Kansas Attorney General Phill Kline (R) announced on Tuesday that he had succeeded in his two-year quest to obtain abortion records from two clinics, though the records have been stripped of names and other identifying information. Kline had initially sought these records in 2004, at which time he said he needed the records to prosecute possible violations of the state’s law prohibiting sex with girls 16 and younger. However, Kline had subpoenaed records of women over the age of 16 and only asked for the late-term abortion records from Women’s Health Care Services in Wichita, even though the clinic also performs early abortions, according to Ms. magazine. Kline later said that he was also looking into whether clinics had violated late-term abortion statutes.
Lee Thompson, the attorney for Women’s Health Care Services, questions the timing of the announcement that Kline had obtained the abortion records, as Kline is in a reelection race right now for Attorney General. “This has always been part of [Kline’s] political agenda, rather than good-faith criminal prosecution,” Thompson said, according to the Kansas City Star. “Why did he wait a week before the election?” Kline is facing Democratic challenger Paul Morrison, who has repeatedly criticized Kline over his attempts to access the abortion records. Morrison’s campaign manager, Mark Simpson, told the Kansas City Star, “Everything Phill Kline has been doing has looked pretty desperate … We feel this is an invasion of privacy and a desperate, dangerous move.”