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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.

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.

Hodes

Hodes

Carhart

Carhart

A recent expose in the Topeka newspaper about a disreputable and impaired Wichita surgeon lends credence to a perception that doctors can continue to be a danger to the public and yet retain a Kansas medical license.

The Kansas State Board of Healing Arts’ long-held policy is that physicians are a state resource that should be preserved, while balancing that goal against that of protecting patients.

The way the Board handles complaints about their licensees is frustrating. The filer of the complaint to the Board learns nothing of what transpired in the case–even in a general way—unless and until concrete discipline is taken against the physician.

The Board does not even confirm or rebut the facts of the alleged incident(s) sent to them!

This past month, the Board closed complaints from Kansans For Life about two state-licensed abortionists– Herb Hodes and LeRoy Carhart. In neither case did the abortionist receive disciplinary action or loss of license. All we were told is that unspecified “information” was placed in their personnel files.

Our complaint against Hodes focused on a late abortion allegedly initiated by him in Kansas in 2011, after the state’s pain-capable ban on such abortions was in effect. It was based on a direct tip to KFL from the wife of a Missouri physician allegedly involved in the surgical completion of the abortion. In that case, we are left wondering whether an illegal abortion was actually begun in Kansas (to be “resolved” in another state) and whether other similar abortions are occurring.

Our complaint against Carhart involved the death of his patient, Jennifer Morbelli, as well as other women taken from his Maryland clinic by ambulance. Recent legal authority for the Board allows them to examine Kansas-licensees’ actions in other states. Yet we have no clue as to what the Board found. We are left with the impression that the Board believes Carhart is following acceptable standard of care for women obtaining late abortions in Maryland.

We urge that knowledgeable individuals not be discouraged from filing responsible complaints to the Board. After all, the Board did initiate license revocation of George Tiller six months before his death, and later sought and obtained license revocation of his referring abortionist, Kris Neuhaus.

KFL logoAbortion-supporting groups continue to complain about the increasing life-protective laws passed in the states, particularly Kansas. The pro-abortion Guttmacher Institute places Kansas as number four in the nation (see map) among pro-life states– even as three of our bills from 2011 are not in effect yet due to delayed court action.

The achievement of strengthening Kansas as a pro-life state is due to the efforts of many, with Kansans for Life taking a leadership role.  For highlights of Kansans for Life 2013 activities, including educational and political action, see here. To donate, go here.

2013 PRO-LIFE LAWS
Gov. Sam Brownback signed three pro-life bills into law in 2013.

Senate Bill 142 ["Civil Rights for the Unborn"] allows lawsuits to be filed in civil court on behalf of the wrongful death of an unborn child at any time in gestation and  prohibits the filing of civil “wrongful birth” or “wrongful life” lawsuits seeking jackpot awards for parents who claim they would have aborted their disabled child had they known the of the condition prenatally. Recently, a jury in the state of Washington awarded $50 million dollars to parents because a laboratory did not detect a genetic defect. Such a lawsuit cannot be filed now in Kansas.

Senate Bill 199 establishes the exciting and first-of-its-kind Midwest Stem Cell Therapy Center at the University of Kansas, to increase the number of clinical grade stem cells available for use in patient treatments. The Center will create education modules for the public and medical personnel and create a global database resource for physicians and patients. Currently the only successful medical stem cell treatments are those using tissue sources such as blood, bone marrow and umbilical cords. The Center bars the use of any fetal or embryonic tissue cells, which are obtained through the destruction of unborn children.

House Bill 2253 ["2013 Pro-Life Protections Act"] was two years in the making, with extremist liberal media whining all along the way. HB 2253

  • strengthens medically accurate information made available prior to abortion from the state health department website;
  • bans all tax-funded payment for abortion,  tax breaks for abortion businesses;
  • forbids abortions for reason of sex-selection; and
  • declares that state public policy and budget priorities will reflect the fact that human life begins at conception, subject to U.S. Supreme Court rulings.

Planned Parenthood and the abortion clinic of Herb Hodes and Traci Nauser (both in Overland Park) have sued to block HB 2253’s new requirement that abortion clinics feature a link to state abortion information on the clinic’s website homepage. In addition, after failing to secure a legal injunction against the entire HB 2253, Hodes/Nauser attorneys did secure a block on one small provision in HB 2253 defining medical emergencies.

As usual, unable to win in the realm of public opinion, abortion interests run to the courts, hoping they will land activist judges to freeze laws from going into effect. That strategy did not work well for them this year.

The office of Attorney General Derek Schmidt is managing the defense teams for all challenged pro-life laws. We expect resolution in our favor, although the pace has been especially slow on the three lawsuits filed in 2011.

TopSecretPaperclipThe Internal Revenue Service has proposed new rules for political activity by nonprofits –overturning more than 50 years of settled law– in order to conceal the true political record of pro-abortion politicians.

The IRS proposal will undermine the ability of certain (“C-4″) tax-exempt nonprofits to conduct

  • nonpartisan voter registration and
  • voter education.

Such organizations advocating for the unborn, like Kansans for Life and the National Right to Life Committee, would be

forbidden to leave records of officeholder votes and public statements on their websites in the two months before an election.

In other words, during the small, premiere window of time that the general populace is paying attention to elections, pro-abortion politicians’ records would be locked away!  Read details by former Federal Elections Commission Chair Bradley Smith here.

NRLC, and affiliates like KFL, are invaluable for informing the public about the positions of candidates, including those nominated to the U.S. Supreme Court! The Obama team sees pro-life organizations as a threat and want to muzzle those views.  It’s that simple.

NRLC has issued a nationwide alert to raise a storm of public protest against these regulations, to make it as hard as possible for the IRS to give final approval. 

We need to educate the American people that it seems every group that opposes Obama’s policies is now under threat of having their most fundamental rights taken away. The use of the IRS as a political weapon has to stop!

Obamacare grants HHS head, Kathleen Sebelius, powers

Obamacare grants HHS head, Kathleen Sebelius, unprecedented powers

We strongly urge you to read– in full– this excellent analysis of the built-in rationing in Obamacare, from Carol Tobias, president of our national affiliate. Learn the facts and help spread the word!
(Note, the Sebelius graphic is KFL’s addition.)

                  Yes, It Is Rationing
Dec. 2, 2013, Washington, D.C. –  “It’s four years overdue, but America is finally beginning to have the debate about Obamacare we were promised. Barack Obama had assured us – another in his long series of broken promises – that the meetings held to devise the plan would be televised on C-SPAN.  Americans would have every opportunity to know what the law is, and how it would affect them.

That never happened.  The law was put together behind closed doors.  Nancy Pelosi later arrogantly told us “we have to pass the law so you can know what’s in it.” Now we’re finding out.

National Right to Life was a lone early voice exposing how the law would cause rationing of life-saving care.  But Obamacare supporters have mocked the claim.  Their standard line has been “the ACA is designed to expand coverage, not reduce it.”

But that’s only one part of the law. Central to this overhaul of our healthcare system is a harsh regime of rationing – denial of care.  And it’s finally being admitted.

Americans don’t yet realize the law will prevent you from spending your own money to get treatments deemed “ineffective” in an Orwellian way by the unelected, largely unaccountable IPAB board.

Last summer, former Vermont governor, Democratic presidential candidate, physician and Obamacare supporter Howard Dean made headlines when he spilled the beans.  The Independent Payment Advisory Board set up by Obamacare, Dean said, was “essentially a health care rationing board.”

Further clarification about the role of this board, known as IPAB, came in a series of interviews and tweets last week by Time magazine Senior Political Analyst Mark Halperin.  Coming from an avowed supporter of universal coverage, as Halperin is, the interviews were very instructive, containing insights every American should know.

Halperin first discussed rationing on a November 25th Newsmax TV program.  “It’s built into the plan.  It’s not like a guess or like a judgment.  That’s going to be part of how costs are controlled.”

Later that day, Halperin clarified in a tweet that his comments were not about so-called “death panels,” as the show’s host had termed it, but about rationing.  This is an important distinction for pro-lifers to understand so we (unlike Obama) are completely clear and honest about what the Affordable Care Act does when we discuss it with others.

“Death Panels” vs. broad government-generated rationing in the ACA

The British National Health Service (NHS) has appeals committees to review “individual funding requests.”  They meet to determine whether treatments in a specific case will or won’t be paid for by the government health care system, NHS.  These have sometimes been termed “death panels” because if a patient needs a treatment to save or extend his life and can’t afford to pay for it himself, a verdict of “no” by the committee means the patient could die – hence, the term “death panel.”

Obamacare’s Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) will not operate this way.  It won’t review individual cases; in fact, the law is written to preclude this type of direct rationing.  That’s why some Obamacare supporters protest that the law actually bars IPAB from rationing.

But Obamacare actually gives IPAB far more power to ration than if it was acting as judge and jury to individual patients. Broadly speaking, IPAB is given sweeping powers to recommend to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) whether and how whole categories of treatments are to be reimbursed — and is required to use these powers to prevent overall health care spending from being allowed even to keep up with medical inflation. Thus, they can (in fact, it is their job to) limit reimbursement and ration care from thousands or millions of people at a time.

For example, IPAB might decide that a new, promising treatment for breast cancer is not “cost-effective,” given the board’s calculation of the number of lives it might save versus the cost to offer the treatment.  HHS might then issue a “quality measure” binding on health care providers that does not authorize use of the treatment.

Effectively, HHS would have the power to drive most doctors out of business if they ignore its directives to ration.  Women who might have been saved by the new treatment would die if the older, cheaper treatments don’t cure them.

Halperin was open about the law’s intention to ration in a follow-up interview on CNBC last Tuesday.

“Those decisions that are made by that board are going to lead to what I think could be described perfectly reasonably as rationing, “ Halperin said.  “Again, as I said, that’s built into the system.”

“The Independent Payment Advisory Board, which is a big part of the Affordable Care Act that is central to cost control, is something that hasn’t been debated in a real way . . . we need to have that debate in this country.”

Currently, if an insurance company, doctor or hospital denies you a treatment or payment for a treatment, you have several options.  States have insurance commissions to which you have a right to appeal payment denials by insurance companies.  You can go to another doctor or hospital to get care.

Under Obamacare, these avenues will be largely closed off to you and your loved ones.  If the government says you can’t get a treatment, your current ability to appeal to a government body will be curtailed.  And Americans don’t yet realize the law will prevent you from spending your own money to get treatments deemed in an Orwellian way “ineffective” by the unelected, largely unaccountable IPAB board.

That makes it absolutely critical that National Right to Life inform Americans, warn Americans, empower Americans to overturn this law that will be so deadly to so many of their loved ones – and ultimately to many of us.  Please take the time to see one way we’re spreading the truth about Obamacare rationing at www.nrlc.org/medethics/healthcarerationing.

And please help National Right to Life fight this life-and-death battle with a generous donation today.  Perhaps you can afford a substantial gift of $1,000 or $500 – such a contribution will help us get the word out to the public and public officials alike about what this law does to innocent human lives and why it must be overturned.

Your gifts of $100, $50 or $35, combined with those of thousands of other concerned Americans, can have the same effect.  Let’s not let it be said that we didn’t fight back with everything we have to overturn those policies and save these lives!

tobiasThank you – you are literally a Lifesaver!”
Carol Tobias, National Right to Life President

Forward this message to a friend.

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Sen. Mary Pilcher-Cook, with health committee presenters: Dr. David Prentice, stem cell patient Richard Walters, Dr. Dana Winegarner, & Director Dr. Buddhadeb Dawn

Sen. Mary Pilcher-Cook, with health committee presenters: Dr. David Prentice, stem cell patient Richard Walters, Dr. Dana Winegarner, & Director Dr. Buddhadeb Dawn

What was once only a dream has become a reality– the Midwest Stem Cell Therapy Center at the University of Kansas Medical Center will host its inaugural in-depth educational conference about adult stem cell treatments Saturday, Nov. 23 in Kansas City. See details here.

The purpose of this conference (which provides continuing education credits) is to update health professionals and trainees about advances in therapy with adult stem cells, as well as explaining adult stem cell biology and its potential for tissue and organ regeneration.

Adult stem cell treatments in the form of bone marrow transplants have been used for many years to successfully treat leukemia and related bone/blood cancers. The scientific community is now focusing on additional therapeutic options including organ repair. The Midwest Stem Cell Therapy Center was created this year by the Kansas Legislature, (read here) under the leadership of Gov. Sam Brownback and Sen. Mary Pilcher-Cook, in order to:

  • facilitate the “translation” of basic stem cell research findings into actual clinical applications;
  • multiply clinical grade stem cells obtained from adult tissues, cord blood, and other sources, excluding embryonic and fetal;
  • increase the number of patients receiving stem cell treatments;
  • educate medical professionals and the public;
  • create and maintain a global database of available stem cell trials and therapies.

The Center’s director is Buddhadeb Dawn, M.D., current director of the KU Med Center’s Cardiovascular Division, who has been engaged in promising adult stem cell therapy for cardiac repair. International stem cell expert, Dr. David A Prentice, has been appointed to the Center’s 15-member advisory board.

Let your favorite medical personnel know about this exciting conference!

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