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Archive for the ‘Pro-life laws in other states’ Category

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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unborn feel pain (2)Kansas and nine other states have passed abortion bans recognizing the unborn child as a pain-capable human being at 20 weeks post-fertilization, which is the same as being dated 22 weeks from woman’s last menstrual period, or LMP.

In 2012, Arizona passed a “hybrid” abortion law that included the fetal pain issue but would affect pregnancies 2 weeks earlier than all other similar “pain” bans. It was immediately sued, upheld in state district court and struck down by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals (which does not govern Kansas). Today, the U.S. Supreme Court has declined the appeal to review the Ninth circuit’s decision.

Medical science now recognizes that the unborn child at 20 weeks post-fertilization possesses all the physiological structures needed for pain perception.

The National Right to Life Committee (NRLC) created the pain-capable model legislation with hope the U.S. Supreme Court would review such a law, focusing specifically on scientific data about pain which has never been presented to them in an abortion case.  This data includes studies outside the abortion arena verifying that the thalamus, not the cortex, is needed for humans to perceive pain. [Read documentation at doctorsonfetalpain.com about the issue.]

Some quick analysis of today’s decision:

1) The U.S. Supreme Court continues to resist taking abortion cases. This is the second abortion case deferred this term– the earlier Court decision avoided a chemical abortion law from Oklahoma.   The Court is only pressured into taking on an issue when there are conflicting appellate decisions. Only one circuit has ruled on pain-related abortion bans, the (notoriously overturned) Ninth circuit.

2) The U.S. Supreme Court did not outright rule against the constitutionality of abortion bans for pain-feeling unborn children. But because the Court does not explain why they decline cases,  we are left to wonder exactly why the Court declined to examine Arizona’s law. It may well be that the bill at their doorstep had too many dimensions: not only did Arizona conjoin a second issue of late-term abortion safety with the issue of  pain to unborn babies–it also lowered the pregnancy date two weeks below where there is currently the most medical evidence for pain capability.

3) Abortion forces will certainly try to wave today’s action as a warning against states contemplating enacting pain-capable legislation. However, we still believe a “clean” law sticking to 20 weeks post-conception/22 weeks LMP is totally defensible. The U.S. Supreme Court’s 2007 abortion ruling(Gonzales), affirmed that states have compelling interests for enacting abortion regulations, and declined to list those interests. The Gonzales ruling said states may pass protective legislation based on science even when “medical consensus” on that data was lacking.

We regret that the U.S. Supreme Court has skirted examination of the issue of fetal pain, and left abortion interests encouraged by today’s action.

See further information from NRLC here.

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baby finger hand (2)Andrea Grimes, writing at RH reality check, a pro-abortion blog, has issued a clarion call to forestall a Texas proposal that would require three hours of adoption counseling prior to any abortion. Her plan? Undermine pro-lifers’ “hold” on the issue by “exposing” adoption as a corrupt, woman-coercing, money-making cartel!

But to come up with such a counter-factual, counter-intuitive slur, Grimes must set up several egregiously false claims:

  • that adoption “is not an alternative to abortion, but rather an alternative to parenting”; and
  • that adoption victimizes both the mother and child.

The first premise is artificial—that “pregnant people” [her absurd term] are either pro-death or pro-life, and, if the latter, are deciding between parenting and adoption. But those struggling with a ‘problematic’ pregnancy are not so easily pegged, and can change course after reflection. Grimes gives no source for the “research” she claims that women open to adoption “never considered abortion as a viable option.”

Then Grimes asserts that the proposal for pre-abortion adoption counseling ”would serve predominantly to detain, and perhaps shame, pregnant people who are already in a time crunch.” But far from ‘shaming’ women, the great majority of women facing unanticipated or ‘problematic’ pregnancies would be empowered by facts, such as accurate information about support systems, maternity homes, and adoption options.

Grimes announces that adoption leaves parents and adoptees with “complicated and mixed emotions about their experience…[and] not unilaterally the joyful exploration of loving kindness.. heroism and bravery.” Well, no duh.

She maliciously paints adoption facilitators and supporters as suppressing or denying such totally expected after-effects. Why? You guessed it–for the greater goal of profit and/or religious ideology.

This is untrue and unfair, but not unsurprising given that Grimes’ target audience of “reproductive justice” advocates frame all issues as battles against patriarchy, capitalism, and Christian fanaticism.

The heart of Grimes’ call-to-action is this very self-satisfying pronouncement:

“[A]ccusations leveled at the so-called abortion industry by anti-choice reproductive rights opponents—specifically, that coercive ‘abortionists’ are solely interested in creating and maintaining demand for their services for the singular purpose of making money off hoodwinked and/or ignorant clientele—could be aptly applied to the largely unregulated domestic and international adoption industry.“

Whereas the self-serving, coercive claims against abortion are true, Grimes’ allegations of a coercive adoption cartel remain just that—allegations without actual cases cited. And the tactic is stated—to attack pro-lifers by associating us with adoption agencies which she has demonized.

Let’s not forget that adoption is not a “political weapon” for pro-lifers. It is a practical remedy for the situation of a child not born into a welcoming family who will otherwise be killed by abortion.

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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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abortion not health care (2) The Associated Press reported late Friday that the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) has withdrawn their failing lawsuit against a 2011 Kansas law which bars private health care insurance from covering elective abortions. The ACLU cannot file these claims again or appeal the earlier court rulings.

Under the law– like the court-approved law operating in Missouri and (de facto) in eastern Kansas for over two decades– abortions other than to save the mother’s life would not be covered unless individuals had separately  purchased “riders”. The law was sought as a “conscience” protection by

  1. employers who did not want to be forced to offer policies with abortion coverage, and
  2. employees who objected to having their health care dollars pooled into plans that paid out for abortions.

The plaintiffs were women (primarily two former Kansas abortion lobbyists) claiming they lost their abortion coverage under the new law and that it showed gender discrimination.  It was rough going for the ACLU side from the start: they did not merit an injunction, a variety of their legal claims were advanced and then scrapped, and they were told more than once that their claims “lacked evidence.”

On Jan. 7, 2013, federal Judge Julie Robinson soundly rejected the ACLU motion for a bench ruling instead of a trial, responding that, as a matter of law, the ACLU failed to provide any evidence that the Legislature’s predominant motivation in passing the law was to make it more difficult to get abortions.

Judge Robinson wrote, “Whether one agrees or disagrees with [the State's] asserted cost and/or “freedom of conscience” rationale, there is nothing in the record to show that this was not the legislature’s purpose in adopting the law. Moreover, the claimed interests are rational ones.”

Abortion supporters –who sued three of Kansas’ 2011 pro-life measures– are fond of complaining that too much money has been spent by the state on defense litigation. They argue that these pro-life laws were only sued because they are “wrong,” but in this case, the court has recognized that it was the ACLU wasting taxpayer money.

Abortion is always the taking of an innocent human life; and the upholding of  this law, which stops society from “normalizing” and mainstreaming abortion as health care, is a victory.

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BleedingKansas (2)“Bleeding Kansas” was the moniker for our state during the mid-nineteenth century when guerrilla warfare raged between forces for and against slavery, until Kansas was accepted into the Union as a slave-free state in 1861.  That disposition not to yield to evil is seen in the Wichita community’s reaction to the announced opening of a new abortion clinic at the location of the infamous late-term clinic of George Tiller.

Since the death of Tiller in May 2009, a national push to re-open his abortion clinic has been led by the abortion advocacy group, Trust Women, headed by Julie Burkhart.  Burkhart was a Tiller employee who ran his PAC (political action committee) from 2002-2009.

Yesterday, the Associated Press covered Burkhart’s announcement that the South Wind Women’s Center (SWWC) is “expected to open in the next few months with one full-time and two part-time doctors amid heightened security and community outreach efforts.”  SWWC “will offer prenatal, obstetrical and gynecological health care services as well as abortions” and “has contracted with the doctors and has hired most of the other nine or ten people it plans to employ.”

Interestingly, no physician names were divulged, nor whether they are state-licensed, or reside in Kansas.

Kansas abortion clinics are either local physician offices or single-day surgery centers licensed by the state health department (KDHE).  A public records request last week showed no official clinic application is yet on file with KDHE for the SWWC location, possibly because the names of the facility’s physicians would have to be revealed.

The AP report indicated remodeling is scheduled for the clinic to meet the abortion facility standards Kansas passed in 2011. Those licensing and inspection standards –similar to what other states have passed–were long sought by Kansas pro-lifers and were signed into law in the first term of Gov. Sam Brownback.  However, the standards are not in force due to litigation by another abortion clinic in suburban Kansas City.

In a “virtual chat” online at the Trust Women website this fall, SWWC services were touted as medical (pill) abortions, and fertility and transgender services. Burkhart continues to try to erase this community’s memory of the Tiller location as the home of an actual onsite crematorium for unborn children destroyed up through the third trimester.

Kansans for Life (KFL) contends that reopening the place as an abortion clinic would disturb what has become a quiet, residential area.  The KFL citizen petition drive–urging city officials to rezone the area– is well on its way to exceeding the goal of securing 20,000 signatures. “As Wichitans we know that when an abortion clinic opens in a neighborhood everything changes,” said David Gittrich, KFL development director. “Abortions means taxis and traffic, police cars and ambulances, barricades and signs. People who support abortion – and people who believe every abortion kills an innocent baby – come to demonstrate.”

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judge julie robinson

Judge Robinson

It’s not news that a lawsuit weighing the validity of the Kansas pro-life insurance law has been headed for trial in March 2013, but new filings that could have precluded a trial were answered by federal court Judge Julie A.Robinson on Monday.

The law bars private health care insurance from covering abortion except those done to save the mother’s life — a law that seven other states have, some (including our neighbor Missouri) for decades. Under the law, those wishing abortion coverage could purchase individual, separate policy ‘riders’.

The Kansas law was passed in 2011, with the impetus being employers’ and employees’ conscience objections to including abortions as part of health care packages.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed suit on behalf of several women who “lost” abortion coverage they previously had. That legal complaint has been amended several times but has not prevented the law from going into effect.

In June, the ACLU filed for summary judgment, asking that the judge rule on the legal arguments without going to trial, claiming that the legislature’s predominant purpose in passing the law was simply to impede access to abortion. The ACLU tried to fortify their arguments by citing the high cost of abortion, the animus of the legislature and the difficulty in navigating the purchase of riders.

In July, the State’s attorneys argued against that claim that the law had no rational basis and offered their own reason why the law could be upheld from the bench, without a trial. Attorneys for Kansas have stated at least four state interests served by the law:

  1. promoting childbirth over abortion;
  2. protecting the consciences of Kansans;
  3. lowering insurance costs; and
  4. making the public more aware of the actual cost of abortion.

On Monday, Judge Robinson roundly denied the ACLU’s arguments, and supported the state’s rebuttal of it, quoting her own earlier ruling, “Whether one agrees or disagrees with this asserted cost and/or “freedom of conscience” rationale, there is nothing in the record to show that this was not the legislature’s purpose in adopting the law. Moreover, the claimed interests are rational ones.”

However, while supporting the State’s rebuttal Judge Robinson did not allow Kansas attorneys their wish to also have her settle the matter without trial. She still wants to explore the issue of “undue burden,” and writes, “the Supreme Court held that showing that a statute will operate as a substantial obstacle in a large fraction of the cases in which it is relevant is sufficient, albeit not necessary, to show that the statute creates an undue burden.”

Trial submissions indicate that 137 women used insurance (not self-insured plans) to pay for elective abortion in Kansas in a one-year time frame from July 2010- July 2011. During that time, approximately 7,800 Kansas abortions were performed, so the State asserts the law does not impede a large fraction of the relevant cases. Robinson writes, “Absent more evidence, it is difficult to determine whether this burden is an undue one for a large fraction of these women,” and thus the trial is still scheduled for March.

Sadly, the question of the “burden” borne by those 137 aborted children is not up for discussion.

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