The Lincoln Plawg - the blog with footnotes

Politics and law from a British perspective (hence Politics LAW BloG): ''People who like this sort of thing...'' as the Great Man said

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Friday, February 25, 2005

Another anti-abortion angle to watch

The watchword is collateral. Anti-abortionists' strategy for some time has been to leave a frontal assault on Roe v Wade on the back-burner - since they don't have the numbers among the Supremes (yet) - and seek to undermine and hem in the legal basis and exercisability of abortion rights.

Hence partial abortion laws, Laci and Conner's Act, etc, etc.

Another tool in the box involves fanatics in law enforcement demanding the medical records of those who seek abortions, or advice about abortions. An excellent deterrent to a woman in need of such treatment or advice, the thought that, a year from now, her most intimate details might be causing giggles around DA's offices and precinct-houses.

Kansas Attorney General Phill Kline is demanding that two abortion clinics turn over the names, sexual histories and medical records of 90 women who received late-term abortions.

The Justice Department was balked by the Federal judiciary from doing much the same thing last year (the Seventh Circuit case (PDF) of Northwestern Memorial Hospital v Ashcroft) - though some abortion providers chose to hand over the documents demanded.

(If you were a potential client, you'd really want a list of those providers, I'm thinking!)

Who is Phill Kline? The most cursory search - all I'm prepared to give him for the moment - produces a fistful of juicy leads. In no particular order,
  1. Kline has breached the Kansas Open Meetings Act (KOMA).

  2. The meetings in question concerned putting stickers on science textbooks saying that evolution is just a theory - Kline is all in favour.

  3. Kline had a scheme for mandatory reporting by doctors of evidence of under-age sex which apparently was injuncted by the Federal courts (outcome?).

  4. In his 2002 campaign for Kansas A-G, he ran an ad showing Bush endorsing him - without pointing out that the ad was made in 2000, and Bush was endorsing him in a race for a US House seat (which Kline lost, of course). The RNC told him to stop the ads!

  5. Kline removed 1,600 CDs from Kansas libraries on the ground that they promoted violence or illegal activity.

  6. The suggestion - for what it's worth - is that Kline is a potential candidate for governor in 2006.

  7. As part of a price-fixing settlement with Salton, Inc, the makers of George Foreman grills, he secured payments of $15,000 or so to each of four anti-abortion groups which 'advise' pregnant women. The motive, it seems, was to tweak the tail of Governor Kathleen Sebelius, who had
    vetoed a provision in the budget that would have provided $300,000 for grants to such nonprofit clinics.
    One of the groups gushes its thanks.

  8. A former A-G Office employee, Carlus Haynes, got an injunction against Kline in 2003 for violation of privacy.

That's enough Kline. Ed

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