- The Washington Times - Saturday, October 22, 2005

Kansas Attorney General Phill Kline said his office has taken the unusual move of reviewing state birth records for signs of suspected child abuse. So far, his office has found 62 such cases.

The cases, announced Tuesday, have been turned over to local prosecutors, who will investigate to determine whether the births — which were all to girls ages 10 to 15 — were associated with rape, incest or abuse.

On average, the fathers were seven years older than the girls.

“Many children are frightened and terrified to report their own abuse, and they suffer in silence,” said Mr. Kline, who serves as co-chairman of the National Association of Attorneys General Sex Predator Task Force. “[W]e are ensuring their cry for help is heard and acted on.”

Pro-life advocates praised Mr. Kline’s tactic.

Adult sexual abuse of young girls “is a massive problem and very few people in this country have had the guts to stand up and do what Phill Kline is doing,” said Mark Krutcher, president of Life Dynamics Inc. in Denton, Texas.

However, pro-choice advocates said Mr. Kline’s birth-record search is an attempt to justify his efforts in a separate legal case, in which he is seeking medical records of 90 women who had late-term abortions.

Mr. Kline is “really only interested in one thing — intimidating abortion providers and the women they service,” said Jana Mackey, a spokeswoman for the National Organization for Women.

“We recognize and fully support the responsibility the attorney general has to investigate crimes against children,” said Peter Brownlie, chief executive of Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri. But going after public birth records is not the same as “trying to invade the medical privacy of women who are not a subject of investigation.”

This year, Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri in Overland Park and Women’s Health Care Services in Wichita said they had been ordered to turn over medical records to investigators.

Mr. Kline says the subpoenaed records probably contain evidence of child rape or illegal abortions.

The matter is now before the Kansas Supreme Court.

In Kansas, the age of consent for sexual intercourse is 16. All of the 62 mothers identified in the birth-records search were age 15 or younger. Thirty were ages 10 to 13.

In 16 cases where the mother was 13 or younger, the father was “unknown.” This may mean the father is someone the girl is afraid to identify, Mr. Kline said.

Family Research Council analysts Bill Saunders and Patrick Trueman said searching birth records was an unusual but “reasonable” tactic to fight child sex abuse.

“The point is that, if it’s an underage girl [who has given birth], it’s by definition sexual abuse,” Mr. Saunders said.

“We have the blinders up on child sex abuse, and that’s why child sex abuse is growing so astronomically,” Mr. Trueman said, adding that Mr. Kline is “being very proactive.”

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