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Federal Judge Rules Against Kansas Attorney General

A federal court ruled yesterday that Kansas Attorney General Phill Kline could not use a Kansas statute requiring doctors and teachers to report potential child abuse to require health care providers to report consensual sexual activity among teenagers under the age of 16. Kline had issued a broad interpretation of the law in 2003 that would have required health care providers, including abortion clinics, to report any sexual activity or intimate contact reported between teens under the age of 16. US District Judge J. Thomas Marten wrote in his opinion that such a requirement would deter teens from seeking health care services, according to the New York Times.

“We are extremely pleased that, for the first time, a federal court has protected young people from a state’s attempt to intrude in the private communications between teens and health-care providers. Any threat to that privacy will drive teens away from health-care service, endangering their well-being instead of protecting it,” said Bonnie Scott Jones, lead attorney in the case and staff attorney at the Center for Reproductive Rights.

Judge Marten said that Kline’s “overexpansive” interpretation of the 1982 Kansas law “not only fails to serve the public interest, it actually serves to undermine it,” reports the NY Times.

Sources:

New York Times 4/19/06; Wichita Eagle 4/19/06; Center for Reproductive Rights 4/18/06