Anti-Abortion District Attorney Loses Kansas Republican Primary

Johnson County, Kansas District Attorney Phill Kline lost his seat in the Republican primary to Steve Howe, another anti-abortion candidate. Kline lost by a margin of 60% to 40%. His anti-abortion politics played a significant role in the outcome of the primary, the Kansas City Star reports.

Kline filed a 107-count criminal complaint against Planned Parenthood’s Overland clinic last October, and sought personal health records as part of his investigation. According to Planned Parenthood attorney Pedro Irigonegaray, the records Kline sought had been previously reviewed by former Kansas Attorney General Paul Morrison, who found no evidence of criminal wrongdoing (Feminist Newswire, 4/1/08). Phill Kline is the first lawmaker to file a case against Planned Parenthood since Roe v. Wade.

Republican primary opponent and former assistant District Attorney Steve Howe campaigned against Kline by highlighting Kline’s strong anti-abortion politics in both his professional and personal life. Howe urged for a refocusing of DA efforts on prosecuting criminals, not politics: “We need to put politics behind us,” he said, “and get back to putting away the bad guys…We want to put out no-vacancy signs for the criminals coming into our county,” according to the Kansas City Star.

Democratic challenger Rick Guinn will run against Steve Howe in the November 4 general election. Guinn stated, “They want an office led by a veteran prosecutor, not a politician with a personal agenda, and my 27 years of successfully prosecuting dangerous criminals makes me the most qualified candidate for the job,” the Kansas City Star reports.


Kansas City Star, 3/31/08, 8/6/08; Daily Women's Health Policy Report, 8/6/08; Feminist Newswire, 4/1/08

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