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Cheryl Chastine

Cheryl Chastine

Last Friday was the fifth anniversary of the slaying of George Tiller, notorious for performing late abortions up through the ninth month of pregnancy. There were a number of stories lauding Tiller.

We learn from the Wichita Eagle that a joint media conference call from Julie Burkhart, Tiller’s former Political Action Committee (PAC) director, generated the “Tiller legacy” tribute stories at NPR, MSNBC, Wichita Eagle, Salon, and other pro-abortion outlets.

These reports served several purposes: to portray Tiller as a hero, vilify pro-life legislation, and to promote the fledgling South Wind Women’s Center (SWWC) abortion clinic. SWWC is run by Burkhart, using an Illinois fly-in abortionist, Cheryl Chastine.

SWWC is located in the same Wichita, Kansas, building Tiller occupied for decades. Reporters were informed SWWC hopes to expand to Oklahoma City and possibly beyond.

The engine for the “Tiller legacy” media campaign is Burkhart, who ran Tiller’s ProKanDo PAC from 2002 until 2009. The PAC spent over $2.4 million dollars to elect pro-abortion candidates, including former Gov. Kathleen Sebelius (see details here).

After the Kansas State Healing Arts Board initiated legal actions to revoke Tiller’s medical license for violating the Kansas post-viability abortion ban, Burkhart left for St. Louis to head Missouri ProVote, a pro-Obama / pro-abortion political activist coalition.

Within a year of Tiller’s death, Burkhart had created a new group -–the Trust Women PAC– with the mission of stopping pro-life legislation and increasing abortion businesses in the “underserved” Midwest and South.

When the Tiller clinic was still in business in 2009, the Kansas legislature passed additional “Woman’s Right to Know”(WRTK) provisions aimed, in part, at the many women who were being led into late abortions to “resolve” their medically-challenging pregnancy.

The improved WRTK provisions included:

  • where to get free medical help, including perinatal hospice, for grave or lethal fetal conditions, and
  • a mandate that the clinic accommodate women who want to hear the fetal heart tones or see a current sonogram before obtaining an abortion.

This WRTK law requires the state health department to prepare medically-accurate pregnancy and fetal development materials in booklet form and available online, and to maintain a 24 hour phone hotline. Of course, according to Burkhart, this is just another “measure designed to shame and guilt” women, and burden clinics.

WHAT ABORTIONIST CHASTINE TOLD MEDIA
Based on several of her statements recorded in Friday’s Salon article, the 32-year old Chastine seems especially uninformed about Kansas’ WRTK abortion law. She said,
“It feels like there’s a third party in the exam room that doesn’t belong there, and I’m very clear with patients when I tell them that. I tell them, ‘The state wants me to tell you this. They also you to do this.’ I don’t try to hide the intrusion. I make sure that they know so that they can understand how their care is being influenced by unnecessary legislation.”

Chastine is quite emphatic about giving SWWC clients a rebuttal to information that she wrongly believes Kansas law requires her to “tell” abortion clients. But Kansas does not require the abortionist to say anything.

WRTK information was in fact designed as an out-of-clinic resource to both counter misconceptions relayed by abortion personnel as well as remedy a lack of relevant information preventing a woman from a freely formed abortion decision. WRTK laws offer a counterpoint to a rushed, forced, and irrevocable abortion, which is why abortion clinics hate them so.

Salon interviewer Katie McDonough further prods Chastine with this:
“Kansas is passing legislation designed to shame patients and place barriers to access in their way. I’m thinking of the 24 hour waiting period here, which is both intended to be a logistical barrier but also an insult to a patient’s intelligence….You probably see people who have come a long way, who have saved up, who taken off work — and you then have to tell them, “I can’t do this for you today. You have to wait 24 hours…”

To which Chastine responds,
“That’s extremely frustrating… I tell the patients…I trust you as a moral decision-maker, and I’m sorry that the state doesn’t do the same.”

The reality is that Kansas’ 24 hour period of reflection is nothing new. It was passed seventeen years ago. Moreover,  it does not require two onsite clinic visits and, in all likelihood, women don’t make two trips to a Kansas abortionist.

They can call the abortion business, tell them their estimated age of pregnancy, get told via phone or clinic website where to access the state materials, and make one appointment. The fact that pregnant women can stay out of the clinic and contemplate medically accurate materials is to their benefit and to the detriment of the abortion clinic’s bottomline.

A legal Kansas abortion does require the woman to sign a paper that she accessed WRTK info 24 hours before undergoing the abortion. Hopefully, each woman does attentively review the WRTK info (including ultrasound images)—especially those who are young, conflicted about abortion, or being coerced. Past testimony to Kansas legislative committees, as well as letters to the U.S. Supreme Court, have expressed the negative effects upon women who did not recognize the humanity of the unborn until years after experiencing an abortion.

Chastine maintains abortion is a “decision” morally equivalent to delivering a child.
“The people who are having abortions and people who give birth are not different people; they are the same people. And they make both of those decisions with their full moral decision-making capacity and for the same reasons.”

That kind of messaging may impress the SWWC staffers who (we are told) have graduated college with gender or women’s studies degrees. Those viewing everything through a lens of “patriarchal repression” may also agree with Chastine’s opinion that,
“I am very, very terrified of the rollback in access to reproductive healthcare… because the people who suffer from this are the most vulnerable in our society and the most voiceless.”

The rest of us think that the most vulnerable and voiceless are the unborn.

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baby money (2)Yesterday’s national abortion story was the periodic report/complaint about the high legal expenses the state of Kansas has incurred in defending the constitutionality of four pro-life laws.  Under the title, “Kansas Abortion Lawsuits Cost $913K,” AP’s John Hanna writes, “Kansas has paid more than $913,000 to two private law firms that are helping the state defend anti-abortion laws enacted since conservative Republican Gov. Sam Brownback took office, and such expenses appear likely to grow.”

The reality is, that after the U.S. Supreme Court Roe decision legalized abortion, every state law trying to regulate abortion– no matter how carefully crafted– is subject to court challenges.  Of our seven recent pro-life laws, four have been sued. We expect to prevail, but court action moves slowly, sometimes at a snail’s pace.

Lengthy, and even patently ludicrous, legal arguments that our opponents propose in litigation must be answered.

The first recent Kansas pro-life law that went to court was our 2011 law ending coverage for elective abortion as part of standard private health insurance. This was a law that had already been on the books in other states for decades, yet the ACLU and Kansas N.O.W. insisted on filing a challenge. We WON, but with a legal defense cost of $149,000.

Defense expenses Kansas has paid to two outside law firms for three other ongoing pro-life cases include:

  1. $126,000 for two challenges to the 2013 Pro-Life Protections Act;
  2. $386,000 for the Title X budget case with an initial ruling favoring Planned Parenthood, and now under appeal;
  3. $252,000 for defense of the 2011 law establishing minimum abortion clinic safety and sanitary regulations, including a ban on webcam abortions.

Kansas’ 2013 comprehensive Pro-Life Protections Act is in the initial stages of two suits, one brought in federal court by Planned Parenthood and the other in state court by the Center for Women’s Health. Both clinics have so far only gained a temporary block on two minuscule provisions, instead of stopping the entire law. Our state defense attorneys have had to rebut a multitude of claims, including:

  • misrepresentations about how the law was passed,
  • ridiculous assertions about abortion–related topics,
  • opposition to a states’ rights position the U.S. Supreme Court approved 25 years ago, and
  • complaints about informed consent provisions that clinics have already complied with for years!

The Title X case should have been the national abortion story …how Planned Parenthood is propping up two of its financially failing clinics with approximately $400,000 in tax money that it is not properly eligible for!

Explanation?  Planned Parenthood sued the 2011 Kansas budget provision that requires Title X federal family planning money go to full service health facilities that best serve the indigent. District court Judge Thomas Marten ruled in Planned Parenthood’s favor, and –without proper authority– ordered funding of Title X money for their “feeder”clinics in Hays and Wichita that were losing  nearly one quarter million dollars annually.

And while Kansas has waited over a year for an overturning of that ruling from the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals, we are compelled to keep sending non-recoverable money to Planned Parenthood while also keeping lawyers busy battling this ruling.  It is a steep price, but the end result is important for Kansas’ state sovereignty as well as for other states with similar laws.

Then there’s the lawsuit fighting our 2011 clinic regulation bill which, outside the webcam ban, largely imitates the South Carolina version that the U.S. Supreme Court let stand twenty years ago.  The case is creeping along in state court.

That fact that our pro-life Attorney General, Derek Schmidt, pays for the assistance of two private law firms does not “offend good financial stewardship” as complained by Planned Parenthood’s CEO, Peter Brownlie.  Mary Kay Culp, executive director of Kansans for Life observes that, for our opponents to complain about the cost expended on lawsuits they filed, is ridiculous!

It is appreciated that our AG sought highly qualified defense firms.  State AG offices aren’t generally populated by attorneys with abortion expertise—and as our readers know—the rules for abortion seem to be different than for every other field.

States that pass pro-life laws only to have their AG undermine the defense of such laws are truly in a bind. Thankfully, Kansas is not now in that spot, as we were when former Gov. Kathleen Sebelius’ hand-picked, pro-abortion Attorney General Steve Six failed to properly prosecute George Tiller for violating late-term abortion statutes.

When it comes to passing life-protective laws, logic and public support cannot protect them from costly litigation, but the price is worth paying.

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unborn child at 20 to 22 weeks

unborn child at 20-22 weeks

With the rise in the number of states passing legislation that bans aborting unborn children capable of feeling pain, the New York Times this week decided the nation awaits their take with bated breath.

Of course, the majority of the medical sources the Times’ Pam Belluck cites are abortion providers (and their supporters) who dismiss the mounting evidence that by no later than the 20th week, the unborn can feel pain. Among the pain deniers cited is Dr. Nicolas Fisk.

But Belluck conveniently omits Fisk’s own published research in which he concludes,  “Given the anatomical evidence, it is possible that the fetus can feel pain from 20 weeks and is caused distress by interventions from as early as 15 or 16 weeks.” (See here and here)

Belluck does quote the architect of the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, Mary Spaulding Balch, J.D., National Right to Life’s Director of State Legislation. In the context of a discussion of pain medicine that is now routinely given the child during in utero surgery, Balch says,

“If the child who is waiting for surgery can feel pain, the child who is waiting for abortion can also feel pain.”

Also woven into the story are two researchers whose scientific results verify pain capability in the unborn.

One of them, Dr. Kanweeljat Anand, proved in the early 1980s that newborns not only experience pain, but that they were literally dying from it. These results were instrumental in the development of the medical specialty of fetal anesthesia. Belluck also omits Dr. Anand’s assertion in 2007 congressional testimony that “a fetus at 20 to 32 weeks of gestation would experience a much more intense pain than older infants or children or adults.”

The New York Times article also doesn’t mention this pioneer’s role in ending barbaric surgery performed without anesthesia on tiny humans.  Indeed it is only in the second half of the story that Dr. Anand is even introduced.

In large measure he is relegated to enforcing their “takeaway” message (mentioned six times in the article). And that is that “most abortions are performed before the fetus is capable of experiencing pain”–98%–the intent presumably to pacify people who don’t know that the 2% translates into 20,000 pain-feeling unborn babies aborted each year!

But as largely one-sided as the Times article was, it only served to infuriate the pro-abortion Salon magazine. The headline for Katie McDonough’s story is “New York Times legitimizes anti-choice propaganda.”

As their anti-pain source, Salon chose Dr. Anne Davis,  loosely defined as  “a second-trimester abortion provider.” Davis is satisfied that the fetal brain can’t process pain without a developed “cortex” at 28 weeks gestation, but that position is no longer tenable. “In fact, there is substantial medical evidence that in the brain it is the thalamus, rather than the cerebral cortex, that is principally responsible for pain perception,” as you can read here.

In both cases—The Times and Salon.com—the goal is not to give the case for fetal pain a fair hearing but to dismiss the evidence as wishful thinking on the part of zealots. Both are wrong.

KANSAS NOTE: The Kansas Pain-capable Unborn Child Protection Act went into effect July 1, 2011. On June 18, 2013, the federal version of this legislation, H.R. 1797, passed the U.S. House by a vote of 228-196, with support from all four Kansas Congressional reps [Jenkins, Huelskamp, Pompeo, Yoder].

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Father/daughter abortionists Hodes & Nauser

Traci Nauser & Herb Hodes

The Kansas 2013 Pro-Life Protections Act creates pro-life public policies permissible under U.S. Supreme Court abortion rulings, but that hasn’t stopped abortionists Herb Hodes and Traci Nauser from trying to stop it.

Last week, attorneys for the father-daughter abortion team at the Kansas City-suburban Center for Women’s Health asked the district court to throw out the entire law before their lawsuit goes to trial.  They want a ruling on whether the Act contained more than one subject, violating the rule of statutory construction.

AP’s John Hanna reported on the filing and cites several recent (non-abortion) state court cases that show little support for any success by lawsuits claiming Kansas laws violated the “single subject” mandate.  This is not surprising, as the state’s drafting department is well aware of this requirement and is very careful to advise when proposed legislation might need to be segmented into separate bills.

The Pro-Life Protections Act states that it “concerns abortion” and contains a sex-selection abortion ban, abortion-related tax funding limits, and abortion informed consent provisions. Nevertheless, abortion lawyers call it a “hodgepodge” and specifically—and absurdly –claim that two sections have no relation to abortion because they do not actually use the word ‘abortion’ in the provisions.

The sections they criticize are:

  1. Section 2, asserting the state will protect interests of the unborn child and his/her parents (taken verbatim from the 1989 U.S. Supreme Court Webster ruling), and
  2. Section 9, adopting the 2008 Kennedy-Brownback federal bill to provide enhanced counseling for medically challenging prenatal diagnoses.

The abortion filing desperately tries to convince the court that these two sections wander from the abortion subject by describing Section 2 as a “legislative policy statement concerning the legal status of fertilized eggs” and Section 9 as authorizing “the provision of supportive services to parents and prospective parents of children with disabilities.”

Aside from both sections’ logical connection to abortion, Section 2 uses ‘unborn child’ and Section 9 repeatedly uses ‘prenatal’, yet the court is supposed to accept the abortion attorneys’ claim of irrelevance to abortion?

Section 2 is the backbone for the Act, showing that—even under Roe v Wade—the state has the right to defend the unborn in tort law and to set spending priorities for promoting life. Attorneys for the state defending the Act, assert in their filing that Section 9 provides services to parents of disabled children “in order to promote childbirth and carrying an unborn child to term.”

In testimony supporting the Act, Kansans for Life explained Section 9 as answering the need for the health department to assist families confronting disability diagnoses, in the face of ever-escalating prenatal diagnostic tests that encourage the elimination of individuals with challenging conditions. [As an aside, under Obamacare, prenatal testing, but not counseling, is authorized.]

The shock of certain prenatal diagnoses can too often drive a mother to agree to abortion, especially when ObGyn doctors are themselves not well informed about the medical condition and available services.  Providing more immediate access to information about specialized treatments and community support allows a more fully informed decision to be made by families coping with unexpected news. This is obviously an abortion-related provision, although the counseling services extend past delivery.

It is exceedingly frustrating that the abortion industry can waste court time on such shoddy legal claims and we are glad that both the federal and district courts (in two separate suits, see here and here) have not blocked the entire Pro-Life Protections Act.

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After over a year of threats by ex-Tiller political operative, Julie Burkhart, to re-establish a Wichita abortion business, the Wichita Eagle reports that Burkhart’s Trust Women group officially owns the old Tiller clinic building.

The Eagle obtained no definitive information about how Burkhart would be using the building, but Kansans for Life had alerted its members September 12th of credible inside information that a Wichita clinic staffed with three non-Kansas abortionists would indeed be opening in January 2013.

If in fact Burkhart does open a business with itinerant abortionists, women will be in much jeopardy. Out-of-state physicians do not have

  • a stake in the community with family ties,
  • a medical reputation to maintain,
  • a permanent real estate investment.

Abortion clinics are notorious for sending abortion-injured women to the hospital without the necessary first-hand information for accurate emergency treatment– apparently what happened in the Tonya Reaves botched abortion death from a Chicago-area Planned Parenthood this July.

This is the reason that a provision requiring local hospital privileges for itinerant abortionists was passed in 2011 as part of the abortion clinic licensure law.  Unfortunately, this law is under injunction and thus not in effect, so the Eagle report is wrong that at least one of Burkhart’s abortionists would have to attain hospital privileges within 30 miles of the clinic.

An abundance of incidents across this nation have documented a variety of schemes with abortionists crossing state lines to take advantage of differing state laws governing abortion. Without a clinic licensure law in effect, the Kansas state health department cannot inspect, restrain, or penalize clinics.

Additionally, the Healing Arts Board cannot discipline a non-resident abortionist who drops his/her license and leaves Kansas.  Even if malpractice has occurred, the Board cannot chase abortionists into other states and force them to return to testify in Kansas, nor can the Board compel information from other state medical boards.  And certainly, personal lawsuits for injury and death on behalf of a woman or her family cannot be filed in other states.

If the information Kansans for Life received is true, the abortionists for the slated new clinic are residents of Missouri, Oklahoma and Nebraska. Nebraska abortionist LeRoy Carhart, a longtime Tiller-associate, still possesses a Kansas license.

Two other former itinerant Tiller abortionists, Shelly Sella and Susan Robinson, did not renew their Kansas medical licenses after Tiller’s murder.  Although this past year, Kansas State Board of Healing Arts did revoke the medical license of Tiller associate, Kris Neuhaus, for repeatedly violating the medical standard of care, they took no actions to discipline Carhart, Sella and Robinson for fraudulent late-term abortions.

Kansans for Life Executive Director, Mary Kay Culp, commented:

“It is tragic Burkhart appears poised to re-engage in destroying unborn children and exploiting women for money, again using out-of-state abortionists who can escape discipline from the Kansas Board of Healing Arts, and not yet subject to our new licensure law due to litigation; Burkhart knows that illegal abortions in Wichita were not penalized, and more recently, Planned Parenthood escaped prosecution when state documents were shredded with impunity–a situation that key legislators are currently investigating.”

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Provocative sound bites like “the war on women” can too often penetrate the short-lived attention of those more interested in social media than politics. That’s why inflammatory phrases are the bread and butter for abortion supporters bereft of any convincing defense for destroying unborn children.

It generally takes our side more than a few minutes, for example, to explain how abortion businesses do not adhere to the same ethical and procedural standards as other medical fields, and how aborted women and their families haven’t filed enough malpractice suits to change that.  It’s just so much easier for pro-abortionists to avoid true rebuttal and instead label reasonable state oversight laws as selective entrapment motivated by mean people.

And on the topic of mean, Kari Rinker, the Kansas spokeswoman for the National Organization for Women (NOW) recently labeled state legislators as “our elected oppressors”(!!) after months of her maligning a Wichita minister/ legislator as unsympathetic to rape victims. It’s easier for her to call the media for a press conference to say rape is not equivalent to changing a tire (no duh) than to explain her position that children conceived by rape deserve the death penalty their fathers will never be subject to.  Or why ordinary citizens must pay for those executions and every other elective abortion.

Now that the legislature has opened session here in Kansas, as across the nation, the mainstream media is looking for ways to fill space about abortion without going undercover and doing true investigative reporting. Most of them, have run stories like this, written from the pro-abortion perspective about ‘troubling legislative trends.’  The correct facts are found in this story in NRLC news.

The media would like to reduce all topics to a few pro-and-con sound bites, but that is a disservice to the gravity of moral issues, especially abortion. The explanation for pro-life laws may exceed a sound bite, but the babies, and our nation, deserve the time.

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In an unprecedented move, the federal Health & Human Services director, Kathleen Sebelius, overruled a decision by the Food and Drug Administration to make Plan B (also called morning-after pills or emergency contraception) available without a prescription.

Since 2009, women younger than age 17 have needed a doctor’s prescription for Plan B, and Sebelius said  it should stay that way.

Sebelius said the pharmacy industry had NOT provided evidence that girls as young as 11 “can understand the label and use the product appropriately”.

Pro-lifers– thankful for any small victory in the culture war– nonetheless scratched their collective heads trying to discern Sebelius’ motives. Some opined she was throwing a bone to religious conservatives riled up at the continuing onslaught of hostile actions by the Obama administration.  To name just two of these actions:

  1. awarding preferential grants to unqualified, but abortion-supportive, groups to rescue & assist sex abuse victims;
  2. issuing contraceptive mandates for insurance plans without meaningful conscience exemptions.

As one well-known pro-abortion blogger noted, “ this victory for women’s health [was] snatched away at the last minute by Sebelius, sending shocks of confusion and betrayal through the pro-choice community, who always thought of Sebelius as a member in good standing.” (That’s an understatement.)

Planned Parenthood was curiously late (Thursday evening) in issuing a complaining letter to Sebelius, perhaps indicating (more…)

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Judges’ rulings do not blossom after carefully evaluating competing legal briefs; most judges know at the outset where they want to end up and then carefully select the legal stepping stones to get there.

This happened in the Aug 1st ruling in which Kansas district Judge Thomas Marten dismissed the state’s constitutional budget authority and used “injunctive relief” to send one third million dollars in family planning tax money to Planned Parenthood of Kansas Mid-Missouri.

Kansas’ new law prioritizing family planning contracts is– on the legal merits– the strongest of state battles with Planned Parenthood funding.

Since Planned Parenthood attorneys can’t win that argument, they necessarily spun their lawsuit as a free speech issue in which a ‘newly-elected radical-right wing government wages a war on women.’

Judge Marten warmed to that theme and issued a temporary injunction against a budget proviso — with language that never mentions abortion or Planned Parenthood– because Marten determined that its true “purpose was to punish Planned Parenthood for its advocacy of abortion rights.”

To support the ruling, an Associated Press piece Sunday (more…)

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An unhappy White House called Kansas’ U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran’s office Thursday, in response to his public statement opposing confirmation of former Kansas AG Steve Six to the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Apparently, the Obama administration wanted Moran to change his mind, but a top staffer said he will not, according to info from the pro-life Kansas Republican Assembly.

High court nominees must get Senate confirmation, following recommendation from the Judiciary committee, which has 10 Democrats-to-8 GOP members.

It’s bad news when the nominee’s home state senators won’t support him– which explains the sudden one-week delay on the vote for Six.

Frequently, opposition from home state lawmakers is enough to sink a nomination and such nominees eventually withdraw, have their nomination pulled by the presidential administration or find themselves the subject of a filibuster.(read more here)

Both U.S. Senators (more…)

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This is a tender, short video. It is particularly searing, because– without showing any torn bodies– it poignantly focuses on how tiny lives are discarded.

As more states adopt stronger legal protection for innocent, precious unborn babies, the mainstream media focuses only on a cynical tally of of legislative ‘victories’ in a ‘war on women.’

Guttmacher pro-abortion analysts are quoted ad nauseum about hundreds of “tightened restrictions” …”more in one year that we have ever seen.”

It defies credulity that these pro-life laws are all about political calculation and have no beneficial results.  Yet can anyone find even ONE story– or newspaper editorial– that finds ANY merit in these pro-life measures? (more…)

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