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Far-Right Kansas Attorney General Phill Kline Dodges and Spins

Reported by Janie - February 8, 2006

Far-right Attorney General of Kansas, Phill Kline, appeared on Dayside yesterday to discuss the controversy and subsequent lawsuit from the Center for Reproductive Rights he is facing, over his request for abortion clinic documents and his view that clinics and doctors must report all cases of "suspected sexual intercourse" involving children under the age of 16. He presented only his side of the story, spinning the truth to appear as though he is only trying to "protect the children."

Kline gave his interpretation of what the lawsuit involves by saying, "...Right now in Wichita, in Federal Court, the Center for Reproductive Rights is suing myself and Kansas prosecutors, arguing that it is unconstitutional to require abortion providers and others to report child rape. So they are actually saying that our Constitution does not allow the state legislature and the government to pass a law saying that they must report child rape, and I think that's a dangerous and far-fetched argument."

That is absolutely NOT what the Center for Reproductive Rights is saying in the least bit. Under current law abortion clinics and health professionals are required, and do, report cases of rape, abuse and incest to the proper authorities. What Kline is intentionally neglecting to tell the audience, is that his view of "child-rape" is any sort of sexual activity that is participated in by anyone under the age of 16, even if their partner is of the same age. According to the actual lawsuit, Kline is claiming that these sort of activities are criminal and need to be reported to law enforcement authorities.

According to the Center for Reproductive Rights' website, "In 2003, Kansas Attorney General Phill Kline issued a new interpretation of the state’s child-abuse reporting law, requiring that doctors, school counselors and psychotherapists, among others, report sexual activity involving a teen younger than 16 as evidence of child abuse, even if the activity is with another adolescent. The law is so broad it would even require a psychologist to report a teen who disclosed that she was "making out" with her boyfriend."

Kline attempted to claim otherwise during his appearance with the help of co-host Mike Jerrick.

MJ: "I think there’s been a lot of confusion about this thing too. For example, I’ve even heard that if a teacher hears that a 15 year old girl in his or her school is having sex, that that teacher needs to report the child or maybe even the parent to state authorities. Is that how far it’s supposed to go?"

PK: "No, they’ve even taken it further to say if two children are necking in the back of a car, then we’re going to have to report it. No, that’s not true, we are interested in investigating instances of child rape and I believe the law is clear, if the child’s been raped, and you know about, you need to call law enforcement or social rehabilitation services so that the appropriate investigation can take place..."

However, Kline's testimony just last week paints a very different picture of his stance, compared to the one he gave on Dayside. During his examination by Center for Reproductive Rights' lawyer, Bonnie Scott Jones, the following exchange took place (from the Wichita Eagle):

Jones asked: "What sex act would be legal for a 15-year-old?"
Kline replied: "I've seen references about kissing and telling, but that's not a part of Kansas law."
Jones asked Kline what contact would be acceptable.
Jones: "Would fondling of the genitalia be included?"
Kline: "Again, it's difficult to say."
Jones: "What do you mean by petting?"
Kline: "Something that doesn't shock the moral conscience."
Jones: "Would you include French-kissing?"
Kline: "I don't believe so."
Jones: "What if the French-kissing occurred while lying on top of each other?"
Kline paused.
"I don't believe so."

During cross examination by attorneys from his own office he claimed that abortion providers must report ALL underage pregnancies and that the pregnancy of a female under the age of 16 is evidence of a crime in itself.

He then continued to muddy the waters by claiming that a 15 year old girl performing oral sex on a 15 year old boy is probably fine, but a 15 year old boy performing oral sex on a 15 year old girl would be considered a crime.

The testimony he gave in open court is absolutely the opposite of what he stated on Dayside, where he blatantly misled the audience about his opinion. Jerrick fed him very leading questions to make him appear more moderate than he actually was, and that he is merely trying to "protect the children."

Co-host Juliet Huddy made it clear that the Center for Reproductive Rights chose not appear on the show, therefore the entire segment was one-sided and filled with misinformation, giving the viewer a very uninformed version of the actual events.

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