Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Underhanded liars : Kline's clinic probe linked to abortion foe:
An anti-abortion crusader in Texas says his organization provided the evidence that led to Kansas Atty. Gen. Phill Kline's controversial investigation of two abortion clinics.

Life Dynamics president Mark Crutcher said he had callers pretending to be 13-year-old girls call abortion clinics across the country, including four clinic offices in Kansas. The group says its tapes from the telephone conversations prove the clinics are operating illegally.

"The tapes from our investigation clearly prove that these people (abortion providers) are running a pedophile protection racket," Crutcher said.

But abortion-rights groups say the apparent link between Life Dynamics and Kline, which Kline denies exists, is evidence that the attorney general is using the power of his office to advance an anti-abortion agenda and appease his conservative political base. …

Crutcher said Life Dynamics had provided attorneys general in several states with transcripts and tapes of telephone calls from the group's attempted sting operations in February and March of 2002, in which a caller poses as a 13-year-old girl who says she's pregnant by her 22-year-old boyfriend. Saying she's afraid her disapproving parents will find out, she asks about an abortion.

On the tapes, the caller does not identify herself and is not asked to identify herself.

Crutcher said Life Dynamics had tapes of more than 800 calls to dozens of abortion clinics throughout the United States, including several in Kansas.

On recordings Crutcher provided to the Journal-World, he says the conversations are of workers in clinics in Shawnee Mission, Wichita, Hays and Overland Park, heard telling the girl how to get an abortion without her parents finding out, how to keep her boyfriend out of trouble and how to obtain birth control pills.

In Kansas, if a 22-year-old adult has sex with a 13-year-old juvenile, it is considered statutory rape.

According to Crutcher, the tapes prove that abortion clinics have conspired to protect the identities of rapists, many of whom, he said, are sexual predators. And by supplying birth control pills to a 13-year-old girl who has said she is in a sexual relationship with a 22-year-old man, he said, the clinics are, in effect, protecting and perpetuating the relationship. …

[ProKanDo director Julie] Burkhart and [Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri CEO Peter] Brownlie said it's neither wrong nor illegal to answer an anonymous teenager's questions about the state's abortion laws. Both said clinic counselors would have asked the caller to make an appointment, during which questions about the relationship and the boyfriend's age would have been asked.

"We would never do that over the phone because we would have no way to verify who's on the other end of the line," Brownlie said. "And, frankly, these aren't the kind of things you talk about over the phone."

Brownlie and Bill Hoch, spokesman for Tiller's clinic, Women's Health Services, said if the girl had come to the clinic and if counselors had confirmed that she was 13 and her boyfriend was 22, a report would have been filed with the Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services' Child Abuse Hotline.

"Absolutely, without a doubt," Hoch said.

"The situation you're describing -- she's 13, he's 22 -- would fit within our understanding of abuse," Brownlie said. "It would be reported to the SRS hot line, that's our policy and our practice."
I think it's pretty obvious that there's a huge line between someone saying they're a 13 year-old with a 22 year-old boyfriend, and there actually being a victim of statutory rape on the phone. If these transcripts are the basis for Kline's attempt to riffle through people's medical records, he should drop it.

The fact that these calls are being made, apparently pretty frequently, is exactly why clinics wouldn't make the effort to call in every questionable call. To the extent that these groups have a legitimate point (young girls shouldn't be having sex with adults) they are hurting their mission by being the boy who cried wolf. The more false positives there are in the system, the less likely someone is to raise the alarm, If every girl who called and said she was 13 and pregnant by someone over 18 actually was all of that, people would raise the alarm every time. If there are all these fake calls going around, better to examine the girl first.