestational age.”
“The United States Supreme Court has said that reasonable medical debate should not subject individuals to criminal prosecution,” Howe said in a press release.
Kline, who faces disbarment due to his ethical lapses connected with the investigation and prosecution had this to say in a statement. “The law allows a prosecutor the discretion to abandon prosecutions against powerful defendants –- even when judges have found probable cause for the case to move to trial. This fact, however, does not make this decision correct but only demonstrates the District Attorney acted out of political fear rather than a sound understanding of the law, the facts or the case.”
“Despite this protracted whitewash, the fact remains that Planned Parenthood is now on the defensive around the nation due to their failure to report child sexual molestation, alleged financial fraud and failure to comply with reasonable abortion restrictions –- and these facts were first investigated and revealed in Kansas” Kline said.
It would be nice if Schmidt’s decision to end the prosecution of Planned Parenthood reflected a more reasonable Kansas anti-choice position, but it doesn’t. Once Kline was disciplined Schmidt really had no other choice. The entire case was a sham. Hopefully the radical right learned that even in Kansas there are some limits to how much persecuting health care providers will be tolerated.
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