All felony charges against Overland Park-based Planned Parenthood have been dropped following the disclosure that state documents sought as evidence had been destroyed.
A Kansas judge dismissed the 49 most serious charges without prejudice, but 57 misdemeanor counts still remain. Those allegations deal with actual abortion practices and procedures.
Individual reports about 23 abortions at the clinic were filed with the Kansas Health Department, as required by law, but shredded in 2005.
Questions remain about who and why someone shredded those vital records.
The clinic faced criminal charges, including allegations that it falsified its copies of those 2003 records when it produced them for a judge in another county in 2006. Charges were filed in 2007 by then Attorney General Phill Kline.
"The legal barriers were insurmountable after the destruction of two sets of copies of abortion records," said the prosecutor's office.
Prosecutors blamed both department of health and the office of then Attorney General Steve Six for mishandling the records. Six's office destroyed its set of records in 2009.
Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri called Wednesday's decision a "significant victory" for the women and families who rely on the agency for health care. The clinic said it was a "prolonged and unnecessary legal process" that wasted significant tax dollars.
The group goes on to say, "We are grateful Johnson County taxpayers and Planned Parenthood will no longer waste enormous time and money on these politically motivated allegations brought by now discredited prosecutor Phill Kline."
Planned Parenthood maintains clinic employees followed the law meticulously.
The current Attorney General Derek Schmidt said Wednesday that he's seeking an investigation into the destruction of the documents.
Schmidt has asked the Shawnee County sheriff to investigate and the county's district attorney has agreed to handle any resulting case.
"Actual evidence was destroyed ... not once but twice by elected officials," said Mary Kay Culp, director of Kansans for Life. "I hope this shows people how serious this is.
Copyright 2011 KCTV. All rights reserved. The Associated Press Contributed to this report.
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