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Kansas Attorney-General to Appeal Ruling on Teens’ Sexual Behavior

Kansas Attorney General Phill Kline on Tuesday appealed a US District Court decision against requiring health care providers to report on the consensual sexual behavior of minors. Kline had suggested that under state law, anyone under 16 (the age of consent) who sought contraception, STI-testing, or any other form of reproductive health service was a victim of abuse and should be reported to the state. His interpretation of the law sparked an outcry among health care professionals, who feared that such strict requirements would discourage young adults from seeking necessary health care. The Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services also decried the interpretation, saying that the dramatic increase in reports would overwhelm their office with cases that they would not normally investigate, and would not have the resources to look into.

Last month, Judge J. Thomas Marten of Federal District Court in Wichita blocked Kline’s interpretation of the law, ruling that the law in question allowed health professionals to exercise their discretion in reporting cases of abuse. The appeal will go to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in Denver.

Sources:

Kansas City Star 5/17/06; New York Times 5/17/06; Wichita Eagle 5/17/06

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