Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Planned Parenthood’ Category

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.

Read Full Post »

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.

Read Full Post »

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:

Read Full Post »

Kansas wants PP defundedOn May 9th, Planned Parenthood of Kansas & Mid-Missouri (PPKMM) withdrew its litigation against the state of Kansas, challenging the state’s decision to send federal family planning funds to public full-service clinics.

This lawsuit was originally filed in June 2011 by PPKMM and landed in the court of U.S. District Judge Thomas Marten. It targeted a budget mandate that directs the state health department to award Federal Title X family planning contracts primarily to full service public health clinics. In this way, tax money subsidizes full-service healthcare for the indigent.

PPKMM won the first round in October 2011, but lost in the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals this March. 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– about as resounding a defeat as you could get.

The defense team for the Kansas Attorney General, Derek Schmidt, argued Kansas had merely prioritized Title X recipients to be full-service in order to best effectuate the HHS Notice of Grant Award to Kansas. That itemized the priorities of Title X beyond family planning to include “overall health,” flu vaccinations, and mental health and social services.  PPKMM doesn’t offer those services.

Kansas has approximately 80 public health clinics as well as many other full service health outlets that can provide the elementary examinations, contraceptives and disease testing typically reimbursed under Title X.

Since 2009, the Kansas legislature has annually approved this prioritization of public clinics—the Kinzer/ Huelskamp amendment drafted by KFL; it had been vetoed by Governors Sebelius and Parkinson but approved in every budget under current Gov. Sam Brownback.

The Kansas budget provision on Title X does not mention abortion. Nonetheless, PPKMM objected that KDHE (the state health department) could not exclude abortion-connected clinics from Title X grants.

Marten bought into this abortion-bias argument and erroneously forced KDHE to direct approximately one million dollars over the past three years, mainly to Planned Parenthood of Kansas & Mid-Missouri. A small portion of that funding went to the now-defunct Dodge City Family Planning Clinic, which Marten had added to the initial complainants.

Kansas has again successfully defeated litigation from abortion interests—our second win, with 2 laws still under challenge.

Read Full Post »

up down arrows (2)Abortions decreased by 1.6% last year, according to the annual preliminary report from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) released last week (see here). This figure includes all abortions within state boundaries as well as abortions obtained in other states by Kansas women and teens.

Kansas’ estimated 2013 abortion total is 7,479, compared with the adjusted final total of 7,598 in 2012, which is a slowing of the 5.6% rate decrease in 2012. But in whole numbers, this year’s total of Kansas resident abortions is approaching a historic low milestone–the 3,709 total of Kansas resident abortions reported in 1971. (Update April 2: typo corrected to read 3,709)

Unfortunately, Kansas is zooming ahead from a 30.1% ratio in 2012 of

abortions “by pill” (using Mifepristone, also called RU-486) to a whopping 38.8%

in 2013! This far outstrips the 2011 national RU-486 average of 22.2 % reported by the abortion-supporting Guttmacher Institute.

As has been the case for the last 5 years, half of Kansas abortions were obtained by non-residents, 3,722 in 2013, of whom 3,611 hailed from Missouri. This is very likely due to the fact that there is a Planned Parenthood situated just over the Kansas-Missouri state line in Kansas City, on the Kansas side. By contrast, only 147 Kansas females obtained abortions outside their home state last year.

In 2013, Kansas lost 3,757 unborn Kansans to abortion, a slight decrease from the 3,802 in 2012. However, that number is subject to change, as other states are later than Kansas in issuing annual notices of abortions obtained by nonresidents, and the Kansas total may yet rise a bit.

The KDHE report shows some sad statistics similar to nation-wide patterns:

  • 89% of these abortions were done before 12 weeks gestation;
  • 86.5% of these women were unmarried;
  • 60% of these women had one or more living children;
  • 36% of these women had one or more prior abortions.

Kansas bans abortions from 22 weeks gestation onward, due to enactment of the Pain-capable Unborn child Protection Act in 2011. The only legal exceptions for such abortions are to prevent either the death of the mother or substantial and irreversible physical threats to her health. In 2013, two post-22 week abortions were reported in Kansas, and two obtained in other states by Kansas women.

Read Full Post »

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.

Read Full Post »

comp health PP (2)Last week we noted Kansas pro-life laws being taken to court without good reason, however it is encouraging that the federal lawsuit filed by Comprehensive Health/Planned Parenthood of Kansas & Mid-Missouri is moving relatively quickly.

The lawsuit focuses on Kansas’ 2013 Pro-Life Protections Act, specifically the “first-in-the-nation” requirement that the link to the state “Woman’s Right to Know” abortion information website be positioned on a clinic’s home page with this description:

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment maintains a website containing objective, nonjudgmental, scientifically accurate 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.

As background, women obtaining Kansas abortions since 1997 have been required to sign certification forms for their medical file that they “accessed” these WRTK materials 24 hours prior to abortion. The right to supply state-issued abortion information was upheld in the 1992 Casey ruling, in which the U.S. Supreme Court said the state has a role in ensuring abortion-seeking women are well informed.

Abortionists oppose WRTK information, as it not only indicates the clinics lack candor on full informed consent, but also can reveal alternative solutions to abortion. And, in fact, Kansas annual stats show hundreds of women do not have abortions after getting this info (see KFL post here).

In August, Planned Parenthood stipulated on record all their abortion clients are receiving the printed version of these WRTK materials.  Furthermore, all Kansas abortion clinics, including Planned Parenthood, voluntarily placed a link to the state website somewhere on their websites after the WRTK materials became accessible in that manner.

So, since Planned Parenthood affirms it distributes the printed WRTK materials (even while objecting to the content) and links to the state WRTK website, why do they oppose the weblink being positioned on their homepage?

They argue that such prominent positioning with an “accuracy” tagline gives the appearance they endorse the WRTK materials. They are particularly offended by WRTK facts about the pain capability of the unborn child and the statement that “abortion terminates the life of a whole, separate, unique, living human being.”

The State of Kansas has supplied strong rebuttal filings in defense of this lawsuit. They argue that the WRTK weblink does not interfere with any First Amendment speech rights as the abortionist is not prohibited from voicing or publishing opinions in disagreement with the Kansas information, as one clinic has notoriously done for years (see KFL post here).

Rather, defense attorneys say this WRTK weblink with accuracy description is permissible state regulation of abortion commerce. After all, Kansas Planned Parenthood is a business; the “Who we are” section of their website reads: “Our primary service is providing abortion services from 4 to 22 weeks gestation.” And at a profit.

Americans experience the effect of government regulation of business every day, to name a few:

  • ads for pharmaceutical products must disclose the drugs’ side effects;
  • nutritional supplement labels contain disclaimers that their claimed benefits have not been verified by the FDA;
  • cigarette packages contain cancer warnings.

Abortionists may bristle at government consumer protection actions, but,“The well-being of people who may be unsophisticated in health care matters is a compelling interest of the state” under Kansas case law (Bolton, 1979).

Kansas defense attorneys point to four other rulings since Casey [Lakey (TX 2012), Rounds II (MN, ND,SD 2008), Summit (AL 2003), Eubanks (KY 2000)] where courts denied abortionists’ claim that state informed consent regulation violated their free speech.

Both Planned Parenthood and the state of Kansas have filed formal requests that federal Judge Kathryn Vratil rule without a trial– as a matter of judging on the law—whether the weblink is permissible.  We believe Kansas will prevail.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 39 other followers