Judge tosses charges in Kansas abortion case

By JOHN HANNA | November 9, 2011 | 8:35 PM EST

Peter Brownlie, center, president and chief executive officer of Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri, confers with attorney Pedro Irigonegaray, left, and spokeswoman Ellen McDonald, right, before a court hearing, Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2011, in Olathe, Kan. A Johnson County district judge has dismissed 49 of 107 criminal charges against the Planned Parenthood clinic in Overland Park, including the most serious counts. (AP Photo/John Hanna)

OLATHE, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas judge has dismissed the most serious charges against a Kansas City-area Planned Parenthood clinic accused of falsifying records and failing to follow abortion law.

The move comes after a prosecutor revealed that state officials had destroyed key evidence.

Prosecutor Steve Howe told a judge Wednesday that he had no choice but to ask that 49 of 107 charges against the clinic be dismissed.

Meanwhile, authorities in the state capital of Topeka plan to investigate the records shredding.

The records involved abortions performed in 2003. They were filed by Planned Parenthood's clinic in Overland Park with the state health department.

Fifty-eight misdemeanor charges against the clinic remain, accusing the clinic of performing illegal abortions and failing to follow a state law restricting late-term abortions.