Friday, February 25, 2005

Subpoena This

One thing that seems to be missing in the reporting about the Kansas AG's attempt to get the medical records of women and girls who have had abortions is why is he only focused on the sexual activities of teen girls? The laws in Kansas are gender neutral on this subject.

He claims he needs the evidence to prosecute potential child rape and illegal late term abortion cases, despite the fact that the subpoena has no age range and it isn't restricted by the existence or absence of abuse reports. He's claiming that "the children are not under any legal scrutiny" - but Kansas law criminalizes sexual contact with anyone who is under 16 even if the people are of similar ages. Note that this rather odd statute makes all such people who engage in sexual activity criminals, there is no predator/victim distinction - two 15 year olds screw, they're felons.

An abortion isn't the only potential evidence of illegal sexual activity. Getting pregnant at 15 is a crime even if you carry the child to term, if your partner is under 16. Why aren't they subpoenaing maternity ward records?

And, of course, what about the boys? As Kansas's STD reporting shows, there are lots of people under the age of 16, many presumably male, who have contracted these diseases. In 2003, the last year for which there's full data, for people 14 and under there were 121 cases of chlamydia, and 38 reported cases of Gonorrhea. 15 year olds are lumped in with the 15-19 group, so presumably that would add a few more cases. Why no subpoenas there?

(post edited a bit in substantial ways, major blogger headaches...)