April 13, 2012 — Planned Parenthood attorneys have asked Kansas District Judge Stephen Tatum to dismiss the remaining 58 misdemeanor charges against a clinic accused of performing illegal abortions, the AP/Topeka Capital-Journal reports.
The suburban Kansas City, Kan., clinic was accused of violating a 2003 state law that bans abortions at or after 22 weeks of pregnancy if a doctor determines that the fetus could survive outside of the womb (Hanna, AP/Topeka Capital-Journal, 4/10).
In November, Tatum dismissed 49 of the original 107 charges of allegedly falsifying documents and performing illegal abortions, including 23 felony counts of falsifying reports and 26 misdemeanor charges that the clinic did not maintain its own copies, as required under state law. Johnson County District Attorney Steve Howe said he had no choice but to request dismissal of the charges related to falsifying documents because the state health department shredded documents pertaining to the case in 2005 (Women's Health Policy Report, 11/10/2011).
In court papers, defense attorneys argued that the testimony of the two physicians the county planned to call as expert witnesses is irrelevant. They added that the two physicians are not familiar with abortion care and that some of the charges are based solely on differing medical opinions.
The attorneys said that the opinions of their witness -- Maureen Paul, editor of a medical text of abortion practice -- support their argument that the clinic took the appropriate steps to calculate gestational age to determine viability (Cooper, Kansas City Star, 4/10).
Tatum has not decided if the case will go to trial but has set a scheduling hearing for July 11 (AP/Topeka Capital-Journal, 4/10).
Debra Ness, publisher & president, National Partnership
Andrea Friedman, associate editor & director of reproductive health programs, National Partnership
Marya Torrez, associate editor & senior reproductive health policy counsel, National Partnership
Melissa Safford, associate editor & policy advocate for reproductive health, National Partnership
Perry Sacks, assistant editor & health program associate, National Partnership
Cindy Romero, assistant editor & communications assistant, National Partnership
Justyn Ware, editor
Amanda Wolfe, editor-in-chief
Heather Drost, Hanna Jaquith, Marcelle Maginnis, Ashley Marchand and Michelle Stuckey, staff writers
Tucker Ball, director of new media, National Partnership