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Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Phill Kline's hand-picked doctor commits "gross breach of trust" & more

The pursuit of abortion provider George Tiller -- aka the saga that never dies -- heated up this week when anti-abortion activists brought Paul McHugh to Kansas. McHugh's appearance coincides with the National Right to Life Convention meeting Thursday through Saturday in Kansas City, Mo.

McHugh is the former head of Johns Hopkins University’s psychiatry program. He reviewed the records of some of Tiller's patients for Phill Kline when Kline was the Kansas attorney general and continuing his Ahab-like pursuit of Tiller.

What McHugh did when he arrived was to stump the state talking about what he saw in those records -- that is, what he saw in the PRIVATE, CONFIDENTIAL medical records of these patients. To make matters worse, McHugh's statements concern an ongoing investigation in new Attorney General Paul Morrison's office. McHugh also attacked Morrison personally. Morrison was not amused.

The Kansas City Star reports:

Morrison fired back Tuesday with a stinging letter to McHugh, saying his public comments about the case threaten the integrity of the investigation and violate rules of conduct for physicians. Also, Morrison disputed McHugh’s claim that he had not been contacted by Morrison’s office and threatened to file disciplinary or legal actions against McHugh if he continued to speak publicly about the case.

“Your actions are a gross breach of trust, and demonstrate the dangers in allowing prosecutors to randomly invade the privacy rights of American citizens,” Morrison wrote. “… You do a disservice to you, Johns Hopkins and your profession.”

Because of the letter, McHugh refused to speak with The Star and did not discuss the case, as planned, at a public meeting in Overland Park Tuesday night.

McHugh claims Morrison's office never contacted him for his ideas on the records. In the letter, Morrison details the many efforts his office made to contact McHugh. The details are in the story in The Star.

Morrison's office is investigating Tiller and has said an announcement on the case will be made by the end of the month. That's only two weeks. Surely, folks can have the sense to wait two weeks to allow a proper investigation to be completed.

Details of Kline and anti-abortion group's pursuit of Tiller are available at my national-commentary blog, In This Moment.

A little Googling reveals that McHugh has been attached to many socially conservative organizations. He is a longtime opponent of sex-reassignment surgery for transgendered peoples. The Transexual Roadmap has a good overview of at least some of his ideas.

For a more positive view of McHugh, the Johns Hopkins Magazine did a profile in 1999.

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