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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.

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:

wrtk_header_seal (2)Days after Planned Parenthood conceded defeat to Kansas in a three-years-running lawsuit, another abortion lawsuit over a pro-life Kansas law is rapidly crumbling.

Last week, attorneys for Herb Hodes & Traci Nauser, who operate the Center for Women’s Health (CWH) in Overland Park, acknowledged that

an injunction they’d obtained on small portions of a 2013 law is no longer in effect. 

In addition, they have officially withdrawn sections of their lawsuit against the 2013 Pro-Life Protections Act in which they claimed that free speech rights guaranteed under the Kansas Constitution were infringed.

The Pro-Life Protections Act improves informed consent, bans sex-selection abortions and removes tax advantages for abortionists. In June 2013, Shawnee District Court Judge Rebecca Crotty ruled that CWH had not met the legal standard for winning a restraining order against the entire law, meaning nearly 99 % of the Kansas Pro-life Protections Act would go into effect. Judge Crotty did grant CWH attorneys a temporary injunction on two small provisions:

  1. the definition of medical emergency that could have been interpreted to affect ectopic pregnancies, and
  2. a first-in-the-nation mandate that each Kansas abortion clinic website homepage provide an easily identifiable link to the state health department’s “Woman’s Right to Know” information.

To address the Court’s concerns, the Kansas legislature tweaked those provisions slightly, effective April 24, 2014, as Senate Bill 54. 

The legislature agreed to take away the description of the state website as “objective, nonjudgmental, scientifically accurate” –which Hodes-Nauser (and Planned Parenthood in a federal suit) objected to.

Although not conceding the description is wrong, legislators judged that SB 54 would end the state court injunction, and allow abortion-seeking women to immediately click to state information, including the best-in-nation fetal development video-information.

Now, both the abortion attorneys and the Kansas defense attorneys have officially declared the original injunction is no longer operative.

The live link that abortion clinics must feature on their homepage 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

LAWSUIT CONCESSIONS
Apart from the now-voided injunction, CWH is still pressing their June 2013 lawsuit that attacks the Pro-Life Protections Act from head to foot. Here, too, however, the defense attorneys for the state of Kansas have been whittling it down.

  • In October, CWH dropped their objection to the state-developed informed consent information about the unborn child’s pain-capability, and the possible risks of premature future births and breast cancer linked to abortion.
  • In November, the court ruled against CWH’s ridiculous claim that the Act wrongly contained “non-abortion” topics of prenatal diagnostic support and the rights of unborn children and their parents.
  • In their newest concession, filed May 12, CWH dropped their fight against the “abortion coercion” warning that must be posted inside each abortion business. This required onsite posting became law in 2009, and was type-formatted to the appropriate size by the state medical board. Additional wording was added in the 2013 Pro-Life Protections Act.

The 2009 Notice read:
It is against the law for anyone, regardless of their relationship to you, to force you to have an abortion. By law, we cannot perform an abortion on you unless we have your freely given and voluntary consent. It is against the law to perform an abortion on you against your will.
You have the right to contact any local or state law enforcement agency to receive protection from any actual or threatened physical abuse or violence.
You have the right to change your mind at any time prior to the actual abortion and request that the abortion procedure cease.

The 2013 Pro-Life Protections Act retained that language, and added:
It is unlawful for anyone to make you have an abortion against your will, even if you are a minor.
The father of your child must provide support for the child, even if he has offered to pay for an abortion.
If you decide not to have an abortion, you may qualify for financial help for pregnancy, childbirth and newborn care.
If you qualify, medicaid will pay or help pay the cost of doctor, clinic, hospital and other related medical expenses, including childbirth delivery services and care for your newborn baby.
Many agencies are willing to provide assistance so that you may carry your child to term, and to assist you after your child’s birth.

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.

One of many Wichita pro-life help centers

A short letter to the editor from an ordinary pro-life citizen has beautifully undermined a celebratory April 3 newspaper story that ran under the headline, “Wichita clinic says provided 1,200 abortions.”

The Wichita Eagle report gushes over what is now called the SouthWind Women’s Center, which opened one year ago amidst nationally-orchestrated fanfare. What did the letter remind us of? That

in only six weeks, just one Wichita pro-life center alone sees 1,200 women! And rather than offer death, it offers true ‘service.’

What is the SouthWind Women’s Center (SWWC) and who is behind it? For starters, it is located in the building that for decades was used by the late George Tiller, internationally known for performing late, late abortions. It most famously included an onsite incinerator for the “human remains.”

And it is now owned by former Tiller lobbyist, Julie Burkhart whose “quest” to reopen the abortion clinic was the subject of numerous sympathetic profiles.

“Patient numbers are right in line with our projections,” Burkhart said, “1,500 patients for reproductive care, including abortions up to 14 weeks. ” A fair question to ask both of the Wichita Eagle and Burkhart is when has any abortion business ever sought a story to proclaim how many abortions it sold?

It could be because Burkhart is trying to reassure her funding base that her business will be successful in the face of yet another annual state report showing a decline in the number of Kansas abortions. As reported in NRL News Today last week, there were 7,479 abortions in 2013–or less than 145 per week, including out-of-state women who came to Kansas for their abortions.

“I feel that in this line of work, with the legislation that’s become law and the political climate, our work at times feels tenuous at best,” Burkhart told the Eagle. “I wish he [Tiller] could be here, I miss him every day. He lives on through our work here.”

Put aside the disturbing idea that someone “lives on” through the death of thousands of unborn babies and recall that SWWC is “flying-in” abortionists because it’s unable to secure local doctors.

Instead consider the letter to the editor that focused on true women’s health care that is being provided for free by at least eight local organizations. The author writes

“Let’s put this in perspective. A Better Choice [a Catholic local help center] sees an average of 200 clients per week. So it [alone] passes the 1,500 mark in seven or eight weeks. …Nobody flies in to assist these women. Local providers – doctors, nurses, counselors, sonogram technicians and volunteers – guide women with unplanned pregnancies to motherhood.”

What a great perspective!

Let’s compare what SWWC sells as women’s health: “OB care” is defined as pregnancy & infertility counseling, pregnancy testing and referrals to local obstetricians. Their “adoption” service is linkage with an Ohio abortion clinic that says it also arranges adoptions.

SWWC’s bread and butter, of course, is the abortion business advertised at $600-$700 each, with a special ‘speedy’ option for another $200. And 1,200 abortions Burkhart claims were obtained in 2013 provide them conservatively with three-quarters of a million dollars in revenue.

Meanwhile, what are the genuinely helpful services available for women in Wichita beyond the essential pregnancy testing and ultrasound services? First of all, the assistance is personal— provided without cost, by professionals and volunteers with no financial stake in the outcome. No “out-of-staters” or phone networking, but real people with a stake in helping local women lacking essential information and support.

A large variety of services are readily available, including

  • Help in establishing medical care for pregnancy;
  • Nutritional assistance;
  • Access to maternity and baby items;
  • Information on adoption and support afterwards;
  • Therapy, including substance abuse and domestic battery issues;
  • Budget and job search training;
  • Education on childbirth and parenting;
  • Mentoring and peer support;
  • Specialized hospice for potentially lethal fetal abnormalities; and
  • After-abortion recovery care.

Kansans are pro-life and resent the re-opening of an abortion business. However the Wichita community is showing its heart, year after year, in providing authentic health care for pregnant women and their families.

U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS)

U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS)

Kansas’ U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts has taken a leadership role in battling government restrictions on health care and to that end, on Tuesday filed the “Repeal Rationing in Support of Life Act,” see video here.

This is the third in a series of bills, part of a comprehensive effort by Sen. Roberts, to prevent the federal government from limiting access to life-saving medical care for patients at all stages of life.

“Obamacare has made many Americans fearful that cost-cutting and rationing of care will limit their options for health care at a time when they are vulnerable–when they are sick or battling a life threatening condition,” Roberts said. “By introducing this bill, we are fighting against hidden barriers to treatment and life-saving medicine.”

Roberts’ bill targets four rationing provisions of Obamacare for repeal:

1) the “excess benefit” tax coming into effect in 2018, which unfairly limits employee plans from keeping pace with medical inflation;
2) the current exclusion of adequate health insurance plans from the exchanges;
3) limits now curtailing senior citizens’ ability to add their own money in addition to Medicare payment for health insurance including Medicare Advantage; and
4) federal limits on the care doctors are allowed to give their patients.

Roberts’ legislation (see bill details here) is endorsed by the National Right to Life Committee, which has delineated rationing dangers in Obamacare in this NRLC report and in a recent Q & A article here.

Mary Kay Culp, executive director of Kansans for Life, stated, “Obamacare authorizes Washington bureaucrats to create one uniform, national standard of care that is designed to limit what private citizens are allowed to spend to save their own lives. We commend Senator Roberts for his bill and his consistent leadership to end Obamacare’s rationing.”

The bill is cosponsored by Senators Jerry Moran (R-KS), Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), Thad Cochran (R-Miss.), and Roger Wicker (R-Miss.).

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.

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