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plannedparenthood7As reported last Friday, Planned Parenthood of Kansas & Mid Missouri dropped the last of a three-part legal challenge to informed consent provisions of the 2013 Pro-life Protections Act. The Kansas Attorney General’s office issued a short statement today confirming the lawsuit had been dismissed.

In the “late Friday news dump”—the traditional method for circumventing news coverage of yet another failed abortion challenge—the first takeaway was that  there’d been a settlement.

After the news cycle was mostly finished on Friday, the Associated Press updated an earlier story to include that Elise Higgins, PPKMM spokeswoman, had said, “We voluntarily dismissed the case, and there was no settlement.” In addition, Laura McQuade, PPKMM president & CEO, stated, “We made the decision to focus our resources on expanding access to care for our patients in 2015.”

This famous “refocus our resources” line conveniently glosses over the truth that PPKMM was in the losing legal position and knew it.

Let’s remind ourselves of PPKMM’s typical bluster when they filed suit. Their June 20, 2013 press release huffed and puffed with outrage. The headline read, “Planned Parenthood Challenges Requirement that it Publicly Endorse State’s Anti-Abortion Ideology” and here were some talking points:

  • “Overreaching Law Undermines Doctor-Patient Relationship, Threatens Freedom of Speech for All Kansans”
  • “Governor [Sam] Brownback’s attempt to again inject politics into the relationship between a woman and her doctor will not stand.”
  • “vital state services are being slashed…while $759,000 [thus far] in taxpayer money [is spent to] defend anti-abortion bills”

Seems pretty extreme, if they could be believed. But what was the actual law they opposed?

Basically, it was an update to informational materials that Kansas enacted in 1997, following the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1992 Casey ruling recognizing the state’s right to provide “objective, nonjudgmental, and scientifically accurate” information to women considering an abortion. PPKMM’s suit was brought on three objections:

  1. the section of state pre-abortion materials that reads,”the abortion will terminate the life of a whole, separate, unique, living human being,”
  2. the section of state pre-abortion materials that includes a short paragraph about the unborn child’s pain-capability at 22 weeks gestation, and
  3. the requirement that a live link to pre-natal sonography (part of the state’s informed consent website) be positioned on the homepage of the clinic website.

The first two objections were quickly dropped within weeks, as they had been part of state materials in use for several years by all Kansas abortion clinics.

PPKMM’s resistance to placing a state weblink on their homepage, however, continued for well over another year, until the Friday before the big hearing was scheduled.

So why not battle it out in court? I think they knew they’d lose, and a court win [for the state] would have serious ramifications, i.e., it would propel similar pro-life protective laws in other states.

The fact is that case law upholds the right of government to regulate commerce. In the interest of consumer protection, the government already mandates warnings on toys, cigarette packs and takeoff instructions for airplane passengers. The list goes on. The required abortion clinic link for at issue is commercial regulation, not interference with free speech.

Planned Parenthood is a business. PPKMM admitted its primary business is abortion. The state of Kansas’ legal brief argued that the required link was “sensible commercial-disclosure requirements” aimed at “ensuring a decision that is mature and informed.”

Crucially, the state demolished PPKMM’s key defense — that they ALREADY had the link elsewhere on the website and that (horrors!) non-abortion clients would see the link if it were on the website home page. In response the state wrote:

“Links…that are planted deeper in the company’s website either will be missed or only will be seen by women once they have committed to going forward with the abortion procedure.
The homepage requirement aims to have the materials available while a woman is considering the question, “What should I do?”—not merely,“What do I need to bring to my abortion appointment?”

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A.G.Schmidt

A.G. Schmidt

Great news! Planned Parenthood of Kansas & Mid-Missouri has withdrawn its challenge in federal court to a Kansas law requiring that its website homepage contain a live link to the Kansas Health Department “informed consent” information.

This concession happened at the eleventh hour, as a hearing was scheduled Monday in the court of Judge Kathryn Vratil. PPKMM technically has until Monday to refile, which is extremely unlikely.

PPKMM had refused to comply with the weblink law even after all other Kansas abortion clinics had complied and despite the fact that a separate challenge from the Hodes & Nauser abortion clinic collapsed in state district court this spring.

This is the fourth win for the legal team under Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt in defending sound pro-life laws promoted by Kansans for Life.

Kansas has required abortion clinics to provide access to state materials on prenatal development, abortion information and assistance for unplanned pregnancies since 1997. The required weblink at issue 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 accessed here[womansrighttoknow.org].

The state’s defense was rock solid against PPKMM’s argument that the weblink was:

  1. a free speech infringement of PPKMM’s preferred narrative about pregnancy, and
  2. it didn’t belong on the homepage where other non-abortion clients might see it.

The state rebutted that the required link was a form of consumer protection and that the state had a right to alert women before they committed to abortion. From the state’s most recent filing (emphasis added):

“In the 1980s and 1990s, public access to the Internet was extremely limited. Few businesses or public institutions had websites. …In the face of these changes in technology and access, and in order to more effectively reach women as they are contemplating the weighty decision of whether to undergo an abortion, the Kansas Legislature enacted a law in 2013…that when a company is in the business of performing abortions and that company maintains a website, it must include a link on its homepage.”

More on Monday!

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Huelskamp

Huelskamp

Jenkins

Jenkins

Yoder

Yoder

Kansas pro-lifers no doubt truly relished this Thanksgiving holiday after the unusually hard-fought election season. Kansas strengthened and increased its pro-life representation. No Kansas candidates supported by Planned Parenthood’s political action group won any federal or state-wide offices and all of those offices are held by pro-lifers. Returning to Congress to battle abortion and health-care rationing in Obamacare are pro-life Republicans Tim Huelskamp (#1), Lynn Jenkins (#2), Kevin Yoder (#3), and Mike Pompeo (#4).

Pompeo

Pompeo

Roberts

Roberts

The nation was especially focused on the U.S. Senate race, where incumbent pro-life leader Pat Roberts surprised the pundits with a come-from-behind 10-point win over upstart multi-millionaire “independent” Greg Orman. In debate, Orman said we need to “get past” the abortion issue and apparently Kansans don’t respond well to that sentiment!

Schmidt

Schmidt

Kobach

Kobach

Estes

Estes

Selzer

Selzer

All state-wide office holders are also pro-life Republicans. Attorney General Derek Schmidt, Secretary of State Kris Kobach, and Treasurer Ron Estes were returned to office handily. After winning the primary among 4 pro-life candidates, political newcomer Ken Selzer won the general election race for Insurance Commissioner.

Brownback & Colyer

Brownback & Colyer

In the governor’s race, the largest factor at play was the attempt of pro-abortion Republican politicians to take down the pro-life Brownback administration. Some national commentators seemed surprised that a group of ex-GOP politicians publicly supported Democrat challenger, Paul Davis, but we weren’t. Nearly all of these “republicans for Davis” claiming to be “traditional” and to espouse “Kansas values” were pro-abortion.

Authentic Kansans wouldn’t support, as Governor, a politician like Davis who had voted EIGHTY times against pro-life measures as a state rep! Though pollsters largely predicted the incumbents would lose,  the Sam Brownback / Jeff Colyer team pulled off a sweet victory, beating the Paul Davis / Jill Docking challengers by 4 points.

HOUSE ADDS PRO-LIFERS
The Kansas Senate was not up for re-election and the Kansas House strengthened its pro-life super majority. The GOP holds 97 seats, of which 91 (94%) are pro-life. Democrats have 28 seats and only 3 (11%) are pro-life.

In the general election, 49 House reps faced no challenger.  KFL-backed candidates won 94 of 125 House rep races, including 3 races with a vote difference under 60.

Planned Parenthood’s candidates lost 25 Kansas House races, including three incumbents.

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Kansans are facing a a pivotal choice for the U.S. Senate: incumbent pro-life GOP Senator Pat Roberts versus pro-abortion multimillionaire Greg Orman.

Orman was unknown to Kansans before he bought over a million dollars in TV ads this summer denigrating Washington’s “gridlock” politics, and offering to end it. Orman portrays himself as an “outsider”–an “Independent” candidate– even though more than 90% of his sizable past political donations have gone to Democrats.

Orman is quite the stealth candidate, except to the abortion industry. They know exactly who he is. Back to that in a moment.

Sen. Roberts released a great new radio ad yesterday, with a crystal clear message that cuts right to the heart of the differences between himself and Orman:

“The right to life is the most fundamental right we have.
From conception to natural death, the life of every Kansan, every American, every human should be honored and protected.
That’s why we need to keep Pat Roberts in the Senate.
Pat Roberts has a 100% pro-life voting record.
Endorsed by both National Right to Life and Kansans for Life, Pat has been a key supporter of every major pro-life initiative in Senate.
Pat opposes abortion on demand and federal funding of abortion.
If you care about life, Pat Roberts is the only choice.

Pat’s opponent, liberal Greg Orman, doesn’t share our values.
Greg Orman is pro-abortion.
Greg Orman would give President Obama another pro-abortion vote in the Senate.
We can’t let that happen.
Orman says we have to move past this issue.
Pat Roberts, on the other hand, will never stop fighting for life.
Protect life, Pat Roberts for Senate.”

Back to Greg Orman. He has never held public office, lacks any record of public service, and has generally avoided taking specific positions on the major issues.

But in a recent debate with Sen. Roberts, Orman described himself as “pro-choice.” He said he “trusts women” and the public should “get past” the abortion issue.

Surprise, surprise. All three Kansas abortion businesses are supporting him!

  • The Overland Park abortion clinic of Hodes & Nauser (father-daughter abortionists who have sued Kansas’ pro-life laws) have Orman signs in the windows.
  • Last Saturday Planned Parenthood of Kansas & Mid-Missouri held a joint rally in support of Orman and other Kansas pro-abortion Democrat women candidates (Orman’s wife was advertised as being there on his behalf).
  • A letter praising Orman’s candidacy was published in the Wichita Eagle, written by Julie Burkhart, who has opened an abortion business (manned by “circuit-rider” abortionists) at the location of the late George Tiller’s infamous abortion clinic.

The choice for Kansans is clear: Pat Roberts, who has pledged, “never to stop fighting for life.”

 

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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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no PPIn a not unexpected move, Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri announced today it plans to close its financially failing Hays facility that no longer qualifies for family planning funds distributed by the Kansas health department.

PPKMM lost a crucial legal fight in March when the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals overturned a 2011 lower court ruling.

The trial judge’s decision had forced the Kansas Department of Health and Environment

to direct approximately one million dollars over the past three years, mainly to Planned Parenthood of Kansas & Mid-Missouri.

On May 9, PPKMM announced they would not pursue any more appeals.

The 2009 Kinzer-Huelskamp budget amendment directed the state health department to award Title X money to full-service medical clinics and hospitals best serving the indigent. That prioritization was approved consistently  by the Kansas legislature but vetoed by former Governors Sebelius and Parkinson. However, it has been approved in every budget under current Gov. Sam Brownback.

While PPKMM’s Hays and Wichita “feeder” clinics did not perform abortions, they referred for them. Apparently that was enough of a reason to keep their doors open when they were seriously in the red—combined over $225,000 each year—even when they were receiving over $300,000 in Title X funding.

LEGAL BACKGROUND

PPKMM sued, and won mandatory funding from 2011-2014, ordered by Wichita federal judge Thomas Marten in a 36-page decision handed down in August 2011.

Judge Marten’s opinion could have been lifted from one of the briefs filed by Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri. He accepted without quibble Planned Parenthood’s argument that (in his words) “The purpose of the statute was to single out, punish and exclude Planned Parenthood.”

Various state officials “hotly contested” Marten’s decision, as the Kansas City Star wrote at the time, and responded vigorously.

Dr. Robert Moser, who was  sued in his capacity as Secretary for Kansas Department of Health and Environment, said,

Title X was not intended to be an entitlement program for Planned Parenthood. Other providers are already offering a fuller spectrum of health care for Kansas patients. This highly unusual ruling implies a private organization has a right to taxpayer subsidy. The people of Kansas disagree.”

Added Attorney General Derek Schmidt in a prepared statement, “It appears that the Court declared a duly-enacted Kansas statute unconstitutional without engaging in the fact-finding one would expect before reaching such a conclusion,”

The Tenth Circuit Court of appeals overturned Judge Marten in March, ruling that PPKMM lacked standing to pursue its claims in federal court, and that its claim of a First Amendment violation lacked merit–about as resounding a defeat as you could get.

Mary Kay Culp, executive director for Kansans for Life, said, “we applaud that Kansas budget decisions are no longer being forced to prop up a for-profit abortion business.

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PPKMM logo (2)Planned Parenthood of Kansas & Mid-Missouri is the only one of Kansas’ four abortion clinics not in compliance with a state weblink requirement that went into effect April 24.

PPKMM had unsuccessfully sued last year to block a nearly identical abortion informed consent provision.

The 2013 Pro-Life Protections Act had required Kansas abortion business to place –on their website homepage– a one-click link to materials prepared by the Kansas Health Department identified as “objective, nonjudgmental, scientifically accurate.”

Effective April 24, a new law, Senate Bill 54, continues the weblink mandate but trimmed the four word identifier from the tagline. The required tagline now 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.www.womansrighttoknow.org

Eleven months ago, PPKMM filed suit in the court of federal Judge Kathyrn Vratil. They maintained that the requirement for a live link with tagline was “compelled speech” that violated the First Amendment and asked for an injunction.

Judge Vratil did not issue the injunction, noting the weblink had been already enjoined in state court for another abortion business, the Center for Women’s Health. Vratil ordered that she be apprised of any action involving the state injunction.

However that state court injunction was officially dissolved last Friday, and PPKMM knew it was in the works with the signing of Senate Bill 54 last month.

PPKMM should have been prepared to comply or petition for a new injunction—and they have done neither, as of press time today, Wednesday. Their website is here.

Attorneys for the Kansas Attorney General had defended the weblink as a regulation of commercial speech, which courts require to be proportionate to the state interests it advances. The “free speech” of the abortionist is still allowed free reign to critique, or even mock the link, which two did.

Here are two current examples of abortionist-added editorial content that immediately precede the weblink tagline.

The Aid for Women clinic—notorious for its churlish postings on their abortion clinic website, prefaces the weblink with this:

We are being forced by Republicans to use our website resources to say untruthful things about the State’s proLife website in hopes that you will visit their website and change your mind away from abortion. We must have this signage or go to jail. Republicans also don’t believe that rape causes pregnancy, nor ever too many children. They are stupid. Let’s vote them out of office. However, here goes..

The Center for Women’s Health in Overland Park prefaces the weblink with this:

WE ARE REQUIRED BY THE STATE OF KANSAS TO SAY THIS, WHICH DOES NOT NECESSARILY REFLECT CURRENT MEDICAL OPINION; OR, OUR OPINION:

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