WICHITA, Kansas, July 27, 2004 ( – In a decision handed down Monday, a federal judge ruled that abortionists are not required to comply with a law requiring the reporting of sexual abuse or rape of minors to authorities.

U.S. District Judge J. Thomas Marten argued that most underage sex is consensual, thus a mandatory reporting of all underage sexual activity would constitute an invasion of privacy. He also reasoned that mandatory reporting would deter minors from seeking abortions out of fear of the abusive relationship being exposed.  Although the several media reports lead readers to think all underage reporting is of consensual acts, Marten’s decision means that doctors committing abortions on child victims of abuse or underage rape victims would be exempt from reporting these crimes.

The suit began in November, when Kansas Attorney General Phill Kline filed a defense on behalf of two Kansas county and district attorneys who were sued to prevent them from enforcing the 1982 state law requiring the reporting of abuse of children 15 years of age and under to authorities.

The plaintiffs in the case, New York-based abortion provider Aid for Women sought to prevent the enforcement of the long-standing policy, speculating that the potential harm caused by the reporting would chill the right of minors to seek ‘medical care’, and that that outweighed the state’s interest in preventing child abuse through reporting.

“Abused children will say what their abusers tell them to say,” Attorney General Kline said in his brief filed late last year. “We have a responsibility to do everything necessary to make sure that we protect our children, and that starts with the notification of the appropriate authorities when even the possibility of abuse exists.”

In a sworn affidavit, Dr. Gary Yarbrough, a Parsons physician, agreed with Kline, adding that minors are frequently not honest about their sexual histories, and about physical, emotional, or sexual abuse in particular.

“Abuse to a minor, including sexual abuse, can lead to devastating consequences in the short term and lifelong,” Dr. Yarbrough said. “Minors in abusive relationships will frequently lie about the relationship, saying that it is not abusive. Because it is so difficult to tell if a minor is truthfully describing the nature of a relationship, sexual or otherwise, I believe that to protect minors under the age of 16, it is important to report for further investigation all instances of sexual intercourse of minors under age 16 even if described as voluntary.”  tv


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