Prosecutors Drop Remaining Charges Against JOCO Planned Parenthood

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OVERLAND PARK, Kan. -- Prosecutors have dropped the remaining charges relating to abortions procedures at a Johnson County Planned Parenthood clinic.

Johnson County District Attorney Steve Howe announced that his office was dropping the remaining 32 misdemeanor charges against the clinic. The move comes almost 10 months after 23 felony counts against the clinic were dropped because Howe claimed that important documents relating to the case were destroyed, and the copies he had weren't usable in court.

The charges against the clinic included making false information, failure to maintain records, failure to determine the viability of a fetus and unlawful late-term abortion.

On Friday, Howe says that the remaining charges were dropped because the medical evidence didn't back up the charge that Planned Parenthood failed to determine the viability of a fetus.

"I understand that there's going to be many people who will be disappointed, some people might be happy about it," said Howe. "But in the end, our decision should be based on the law and the evidence, and nothing but that."

Officials with Planned Parenthood say that they are happy with Friday's decision, saying that the charges which were originally brought against them by former Johnson County District Attorny Phill Kline were politically motivated and without merit.

Howe says that he is disappointed that at least some of the 107 original charges couldn't be prosecuted because he claims that some of the documents that were destroyed would have proven felony-level crimes - a charge that Planned Parenthood officials say isn't true, because those documents still exist.

"Mr. Howe had at that time, and still has to this day the documents to prosecute us on those allegations," said Pedro Irigonegaray of Planned Parenthood.

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