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Kansas Fighting Disclosure of Who Helped Write Abortion Restrictions

Kansas Fighting Disclosure of Who Helped Write Abortion Restrictions


As part of a crusade to made abortion legal-in-name-only, the Kansas legislature issued a host of new, mandatory restrictive guidelines that all clinics providing abortion services must follow and then gave clinics just a few weeks to comply or lose their licensing.  Abortion rights advocates challenged the new restrictions right away and the state of Kansas is fighting back-hard.

Kansas is so intent in outlawing abortion entirely that it is willing to battle over commonplace legislative history requests.  Lawyers for the Kansas Department of Health and Environment and the attorney general want to prevent two abortion clinics from learning how those rules were crafted and have asked a judge to limit the scope of what information is shared with the clinic’s lawyers.

The discovery dispute is framed at challenging “overly broad” requests for information that the state argues will not lead to relevant evidence.  The state has also denied open records requests from both The Kansas City Star and The Associated Press, which asked for similar documents related to the drafting of these rules.

Abortion providers want the opportunity to question Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt and Secretary of Health and Environment Robert Moser about the new rules, including what steps were taken in developing them and who was involved in researching and writing them.  They are also asking for records related to meetings and communications between the governor’s office and anti-choice groups Kansans for Life and Operation Rescue.

The state is arguing that legislative immunity protects them from disclosing this information in the context of litigation but have yet to provide a justification for denying the open records request.

Discovery objections are commonplace and typically used in conjunction with a disclosure of information — a party will object to a request to preserve the objection for trial while simultaneously providing the information requested.  That is because the standard for what is discoverable in the context of litigation is extremely broad.  Here the state’s position is unusually aggressive, suggesting the requests are likely to lead to some damaging information for the state.

The anti-abortion tactics already drew scrutiny when it was disclosed that the state had hired lawyers tied to the infamous Koch Brothers to defend its plan to strip Planned Parenthood of funding, which of course just begs the question of what, or who, is the state trying to hide?

Related Stories:

Koch Bros. Lawyers Defend Move To Defund Planned Parenthood

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Photo from steakpinball via flickr.

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6:59PM PDT on Nov 5, 2011

It is amazing that there are people who want to ban birth control. I commented on an article about a woman with 15 kids on welfare. Most were angry about this woman living on welfare and having so many kids. I pointed out that if they outlaw birth control there will be many more people having huge families, but no one paid attention to my comment. Just went on putting the woman down, without reguard to why.

7:32PM PDT on Oct 20, 2011

Pam, sorry I have big fingers, I punched obviously the wrong key. I was starting to sign off, Joe your friend. Joe F is incomplete.

7:28PM PDT on Oct 20, 2011

Response to Pam. Thank you for agreeing with my views concerning Lawyers credo. And the Kansas legistators poor vision or lack thereof. And yes I would like to be your friend. Remember sharp minds think alike.In our society we agree to disagree, personally enjoy conversing via Care 2, for the most part I find discussions to be engaging with a wide range of opinions. Of course now and then depending on ones political views some get rubbed the wrong way. This is why, I always remind people not to take it personal. Everybody has an opinoin. My brother-in-law favority expression was, just remember that only mine matters. Your F

6:40PM PDT on Sep 8, 2011

maybe they are afraid if the public find out who they are, they will get voted out next election. The only way they can keep their positions, is by being sneaks. the old adage 'man speak with forked tongue' comes to mind about now. say one thing to one person and something totally different to another. Hmmmm. I wonder who would be out of a job.

12:58AM PDT on Sep 6, 2011

Public servants should not be allowed to hide their actions. Own up you sneaks.

12:34AM PDT on Sep 6, 2011

Oh no!!!! If a legislator feels strongly enough to want to stick his nose into a woman's private business, then we have a right to know his name!

5:23AM PDT on Sep 5, 2011

This is a no brainer. Lawyers write all the laws pro or con. That's how they make a living by monopolizing the law. Most legislators are lawyers, perhaps this is what's wrong with our country. Think for a second before you rebuttle my views. It's a known fact that lawyers are like hired guns to defend who hires them often knowingly their client is guilty of the charges, but,he is sworn to defend regardless that is their guidance. Goes in hand with the definition of JURY. The JURY decides who had the best lawyer, in essence the winner.Try to dispute this facts!

6:51PM PDT on Sep 4, 2011

There should be transparency. Why should Kansas legislators object to this? What ARE they trying to hide? What in the world is happening to our democracy???? It's feeling more and more like we are living in Nazi Germany.....

As an aside, did you know that many of the people in the last administration were closet nazis? Of course, we all knew Bush's grandfather, Prescott Bush, financially supported Hitler - until our President demanded he stop....

Do we have Nazis in the Kansas legislature?

5:07AM PDT on Sep 4, 2011

What are you afraid of KANSAS? Was it Phelps? I hope all women in Kansas vote the current idiots out!

10:24AM PDT on Sep 2, 2011

Wikileaks will fix this. Mr. potato head has escaped and is living in Kansas.
More of Bush's secret government. Has anonymous gone public in Kansas?
How can these people vote intelligently when they don't know who did what?
Nov. 2012 is gearing up to be quite a show. Afterwords, the dung slinging will be a stinking mess.
It's time to take up Thomas Jefferson's admonition. Eisenhower's warning. The biblical promise.

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