THE DAILY REPORT
ELECTION 2008 | Kline Loses Johnson County, Kan., DA Primary; Abortion Clinic Prosecutions Prominent in Race
[Aug 6, 2008]
Johnson County, Kan., District Attorney Phill Kline on Tuesday lost the Republican primary for the seat to former assistant district attorney Steve Howe, the Kansas City Star
reports. According to the Star
, Kline's prosecutions of abortion clinics played a "key role" in the race, which he lost by a 60% to 40% margin. Kline is the first prosecutor since Roe v. Wade
to file criminal charges against a Planned Parenthood clinic (Carroll, Kansas City Star
In October 2007, Kline filed more than 100 felony and misdemeanor counts against Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri
's Overland Park, Kan., clinic Comprehensive Health
for allegedly providing illegal abortions, among other crimes (Daily Women's Health Policy Report
, 10/19/07). The clinic has denied the allegations and said Kline's antiabortion political positions are fueling his prosecution, the AP/Topeka Capitol-Journal
Kline previously served as a state legislator, and he began prosecuting abortion clinics in the state after being elected as Kansas attorney general. He was appointed district attorney of Johnson County after losing his re-election bid for attorney general in 2006. He addressed the National Right to Life Committee
's annual convention in 2007.
According to the AP/Capitol-Journal
, Howe made a "less than subtle reference" to Kline's reputation as an antiabortion prosecutor by emphasizing to voters that the district attorney's office needed a prosecutor, not a politician. "I think that the thing people were troubled with was: Were decisions being made because of special interests or were decisions made based on the law and the evidence," Howe said.
Kline said his prosecution of Planned Parenthood was only one of thousands of cases he has handled in his position (Hanna, AP/Topeka Capitol-Journal
, 8/6). People "in this community see me in a single dimension, so there was a hurdle to overcome, and we just couldn't get over it," Kline said, adding, "There are some causes that are worth losing for."
Howe, who also opposes abortion, will face former assistant district attorney Rick Guinn (D) in the Nov. 4 general election (Kansas City Star
, 8/6). Howe said that if elected, he would review the Planned Parenthood case and "do the right thing," adding, "I'll treat that case like all other cases" (AP/Topeka Capitol-Journal
The information contained in this publication reflects media coverage of women’s health issues and does not necessarily reflect the views of the National Partnership for Women & Families.