Atty. Gen. Phill Kline’s desire to get the medical records of 90 patients who received abortions is part of a much broader investigation than he has previously stated, it was revealed Thursday.
During oral arguments before the Kansas Supreme Court, Kline’s chief deputy, Eric Rucker, said that Kline was investigating a wide range of allegations of child rape, illegal late-term abortions and failure by clinics to report instances of child abuse.
The investigation also has spilled over into probing births by underage girls, Rucker said.
“Documented evidence of child rape, incest or other sexual felonies existed within a number of records,” Rucker said, emphasizing that the clinics were targets of the investigation.
But Rucker, under questioning from Justice Carol Beier, conceded that Kline, an ardent opponent of abortion, had requested subpoenas of records only from clinics that offered abortions and not records of anyone else who is required to report child abuse, such as teachers and health care professionals.
Representatives of the clinics operated by Wichita’s Dr. George Tiller, a longtime foe of Kline’s, and Planned Parenthood in Overland Park denied any wrongdoing and accused Kline of going on a “fishing expedition” and playing to his political base by trying to intimidate women seeking abortions.
There can be no doubt that that’s what it is. If the concern was child rape, incest or other illegal acts against children, the clinics should be only one part of investigation, which should include every hospital and pediatrician in the state as well as school teachers, nurses and counselors. If the aim is to go after the clinics, the identities of patients should be kept private to the extent possible. But just saying “Hey, we want the records, we’ll get back to you if we find anything amiss,” doesn’t cut it.