Kansas Attorney General Phill Kline’s “Kiss and Tell” Law Goes to Trial
Kline Scheduled to Appear in Court on February 3
WHAT: The trial for Aid for Women v. Foulston, a federal civil rights lawsuit in U.S. District Court of the District of Kansas brought by the Center for Reproductive Rights on behalf of the plaintiffs challenging a child-abuse reporting law that requires doctors, school counselors and psychotherapists, among others, to report sexual activity involving a teen younger than 16 as evidence of child abuse.WHO: The Honorable J. Thomas Marten will preside over the trial.Bonnie Scott Jones of the Center for Reproductive Rights will represent the plaintiffs, a group of obstetricians and gynecologists, registered nurses, psychologists, social workers, a family practice physician, a sex education teacher, and a perinatologist.Attorney General Phill Kline is scheduled to appear as a witness on Friday, February 3.WHEN: Monday, January 30, 2006 at 8:30 a.m. (Central Time)WHERE: 401 North Market, Suite 232, Wichita, Kansas 67202. For directions, please call the court at (316) 269-6491.BACKGROUND: 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 all sexual activity involving a teen younger than 16 as evidence of child abuse. Under the interpretation, such professionals would report all adolescent sexual activity, even when the activity is consensual, involves teenagers of the same age, and when they do not suspect that the conduct is sexual abuse or harmful. In effect, Kline’s interpretation is so broad it would require a therapist to report a teen who disclosed that she was “making out” with her boyfriend.On October 3, 2003, the Center for Reproductive Rights filed the lawsuit. The plaintiffs argue that the attorney general’s interpretation violates adolescents’ right to informational privacy and deters adolescents from seeking confidential health care or counseling. In July 2004, Judge J. Thomas Marten ordered the law blocked from enforcement until the court reached a final decision in the case. That preliminary injunction was appealed by the defendants to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit in Denver, Colorado. The appellate court has not yet issued a ruling.