Well, we may have Rick Santorum, but at least he’s out of our state much of the time. Poor Kansas has their Attorney General, Phill Kline, around full time.
You may remember Mr. Kline from his demand last year that abortion clinics turn over the complete medical records of nearly 90 women and girls, saying he needed the material for an investigation into underage sex and illegal late-term abortions. (Of course he didn’t ask for information from hospitals about live births from underage women.) Thankfully, one of his other schemes in his anti-abortion crusade was stopped by a federal judge last week.
The case stemmed from Kline’s interpretation of a state anti-child abuse law that would make it mandatory for doctors, school counselors and therapists, among others, to report all sexual activity between and by people under 16 — and he did mean all, from kissing to sexual intercourse. (Slate has a great article on the issue called Smells Like Teen Snogging.)
Last week the federal judge, Thomas Marten, held that Mr. Kline’s opinion violated the actual language of the underlying state statute, which gives those treating adolescents discretion to decide whether illegal sexual activity amounts to actual child abuse. Kansas law prohibits intercourse, oral sex and lewd touching by anyone under 16. (I definitely need to check out the filings in this case, because according to an editorial, “Kline … asserted that any sexual activity, including petting, was harmful to teens.” Wow. Makes me glad I grew up in the oh-so-progressive state of Indiana.)
By the way, for all you Dover junkies, Mr. Kline also happens to be a supporter of teaching intelligent design (surprise!) and last year told the Kansas Board of Education that it was constitutional to put a sticker on textbooks saying evolution is a theory, not a fact. According to the Washington Post, he said “‘Yeah, it’s constitutional. It is theory. I know the difference between scientific law, scientific theory, scientific hypothesis,’ Kline said.” He certainly seems to have strange ideas about laws, whether they be scientific or otherwise.
Sara in Philly