Johnson County (KS) district attorney and former Kansas attorney general Phill Kline today pens an op-ed in the Wichita Eagle on his work to obtain medical records so that he can enforce laws protecting minors:
Only Way To Enforce Law Is To See Medical Records
By Phill Kline
Abuse almost always occurs behind a veil of secrecy. Such was the case with the Kaufman house in Newton, until the Attorney General’s Office convened a task force that led to the subpoena of medical records that revealed sexual exploitation of mentally challenged patients.
Medical records exposed the truth, and Arlan Kaufman is now in prison.
A similar story happened in Wichita as a man repeatedly raped his stepdaughters through several pregnancies and abortions. On one occasion, however, he took one pregnant victim to an adoption agency, which didn’t believe that a boyfriend got his stepdaughter pregnant. The agency called police, medical records were obtained, and the stepfather is now in prison.
Kansas cannot protect victims of abuse unless names are provided to investigators. State law makes reports on child sexual abuse mandatory, and when I was attorney general, I sought the names of children who received abortions — specifically so we could protect them. There are about 74 children each year, all 14 and under, who have abortions in Kansas, and not all of them got pregnant by an age-mate.
The bogus demand for “privacy above all else” undermines the safety net established to protect these victims. But child sexual predators count on abortion clinics to protect the “privacy” of the child victim under the banner of abortion rights.
As attorney general, I never sought the names of adult patients, and despite years of sensational media attention, patient identities have remained private. Meanwhile, four independent judges have found probable cause to believe that two Kansas abortion clinics committed 156 criminal acts based on just 90 redacted records.
Kansas law only restricts abortion late in pregnancy when the fetus is viable and can live away from the mother. Still, late-term abortion is allowed if a medical emergency exists for the mother.
But this reasonable law cannot be enforced unless the reason for the abortion can be reviewed by investigators. The name of the mother is never revealed, and she cannot be prosecuted under the law.
For this reason, a Wichita grand jury’s subpoena of the records in the possession of Attorney General Stephen Six should be honored. Those records contain no identities, and a judge already certified that the redaction of information was consistent with the court order.
When the Kansas Supreme Court first made this matter public, I correctly predicted that the abortion clinics would use the privacy argument to frighten women into believing they are in jeopardy. This fear tactic is now on full display and supported by the intellectual dishonesty of many newspaper editorial pages across the state.
Five years after the investigation started, with scores of criminal charges filed, not one patient has been identified; not one patient faces criminal scrutiny. It is past time for The Eagle editorial board and the state Supreme Court to get their collective heads out of the sand and recognize that laws protecting children from sexual predators must be enforced if they’re to be worth the paper they’re printed on.