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Kansas Drops Charges Against Planned Parenthood (UPDATE)

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Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt announced he would drop all charges against Planned Parenthood on Friday.
Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt announced he would drop all charges against Planned Parenthood on Friday.

A Johnson County, Kan., district attorney announced on Friday that the state has dropped all 107 charges in the high-profile case his predecessor filed against Planned Parenthood in 2007.

The complaints, brought by then-Attorney General Phill Kline, accused Comprehensive Health of Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri (CHPP) of performing unlawful late term abortions without determining whether the fetus was viable and falsifying copies of abortion reports.

(See Kline's statement in the UPDATE, below.)

Most of the charges had already been dismissed, but District Attorney Steve Howe and Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt said they made the decision to drop the remaining 32 misdemeanor counts on Friday because "none of the doctors who reviewed the evidence have disagreed with CHPP's finding of gestational age."

"The United States Supreme Court has said that reasonable medical debate should not subject individuals to criminal prosecution," Howe said in a press release.

Planned Parenthood counsel Pedro Irigonegaray called the case an "abuse of political power" in his statement on Friday. CHPP lambasted Kline for having wasted hundreds of thousands of dollars of Kansas taxpayers' money in pursuit of a political agenda.

Kline did not return The Huffington Post's call for comment.

"The message is clear," said Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood. "You cannot use public office to warp the law to advance an ideological agenda aimed at intimidating women and the health care providers they rely on."

UPDATE: 8:58 p.m. -- Statement from former Kansas Attorney General Phill Kline, who brought
the original charges against Planned Parenthood:

"The law allows a prosecutor the discretion to abandon prosecutions against powerful defendants –- even when judges have found probable cause for the case to move to trial. This fact, however, does not make this decision correct but only demonstrates the District Attorney acted out of political fear rather than a sound understanding of the law, the facts or the case.

Despite this protracted whitewash, the fact remains that Planned Parenthood is now on the defensive around the nation due to their failure to report child sexual molestation, alleged financial fraud and failure to comply with reasonable abortion restrictions –- and these facts were first investigated and revealed in Kansas."

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Kansas district attorney drops remaining 32 criminal charges against Planned ...