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Patrick Wiesner, passed over for Orman

Patrick Wiesner, passed over for Greg Orman

Last month, Kansans witnessed court shenanigans to secure a dirty back-room deal to try to stop Republican pro-lifers from taking over the U.S. Senate majority.

The floundering Democrat Senate candidate– Topeka District Attorney Chad Taylor—submitted a last-minute statement of withdrawal on Sept.3. Taylor did not type out,“I am incapable of fulfilling the duties of this office if elected,” which (after the primary has passed) is the only allowable excuse, other than death, for getting out under Kansas statute 25-306a .The Kansas State Supreme Court ruled that his use of the phrase “pursuant to” in his statement, sufficed to remove his name.

No one disputes that Taylor’s exit was designed to facilitate opposition to 3-term GOP incumbent, Sen. Pat Roberts, coalescing around multimillionaire “independent” candidate, Greg Orman, who’d been running TV commercials promoting his candidacy before he was even technically on the ballot. (Read pro-abortion support for Orman here and national media frenzy over the Roberts challenge here)

The tougher question that the Kansas State Supreme Court ducked was whether the Democrat Party could be held in contempt (and fined) for not supplying a Democrat replacement for Taylor. The party had publicly refused to find a replacement after Secretary of State, Kris Kobach, said the law required it (even with a viable candidate, see below).

A lone, long-time-Democrat-voting citizen, David Orel, filed suit for Democrats to perform that duty.

The state Supreme Court wanted to dodge that question and certainly the fact that four of those justices are Democrats and one of their homes was being used that week for a Democrat fundraiser had no impact, right? So the issue of whether the Democrats were illegally not replacing the Taylor name was sent to a lower court panel of three judges who

  • were insulted that Orel did not come to court, although his attorney argued that the court merely needed to interpret the statute, without testimony;
  • found that Orel would not be uniquely harmed by not having a Democrat candidate for U.S. Senate on the ballot;
  • ruled that the law about replacing withdrawn candidates was not a mandate, just an option.

Now, it is true that current legal scholars hate laws that use the word “shall.” But, as the filing of the Kansas Attorney General’s office in this matter explained, the pertinent Kansas election provision in the Taylor/Orel matter uses “shall” for some mandates and “may” for some optional duties—indicating that the legislators understood the difference, and that candidate replacement by the party (after the primary) was mandatory.

WHERE’S WALDO?
But, wait… where was the Democrat whom the public and the courts should have heard from? The rightful replacement for Taylor is Taylor’s runner-up in the primary, who garnered 46.3% of the vote and who could, with not much effort, resume campaigning for the seat.

Patrick Weisner is that person– a successful CPA and attorney, newly retired from the military, who in fact had also campaigned for the U.S. Senate seat in 2010! Where had he disappeared to in all this? Oh wait, a perusal of Weisner’s political positions (here, here and here) shows he is not a lock-step Democrat. Guess he was muffled off as part of this back-room deal.

In conclusion, Kansas election law enacted to preserve the integrity of primary-chosen candidates has been perverted and needs to be revisited.

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Kansas WRTK site has interractive ultrasound

Ultrasound featured on KS- WRTK

For decades, we have heard tearful testimony from post-abortive women who were misinformed about the humanity of their unborn child by the abortionist and staff. Far too many mothers have looked at sonograms of their current “wanted” pregnancy only to realize in private horror that the abortion they had years before, did not merely remove a “blob of tissue,” but destroyed a recognizably human, unborn child.

In the pursuit of selling an abortion, clinics cannot be trusted to promote medical accuracy. Unlike other acts of consumer deception, for which lawsuits would be entertained, abortion clinics fear no legal repercussions.

Instead, the one significant bar to total manipulation of abortion information came from the U.S. Supreme Court in its 1992 Casey decision. Casey allows the states to provide “objective, nonjudgmental, scientifically accurate” information relevant to making an informed abortion decision.

Kansas implemented that right in 1997 by creating a “Woman’s Right to Know” division of the state health department (KDHE), to maintain a 24-hour phone hotline and publish official informational booklets.  Every legal abortion in Kansas requires the woman (whether a Kansan or non-resident) to sign a paper that she “accessed” this information prior to abortion.

In 2009, the Kansas legislature was able to enact updated pro-life provisions for informed consent that were not vetoed –as had been the pattern under then-Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius. During a few-weeks window of time when she awaited confirmation as HHS secretary (and having described herself to the Senate Confirmation committee as pro-life!), Sebelius signed a pro-life law containing these main provisions:

  1. required clinics using ultrasound technology to honor the woman’s request to see the child’s ultrasound and receive a hard copy, 30 minutes prior to abortion; and
  2. instructed the KDHE to update all WRTK printed materials to a website.

[Unsurprisingly, after confirmation to the HHS post, Sebelius vetoed another pro-life bill, a late-term abortion ban. And both her administration, and that of her replacement, Gov. Mark Parkinson, botched the WRTK website project.]

IMPROVED 4-D ULTRASOUND
More importantly, however, was the fact that the WRTK website was indeed properly implemented in 2011, under pro-life Gov. Sam Brownback. Notably, the WRTK website was the first in the nation to include an independently-produced,  4-D ultrasound educational tool about prenatal development.

There has been significant traffic to the WRTK website, but the quintessential point is to provide “one-click” access to women at the crucial moments they are considering abortion. (Read more here.)

When women experience a lack of support for maintaining their pregnancy–or downright coercion to abort–they need every tool they can get. The WRTK website is a source of objective facts about pregnancy and a list of assistance centers. It is designed to enlighten and empower women, especially those being pressured by partners, friends or family members. Such information is best contemplated away from the abortion business, and a privately-accessible, trustworthy web source is ideal.

It is noteworthy that the websites of all four Kansas abortion clinics did include this WRTK link voluntarily from 2011-2013–even the (recently-closed) Aid for Women clinic whose website commentary roundly bashed the WRTK information. No doubt the clinics found that burying this link somewhere on their web pages would legally allow them to not physically hand out the WRTK booklets to their clients.

With the link thus so unevenly treated, and even scorned, the Kansas legislature in 2013 mandated that every abortion clinic in the state feature a live link to the WRTK site on their homepage, with a short descriptive tagline. The weblink tagline (tweaked in 2014) reads:

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment maintains a website containing information about the development of the unborn child, as well as video of sonogram images of the unborn child at various stages of development, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment`s website can be reached by clicking here.

Two Kansas City suburban abortion clinics sued the weblink mandate as an infringement of the First Amendment. The injunction governing the weblink–obtained in state court by the Center for Women’s Health, in June 2013– was dissolved this summer. Notice of this action was sent to federal court, which has not yet acted upon a request by Planned Parenthood of Kansas & Mid Missouri for a similar injunction.

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Justice Alito

Justice Alito

On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld conscience protection for certain businesses to refuse to provide abortifacient drugs and devices through employee insurance, as mandated by an HHS rule under Obamacare.

The Hobby Lobby ruling applies narrowly to “closely held corporations,” which the IRS defines as firms where half of the value of the corporation is held by five or fewer individuals. The Obama administration had argued that ‘for-profit’ corporations couldn’t have religious beliefs, but the Court disagreed, finding that,

“Protecting the free-exercise rights of closely held corporations…  protects the religious liberty of the humans who own and control them.”

The Court also noted that the Evangelical owners of Hobby Lobby and the Mennonite owners of Conestoga Wood Products (both “closely held corporations”) professed “sincere Christian beliefs that life begins at conception and that it would violate their religion to facilitate access to contraceptive drugs or devices that operate after that point.”

Specifically, the Hobby Lobby lawsuit sought an exemption to providing 4 of the listed 20 forms of contraception that HHS mandates under “preventive services.”

Gov. Brownback

Gov. Brownback

KANSAS PROTECTIVE LAWS
Of note to Kansas pro-lifers is that the Hobby Lobby majority opinion was written by Justice Samuel Alito.

Alito’s appointment to the Court would not have occurred had not our governor, then-U.S. Senator Sam Brownback, led the resistance to President Bush’s 2005 nomination of Harriet Miers to replace the retiring Justice Sandra Day O’Connor. O’Connor had provided the fifth vote in the 2000 Stenberg decision striking down a Nebraska partial birth abortion law but Alito became the fifth vote to uphold the federal partial birth abortion ban in 2007.

The backdrop of the Obama administration’s aggressive abortion agenda further incentivized Kansas to pass particular pro-life laws, signed by pro-life Gov. Brownback, elected in 2010.

After the passage of Obamacare that included abortion coverage, Kansas enacted laws in 2011 to prevent abortion coverage in any future Kansas health exchange and in all private health insurance plans unless a separate abortion ‘rider’ is purchased.

In the wake of the HHS mandate and an increase in contraceptive promotion, Kansas medical professionals faced a growing ethical problem: some pills and devices marketed as preventing pregnancy also disrupt the implantation of the human embryo—called a post-fertilization abortifacient effect.

Because Kansas’ abortion statute defines legal contraception as, “the use of any drug or device that inhibits or prevents ovulation, fertilization or implantation of an embryo,” in 2012, Kansas passed conscience protection for medical professionals and facilities: “No person shall be required to perform, refer for, or participate in medical procedures or in the prescription or administration of any device or drug which result in the termination of a pregnancy or an effect of which the person reasonably believes may result in the termination of a pregnancy.”

In 2013, Kansas passed further barriers to government promotion of abortion in healthcare in the Pro-Life Protections Act, which

  • declares that human life begins at fertilization and that Kansas public policy will promote and protect the interests of unborn children and their parents;
  • prevents state agencies from discriminating against individuals or health care institutions that do not provide, pay for, or refer for abortions;
  • more effectively bans abortion performance and abortionist-training at the tax-funded KUMed Center.

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pp money (2)A three-member panel of the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals today overturned a Kansas federal district court ruling that Planned Parenthood was unfairly disfavored and penalized by a 2011 funding authorization. The case was sent back to Judge J. Thomas Marten, who had remarked that he expected to be overruled in this matter.

The case stems from a 2011 lawsuit filed by Planned Parenthood of Kansas & Mid-Missouri on behalf of their Kansas abortion-referral facilities in Wichita and Hays. Both clinics became ineligible to receive Title X federal family planning funding when the state enacted an annually-renewed proviso that such money go to full-service public health clinics and hospitals.

Planned Parenthood claimed they would be “irreparably damaged” without “its” Title X funding. However, Dr. Robert Moser, head of the state health department that selects recipient facilities, described Title X funds as belonging to the state taxpayers, remarking that, “Title X was not intended to be an entitlement program for Planned Parenthood.”

The appeals panel ruled that

Planned Parenthood lacked standing to pursue its claims in federal court, and that its claim of a First Amendment violation lacked merit.

Planned Parenthood had argued that they were losing out on money due to impermissible “anti-abortion” animosity from the legislature and Gov. Sam Brownback. But the Kansas proviso doesn’t mention anything about providing or supporting abortion; it merely prioritizes that Title X grants go to local health department clinics.

Planned Parenthood also claimed that the state could not impose additional requirements for facilities to obtain Title X funding–in this case, maximizing use of a federal grant program to support health care for the poor. Court documents revealed that women at or below poverty level comprised merely 15% of Planned Parenthood’s Kansas clients, while

similarly economically disadvantaged women comprised 78% of those served by the health department in Wichita, which would have received the Title X grants.

Judge Marten ruled in August 2011 that the Kansas health department must continue to fund two Planned Parenthood businesses while litigation continued. In October of 2011, he ordered additional funding to another family planning clinic in western Kansas, which closed 14 months later. To date, at least $400,000 has been paid out to those three clinics by Marten’s order.

In the last three years, abortion advocates and clinics have sued four Kansas pro-life measures:

  1. Kansas won the first lawsuit, challenging a 2011 law that excludes elective abortion from private health insurance coverage without a “rider.”
  2. Kansas has won the appeal (today) that Planned Parenthood had no standing to sue in federal court for perceived discrimination in Title X eligibility.
  3. An abortion-friendly state judge has stalled litigation on the 2011 pro-life abortion clinic licensure law, under injunction.
  4. Abortion interests failed to block the comprehensive 2013 Pro-Life Protections Act with the exception of two tiny provisions which are being addressed.

Kansas pro-life legislation is well-drafted and being defended by talented attorneys working for the state Attorney General.

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rate down graphic (2)A snarky taunt hurled at pro-lifers through the years has been, “If you are against abortion, just don’t have one!”

With the Guttmacher Institute study concluding that abortions are at a 30-year low, as well as a lower national abortion rate and ratio, it appears that a lot of women, especially younger ones, are doing just that– not having abortions.

Moreover, these women rejecting abortion are not just located in states with protective pro-life laws, but across the nation, according to Guttmacher. There are several things to unpack here, with examples from our state of Kansas.

First, our opponents use Guttmacher’s report to scoff at the benefit of pro-life state legislation. They argue (1) that the number of abortions went down in states without pro-life initiatives; and/or (2) the data Guttmacher analyzed came before the upturn in state pro-life laws enacted during 2011-2013.

This seems to imply that no laws were in place benefiting women prior to 2011, which is absolutely untrue. The much-reported increase in state pro-life laws did not start with the election of a majority of state governors who were pro-life, beginning in 2010.

When Guttmacher (and Slate’s William Saletan, here) downplay the role of pro-life initiatives in reducing the number of abortions, they conveniently ignore a whole bevy of initiatives which have had the effect of helping women choose life, including:

  1. parental involvement laws,
  2. limits to tax-funded abortion,
  3. support for pregnancy assistance,
  4. and requirements for ultrasound viewing, waiting periods, and women’s right to know information.

For Kansas, electing a pro-life governor in 2010 was key, because governors can scuttle pro-life legislation with a stroke of the veto pen. During those years where abortion political influence held sway in Kansas, pro-lifers grew the number of pregnancy assistance centers and elected greater numbers of ‘proudly’ pro-life legislators. More protective laws could not be enacted –or older ones properly enforced– until we elected Gov. Sam Brownback in 2010.

Second, our opponents attribute fewer abortions to fewer numbers of women getting pregnant in the first place. They tout this as an obvious victory for contraception, either because women “were making conscious decisions to avoid pregnancy” (in the words of the authors, Rachel K. Jones and Jenna Jerman) or because of the use of “long-acting” contraceptives.

But even if this were true, this still doesn’t answer the fundamental question raised by the abortion ratio for 2011. The abortion ratio essentially compares the number of abortions to the number of births. According to Guttmacher,

there were 21.2 abortions for every 100 pregnancies ending in abortion or live birth in 2011. This is also the lowest ratio since 1973, the first year Roe was in effect.

The ratio was 30.4 in 1983 and was as high as 25.1 as recently as 1998.
So even if fewer women get pregnant, that doesn’t answer the question why more of them are choosing life.

NATIONAL PRO-LIFE IDENTIFICATION
A pro-life mindset is at work nationwide–as witnessed by polling showing pro-life self-identification at 48%. This is the result of a strong national pro-life movement that educates at so many levels and continues to challenge the “normalization” of abortion. The natural by-product is more pro-life laws.

However, Saletan claims pro-life laws are “a waste of time” that “can’t possibly affect women in states without such laws.” To agree with that would be to assert that women in abortion-friendly states don’t have an awareness of what’s happening elsewhere, don’t use the internet, and do wholly adopt the mentality of their state legislature to their personal lives.  Not likely.

Saletan discounts not only the success, but the relevance of the pro-life movement for changing the culture, because “legal moralism is losing its grip on this country.” It just isn’t the case, he says, that “by enacting legal restrictions in one state, you’re affecting the moral convictions of women in other states.”

Really?  If pro-life laws are a waste of time, why are they so desperately fought by abortion supporters–and to a nationwide audience? Why did national pro-abortion media sources work so hard (to name just a few examples) to

  • portray Kansas and other states adopting Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection acts as legislating against medical science;
  • deny the confirmed biological connection between induced abortion and breast cancer; and
  • mischaracterize a Kansas law disallowing wrongful birth lawsuits as ‘support for doctors to lie to pregnant women’?

Obviously, these media attacks are meant to dissuade individual women from learning the truth and to scare other states from adopting pro-life laws.

KANSAS LEADERSHIP
The Kansas “Women’s Right to Know and See” law–passed in 2009—gave women not only the option to see their child’s ultrasound taken inside the abortion clinic, but also created a state health department-run website
. But only under a pro-life governor in 2011, was the law properly implemented so that the website included real-time sonography of the developing unborn child. As  a result we think Kansas has the best pregnancy information website in the nation.wrtk header (2)

And building on legislative intent to fully inform women, the Kansas’ 2013 Pro-Life Protections Act includes the “first-in-the-nation” requirement that the link to the state “Woman’s Right to Know” abortion information website be positioned on an abortion clinic’s home page.

Pro-life laws not only have concrete effects on abortion decision-making, they have a “teaching” function that extends beyond state lines. Abortion interests don’t want that “Woman’s Right to Know” link displayed on their home page. They want it tucked away somewhere on their website so that while few women will see it, the abortion clinic can claim it was accessible.

Can such links to gestational information with active 4-D Ultrasound films affect women in states without this law? Yes–thanks to the Internet.

This is just one example. Guttmacher (and Saletan) can insist that pro-life initiatives have no (or very little impact) but common sense and experience says otherwise. Collectively, pro-life laws are contributing to our nation’s ever-decreasing choice for abortion.

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KFL logoAbortion-supporting groups continue to complain about the increasing life-protective laws passed in the states, particularly Kansas. The pro-abortion Guttmacher Institute places Kansas as number four in the nation (see map) among pro-life states– even as three of our bills from 2011 are not in effect yet due to delayed court action.

The achievement of strengthening Kansas as a pro-life state is due to the efforts of many, with Kansans for Life taking a leadership role.  For highlights of Kansans for Life 2013 activities, including educational and political action, see here. To donate, go here.

2013 PRO-LIFE LAWS
Gov. Sam Brownback signed three pro-life bills into law in 2013.

Senate Bill 142 [“Civil Rights for the Unborn”] allows lawsuits to be filed in civil court on behalf of the wrongful death of an unborn child at any time in gestation and  prohibits the filing of civil “wrongful birth” or “wrongful life” lawsuits seeking jackpot awards for parents who claim they would have aborted their disabled child had they known the of the condition prenatally. Recently, a jury in the state of Washington awarded $50 million dollars to parents because a laboratory did not detect a genetic defect. Such a lawsuit cannot be filed now in Kansas.

Senate Bill 199 establishes the exciting and first-of-its-kind Midwest Stem Cell Therapy Center at the University of Kansas, to increase the number of clinical grade stem cells available for use in patient treatments. The Center will create education modules for the public and medical personnel and create a global database resource for physicians and patients. Currently the only successful medical stem cell treatments are those using tissue sources such as blood, bone marrow and umbilical cords. The Center bars the use of any fetal or embryonic tissue cells, which are obtained through the destruction of unborn children.

House Bill 2253 [2013 Pro-Life Protections Act] was two years in the making, with extremist liberal media whining all along the way. HB 2253

  • strengthens medically accurate information made available prior to abortion from the state health department website;
  • bans all tax-funded payment for abortion,  tax breaks for abortion businesses;
  • forbids abortions for reason of sex-selection; and
  • declares that state public policy and budget priorities will reflect the fact that human life begins at conception, subject to U.S. Supreme Court rulings.

Planned Parenthood and the abortion clinic of Herb Hodes and Traci Nauser (both in Overland Park) have sued to block HB 2253’s new requirement that abortion clinics feature a link to state abortion information on the clinic’s website homepage. In addition, after failing to secure a legal injunction against the entire HB 2253, Hodes/Nauser attorneys did secure a block on one small provision in HB 2253 defining medical emergencies.

As usual, unable to win in the realm of public opinion, abortion interests run to the courts, hoping they will land activist judges to freeze laws from going into effect. That strategy did not work well for them this year.

The office of Attorney General Derek Schmidt is managing the defense teams for all challenged pro-life laws. We expect resolution in our favor, although the pace has been especially slow on the three lawsuits filed in 2011.

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Sen. Mary Pilcher-Cook, with health committee presenters: Dr. David Prentice, stem cell patient Richard Walters, Dr. Dana Winegarner, & Director Dr. Buddhadeb Dawn

Sen. Mary Pilcher-Cook, with health committee presenters: Dr. David Prentice, stem cell patient Richard Walters, Dr. Dana Winegarner, & Director Dr. Buddhadeb Dawn

What was once only a dream has become a reality– the Midwest Stem Cell Therapy Center at the University of Kansas Medical Center will host its inaugural in-depth educational conference about adult stem cell treatments Saturday, Nov. 23 in Kansas City. See details here.

The purpose of this conference (which provides continuing education credits) is to update health professionals and trainees about advances in therapy with adult stem cells, as well as explaining adult stem cell biology and its potential for tissue and organ regeneration.

Adult stem cell treatments in the form of bone marrow transplants have been used for many years to successfully treat leukemia and related bone/blood cancers. The scientific community is now focusing on additional therapeutic options including organ repair. The Midwest Stem Cell Therapy Center was created this year by the Kansas Legislature, (read here) under the leadership of Gov. Sam Brownback and Sen. Mary Pilcher-Cook, in order to:

  • facilitate the “translation” of basic stem cell research findings into actual clinical applications;
  • multiply clinical grade stem cells obtained from adult tissues, cord blood, and other sources, excluding embryonic and fetal;
  • increase the number of patients receiving stem cell treatments;
  • educate medical professionals and the public;
  • create and maintain a global database of available stem cell trials and therapies.

The Center’s director is Buddhadeb Dawn, M.D., current director of the KU Med Center’s Cardiovascular Division, who has been engaged in promising adult stem cell therapy for cardiac repair. International stem cell expert, Dr. David A Prentice, has been appointed to the Center’s 15-member advisory board.

Let your favorite medical personnel know about this exciting conference!

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