Planned Parenthood Clinic Is Cleared in Kansas Probe

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Ending a three-year investigation launched by his socially conservative predecessor, Kansas Attorney General Paul Morrison (D) notified a Planned Parenthood clinic this week that no criminal charges will be filed. He said "an objective, unbiased and thorough examination" showed no wrongdoing.

Phill Kline, a strongly antiabortion Republican defeated by Morrison in November, started the criminal inquiry against two Kansas abortion clinics on grounds that doctors may have conducted illegal late-term abortions and failed to report cases involving underage girls who, by statute, could have been considered victims of rape.

Backed by a judicial subpoena, Kline obtained the medical records of dozens of women over the privacy objections of the clinics, whose directors said it was nothing more than a fishing expedition. Morrison, who informed Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri on Tuesday, said he will ask a judge to return the medical records.

Yesterday, his office reported that 15 charges filed by Kline against the Wichita-based Women's Health Care Services would be dropped. A decision on 15 other charges will be announced by the end of the week.

Morrison switched parties last year, saying he believed Kline had politicized the attorney general's office. As it happened, Kline was appointed by local Republicans to Morrison's former job as Johnson County district attorney. He made clear that he may continue to investigate the Planned Parenthood clinic in Overland Park in his new role.

-- Peter Slevin

© 2007 The Washington Post Company