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Tue March 27, 2012
Discarded Abortion Records Prompt Investigation, Chargeable Violations Unclear
The discovery of hundreds of private abortion records near a school in Overland Park, Kan. has prompted a police investigation.
Officer Gary Mason, with the Overland Park police department, says a dispatcher did not respond to an initial call about the discovery on Saturday, but an investigation into how and why the records got there is now in progress.
“It’s always a concern for us anytime this stuff does show up,” says Mason. “There’s not just the pretense of abortion records, but claims such as social security numbers and claims for identity theft, which is something we want to keep safeguarded.”
The records – many of which were 10 years old and included women’s names, birth dates, social security numbers and health histories – came from the Affordable Medical and Surgical Services in Kansas City, Kan. The practice closed down after its doctor, Krishna Rajanna, lost his medical license in 2005 following multiple fines and disciplinary actions.
Rajanna threw the records out in a recycling bin at Brookridge Elementary School last week. He couldn't be reached for comment, but told the Kansas City Star he thought the records would be disposed of quickly and wouldn’t be seen by anyone.
A woman discovered them there over the weekend.
Kelli Stevens, general counsel with the Kansas Board of Healing Arts, says her agency now has physical custody of the records but can only prosecute practicing physicians.
“Because we already revoked his [Rajanna’s] license for other problems, we don’t have jurisdiction over him,” says Stevens. “What we do have the ability to do is make sure the records are secure.”
Stevens says that will involve obtaining a records custodian through "appropriate statutory" means.
Johnson County District Attorney, Steve Howe, says he doesn’t anticipate criminal charges. It’s not clear whether federal medical privacy laws apply.
Those on both sides of the abortion debate have expressed disappointment and outrage over the incident.
Anti-abortion lawmakers are calling on the Kansas legislature to investigate the situation.
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