A rather remarkable case is beginning in Wichita, Kansas. From the Wichita Eagle:
A 15-year-old girl tells her doctor she needs birth control because she and her boyfriend are having sex.
Kansas Attorney General Phill Kline says the law requires the doctor to report the girl to child protective services.
A group of doctors, nurses, counselors and other health-care providers across Kansas say it’s none of the state’s business.
U.S. District Judge J. Thomas Marten will have to decide who’s right during a trial beginning Monday in Wichita that’s being watched across the country by legal, women’s and health-care groups. . . .
Kline touched off what has become a lengthy court battle with a controversial legal opinion in 2003. Kansas law makes sexual contact with anyone under 16 a crime. Kline said that means doctors, psychologists, nurses and other health-care providers should report all suspected sexual activity involving anyone younger than 16.
The plaintiffs first raise a constitutional right to information privacy claim. In a case called Whalen v. Roe, 429 U.S. 589 (1977), the Supreme Court stated that the constitutional right to privacy protected two “different kinds of interests” — (1) “the individual interest in avoiding disclosure of personal matters” and (2) “the interest in independence in making certain kinds of important decisions.” The first interest has become known as the constitutional right to information privacy. The Court only addressed this right in one other case, Nixon v. Administrator of General Services, 433 U.S. 425 (1977). Since then, however, the Court has done little to clarify the right. A few courts have concluded that the right is just dicta, but most federal courts of appeal have recognized the right, including the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 9th, and 10th Circuits.