August 20, 2012 — The criminal prosecution of Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri on Friday came to an end when the state dropped 32 remaining charges of illegally providing abortion care later in pregnancy and not first determining fetal viability, the Kansas City Star reports. The case marked the first criminal prosecution of Planned Parenthood in the U.S.
The charges were part of 107 counts filed in 2007 by former Johnson County District Attorney Phill Kline (Cooper, Kansas City Star, 8/17).
Under the charges, a Kansas City, Kan., clinic was accused of violating a state law that bans abortion at or after 22 weeks if a doctor determines that the fetus could survive outside of the womb.
Johnson County District Attorney Steve Howe and Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt (R) in a statement said "extensive research" indicated that the clinic had met all legal requirements to test for viability (Hanna, AP/Houston Chronicle, 8/17).
Seventy-five other charges were previously dismissed for various reasons, such as that relevant state health department records had been destroyed and some charges were filed outside the statute of limitations.
Planned Parenthood counsel Pedro Irigonegaray said in a release, "This case has been an abuse of political power, pure and simple" (Murphy, Reuters, 8/17).
Operation Rescue, which opposes abortion rights, has called for Howe to resign after charges were dropped (AP/Houston Chronicle, 8/17).