Friday, February 25, 2005

Punishing the Victim

From today’s NY Times
TOPEKA, Kan., Feb. 24 - Attorney General Phill Kline, a Republican who has made fighting abortion a staple of his two years in the post, is demanding the complete medical files of scores of women and girls who had late-term abortions, saying on Thursday that he needs the information to prosecute criminal cases.

Mr. Kline emphasized statutory rape at a news conference here but also spoke obliquely of other crimes that court documents suggest could include doctors' providing illegal late-term abortions and health professionals' failing to heed a state law that requires the reporting of suspected child sexual abuse.

"When a 10-, 11- or 12-year-old child is pregnant, under Kansas law that child has been raped, and as the state's chief law enforcement official it is my obligation to investigate child rape in order to protect Kansas children," Mr. Kline said. "There are two things that child predators want, access to children and secrecy. As attorney general, I'm bound and determined not to give them either."

Mr. Kline's efforts to obtain records from abortion clinics follows his failed attempt last year to require the state's health workers to report any sexual activity of girls younger than 16, the age of legal consent in Kansas.

Although Mr. Kline emphasized statutory rape in his news conference, many here on both sides of the abortion debate said they suspected that his real target was doctors who provide late-term abortions.

It is unclear exactly how the records could lead prosecutors to rape suspects, although the clinics say the files often include information about how patients became pregnant, among other "intimate details of their lives" like sexual history, birth control practices, drug use, psychological profiles, information about fetal anomalies and communications with law enforcement.

"These records are of the utmost sensitivity," the brief says. "The logical and natural progression of this action could well be a knock on the door of a woman who exercised her constitutional right to privacy by special agents of the attorney general who seek to inquire into her personal medical, sexual or legal history."

Lest there be any doubt about the real reason behind AG Kline’s witchunt, from the same article

Kansas law restricts abortions after 22 weeks of pregnancy, where the fetus would be viable outside the womb, except when "continuation of the pregnancy will cause a substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function of the pregnant woman."

Despite that law passed in 1998, Kansas has become a national magnet for late-term abortions because of a doctor in Wichita who performs hundreds of them each year. The doctor, George Tiller, funneled at least $150,000 through political action committees to Mr. Kline's opponent in the attorney general's race in 2002, and his clinic, Women's Health Care Services, is one of the two whose records are being subpoenaed.

Politics masquerading as a campaign to protect the children? I’m shocked – shocked!

Any thinking person should be bothered by abortion. But any thinking person should also be bothered by the idea that a decision this personal should be anyone else’s business besides the woman and her doctor. And any thinking person should realize that no matter how they disguise it, this is still an attempt to legislate religious dogma.

My fantasy is that in a just world, some pro-lifer in need of emergency bypass surgery will find his way to the hospital blocked by Jehovah’s Witnesses.


Post a Comment

<< Home