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Posts Tagged ‘Gov. Sam Brownback’

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Huelskamp

Huelskamp

Jenkins

Jenkins

Yoder

Yoder

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

Pompeo

Pompeo

Roberts

Roberts

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

Schmidt

Schmidt

Kobach

Kobach

Estes

Estes

Selzer

Selzer

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

Brownback & Colyer

Brownback & Colyer

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

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

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

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

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

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KFL exec.Director Mary Kay Culp celebrates with Se.Roberts Tues. night

KFL Exec. Director Mary Kay Culp congratulated Sen.Roberts Tues. night

All eyes turned to “reliably red” Kansas in October for reasons no pro-lifer wanted. Polls indicated the campaigns of both our pro-life U.S. Senator Pat Roberts and our pro-life Governor Sam Brownback were surprisingly struggling.

Already active, pro-lifers brought their far-flung efforts to a whole new level, determined to turn that around. Last night those immense efforts paid off. First, a quick summary.

  • Expected to either lose or win by a hair, pro-life stalwart Roberts, in fact, pulled off a sweet and convincing 53%-43% victory over pro-abortion “independent” challenger Greg Orman. Roberts’ re-election was crucial to taking control of the United States Senate out of the hands of pro-abortion Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.)
  • Pro-life leader Brownback also surged to a win by a margin of 50%-46% over pro-abortion Democrat State Rep. Paul Davis. The message was clear: Kansans want their administrative branch to stay pro-life.

KFL Executive Director, Mary Kay Culp, gave this commentary:”We worked as hard as we did because we knew that life issues in Kansas mean more to voters than any D.C. pundit understood, or poll took into account, which certainly proved true on election night!”

SENATE RACE
Kansas pro-lifers were alarmed in early summer at the upstart campaign of Senate challenger Greg Orman– a 45-year-old millionaire businessman without any record of public service and who had never held elected office. Millions of dollars in TV ads were introducing him as the solution to the ‘overriding problem of government gridlock.’ Even a few conservatives were showing some interest in Orman, despite his bizarre claim that he was unsure which party he would caucus with if he won.

But pro-lifers knew differently. They knew that Reid would not allow any pro-life measures passed in the House of Representatives to come to a vote, including the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act. Pro-lifers also were well aware of the anti-life provisions of ObamaCare that were protected by Reid. Even more troubling, Orman had no voting record to contrast with the 100% pro-life record of Sen. Roberts.

KFL-PAC member Carol Dengel andPac co-director, Tim Hand celebrated pro-life wins in Topeka

KFL-PAC member, Carol Dengel, and KFL-PAC co-chair, Tim Hand, celebrated pro-life wins in Topeka Tues. night

Kansans for Life’s PAC went into high gear with phone calls, radio spots and other initiatives. We produced and distributed well over one million educational pieces, which is four times the number we have done in the past.

Orman largely hid from the press and kept to the strict script ‘that he had tried both political parties and found both deficient’. His history undermined that claim (as did Vice President Joe Biden at the last minute).

Although Orman had briefly registered as a Republican, he had long been a Democrat, and over 90% of his past and very sizable campaign donations had gone to pro-abortion Democrats. Even Kansas Democrats believed Orman would caucus with Democrats–as shown when they coaxed their own Senate candidate, Chad Taylor, off the ballot on Sept. 3rd so that the field was cleared for Orman.

On Election Day, however, Orman’s pretense at independence was shattered when Vice President Biden, speaking on a radio program, said Democrats “have a chance of picking up an independent who will be with us in the state of Kansas.”

Sen. Roberts has always been endorsed by Kansans for Life and the National Right to Life Committee, and has been a lead supporter of important pro-life bills. Orman described himself as ‘pro-choice’ in an October 15 debate with Sen. Roberts and dismissed pro-life concerns as something to “get past.”

Sen. Roberts quickly rebutted Orman’s position as “unconscionable” and publicly promised “never to stop fighting for life.” Orman continued to act as if pro-life issues were unimportant. For example, he never honored his October 9 pledge to several national media outlets to read and comment on two pro-life bills awaiting passage in the U.S. Senate and supported by Sen. Roberts.

But on Tuesday, Kansans reaffirmed that pro-life issues are important, and re-elected U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts by over a 90,000 vote margin. We so appreciate the help of the NRLC-PAC in producing radio and print materials for this race.

GOVERNOR’S RACE
After years of battling an administration that supported abortion and was pushing destructive embryonic research, Kansas pro-lifers were thrilled to turn that around with the election of Sam Brownback as governor in 2010. During his first term, he signed thirteen pro-life measures, including nationally-important bills championed by NRLC.

Gov. Brownback with Mary Kay Culp

Gov. Brownback with KFL’s Mary Kay Culp Tues. night

The contrast could not have been more clear. Challenger Davis was part of the cadre of anti-life legislators fighting every one of those bills. In fact, during his tenure in the House from 2003-2014, Davis voted 80 times against pro-life bills!

It may not be well known that Kansas has long had three political players: pro-life GOPers, a dwindling number of pro-abortion GOPers, and Democrats, who are now 95% pro-abortion. Bitter, pro-abortion GOP legislators who had fought the Brownback initiatives and lost their elections in 2012 added their support for Davis.

Going into the elections, the race was too close to call and early returns showing a slight lead for Davis had pro-lifers holding their breath. Those returns reflected that:

  • counties from Kansas’ eastern edge bordering Missouri (which came in early) traditionally lean Democrat, and
  • the bitter pro-abortion GOP wing seemed to be voting a straight GOP ticket except for Brownback and, to a lesser extent, Roberts.

But, as returns continued, Gov. Brownback finished ahead of Davis by about 33,000 votes. Another 33,000 votes went to a third party independent candidate, Keen Umbehr.

What you won’t see highlighted is that Brownback prevailed even in liberal-leaning Johnson County, the home of two abortion clinics, and serviced by the Kansas City Star, whose editorial board supports abortion and never overlooks a chance to slam Brownback.

We congratulate our many pro-life volunteers who helped insure another four years under Gov. Brownback! Social media has certainly impacted election politics, but in Kansas, the tried and true pro-life ground game was richly rewarded yesterday.

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Rep. Paul Davis

Rep. Paul Davis

Kansas is a leading pro-life state, electing a pro-life super majority to both chambers. We’ve enacted many benchmark pro-life laws signed by pro-life GOP Gov. Sam Brownback. Brownback is seeking re-election, opposed by Democrat Paul Davis.

With the abortion issue omitted at every gubernatorial debate, many Kansas voters haven’t learned how very extreme Davis is on the life issue. As a state representative for 14 years from the most liberal district in Kansas, Davis voted 80 times AGAINST pro-life bills. Here’s a partial list of what Davis voted against:

  • bans on sex-selection abortion, tax-funded abortions and gruesome abortions done on unborn children with proven pain capability;
  • parental consent for abortion and against abortion clinics sending fetal dna samples from pregnant girls under age 14 to the KBI (as evidence for rape prosecution);
  • state licensure for abortion clinics to include death and injury reporting for the health department;
  • allowing prosecution for crimes against pregnant women to include separate charges for death and injuries to unborn children;
  • conscience protection for pro-life doctors, healthcare workers and businesses that object to abortion.

Davis was tutored in anti-life stridency when he worked for Kathleen Sebelius (as state insurance commissioner) and interned for now-Senate Minority Leader Anthony Hensley. This animus is not just against state regulation of abortion, it shows when Davis voted against modest grants for pregnancy care centers and for creation of a unique (and ethical) stem cell therapy center.

Additionally, as Democrat policy chair, and later, as House Minority leader, Davis whipped up the opposition to pro-life bills, pressuring Democrat state reps not to vote pro-life. There are now less than a handful of pro-life Democrats left in the Kansas House.

Davis’ website reads, under the topic, HOW SHOULD KANSAS CHANGE LAWS RELATED TO ABORTION?:

“Kansas’ abortion laws are among the strictest in the nation – I will not change that as governor. I do feel that every woman has the right to make her own personal medical decisions in consultation with her family and her doctor – free from government intrusion.

Well, of course he says he will not change the laws in effect, because he CANNOT do so! What he didn’t promise was to vigorously defend, and not undermine, the existing pro-life laws.

As an example, a Kansas abortion may not be performed unless the woman has accessed state info available at: woman’srighttoknow.org. Yet implementation of the 2009 update of this website was botched under the administration of then-Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, and not correctly implemented until Sam Brownback became governor in 2011.

Through his choice of agency heads and budget priorities, an extremist pro-abortion politician like Davis would be a disaster for the unborn and women’s health. Davis could:

  • veto new pro-life laws enacted by the pro-life Kansas House and Senate;
  • use the state budget to fund abortion, instead of the current modest support for pregnancy help centers;
  • select a cabinet whose members would allow subversion of current life-protective laws and agency regulations;
  • deter the health department from investigating maternal deaths occurring at abortion clinics;
  • pressure the state medical board to ignore abortion malpractice;
  • refuse to rigorously defend state laws challenged in court.

The governor makes hundreds of appointments to advisory boards, as well as  selecting a variety of judges, including those on the state Supreme Court.

It is not hard to imagine how much damage Davis could do as governor. Pro-lifers need to get the word out and get to the polls!

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Aid for Women closes

KCK’s Aid for Women clinic

As confirmed by the Associated Press today, the Aid for Women (AFW) abortion clinic has closed abruptly, citing the retirement of its abortionist, Ronald Yeomans (age 73), as the reason.

The closure was announced on the AFW website, which was infamous for its churlish remarks undermining Kansas informed consent statutes. AFW’s website dissed state health agency abortion information as forced by “Republican misogynist (women-hating) bullies” and asserted that cancer was a living human organism like the unborn child. (read more here)

AFW was ripe for state oversight. The Kansas clinic licensure and regulation law– long fought for by Kansans for Life– was twice vetoed by past Gov. Kathleen Sebelius before finally being approved by Gov. Sam Brownback in 2011.

AFW applied for– and failed to attain –a state-issued license in June 2011.

This was hours before the new law was blocked in federal court from going into  effect. Aid for Women was quoted they’d “have to gut the place” to be in compliance.

Although the licensure law is stalled in state court, yet to be litigated, AFW did stop provision of abortion pills after the law’s passage.

As has been the case for so many previous Kansas abortionists, Yeomans was trained at the University of Kansas medical school (KUMed) and worked at Planned Parenthood. The Kansas legislature sealed off that sad legacy by ending onsite abortion provision at KUMed in 1997 and onsite abortion training at KUMed in 2013.

AFW abortionists had a long history of malpractice cases and disciplinary actions issued by the Kansas State Healing Arts Board, including original co-owner abortionists Malcolm Knarr and Sherman Zaremski, as well as later staff abortionists, Kris Neuhaus, and Krishna Rajanna.

SORDID HISTORY
Knarr, a convicted drug felon from Oklahoma, opened the business as a Medicaid and abortion facility in the impoverished inner city of Kansas City, Kansas in the early 1980’s. In 1993, KFL orchestrated the citizen petition drive that resulted in a grand jury convened to force government agencies to take action against Knarr.  During this time, he was averaging a malpractice suit every few months.

Although the grand jury was derailed, Knarr was forced out of medicine in 1994, and the state Healing Arts Board has kept him on a permanently suspended license. However, Knarr was able to keep ownership of the clinic with the Board restriction that he not enter any Kansas doctor’s office, hospital or other health-care facility except as a patient or as a visitor of a patient.

Zaremski, a failed lung doctor, joined AFW as Knarr’s business partner and fabricated years of non-existent prescription records. Zaremski performed at least one abortion, if not more, on young sisters who were repeatedly victimized by their step-father (see details here). He took retirement after years of battling licensure penalties and restrictions.

Neuhaus worked for AFW in the mid 1990s, in Kansas City and a Topeka branch. She staged a media event “locking out” Knarr at his own clinic. She then parted company, and worked –and  failed– at two abortion businesses in Lawrence and Wichita. During those years, the Healing Arts Board twice labeled her a “danger to the public” but let her keep her license, enabling her to provide “approval referrals” for late-term abortions at the George Tiller clinic in Wichita. Neuhaus lost her medical license two years ago but is litigating the revocation.

Rajanna was a failed internist who trained at AFW until he left to set up a competing mill down the street—a rat-and-rodent-overrun facility with open syringes of drugs and bags of fetal parts kept in the staff lunchroom refrigerator.  Rajanna lost his license in 2005 (read more here). Five years later, Rajanna caused a media ruckus when he was caught dumping old patient abortion files with personal information into a school dumpster.

SUDDEN CLOSINGS
With abortion rates dropping each year, many abortion businesses across the nation are closing or consolidating. In August 2010, Planned Parenthood of Kansas Mid-Missouri announced the sudden closing of its small Lawrence clinic merely with a note posted on the door, explaining only that continued operation was no longer “financially feasible.”

Yeomans’ Kansas annual medical license renewal was filed and accepted this month by the Healing Arts Board. But that begs the question of why an aging abortionist would pay for a state license if he knew his sole Kansas facility, AFW, was imminently closing?

Yeomans has been an itinerant abortionist for years, for a long time in West Virginia, so he may not have retired from abortions, only at the AFW Kansas City location. The SouthWind abortion clinic appears to need an abortionist—they opened last year in Wichita, Kansas, with three non-Kansas resident abortionists but only one remains on staff. We wouldn’t be surprised to find Yeomans on their roster.

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Justice Alito

Justice Alito

On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld conscience protection for certain businesses to refuse to provide abortifacient drugs and devices through employee insurance, as mandated by an HHS rule under Obamacare.

The Hobby Lobby ruling applies narrowly to “closely held corporations,” which the IRS defines as firms where half of the value of the corporation is held by five or fewer individuals. The Obama administration had argued that ‘for-profit’ corporations couldn’t have religious beliefs, but the Court disagreed, finding that,

“Protecting the free-exercise rights of closely held corporations…  protects the religious liberty of the humans who own and control them.”

The Court also noted that the Evangelical owners of Hobby Lobby and the Mennonite owners of Conestoga Wood Products (both “closely held corporations”) professed “sincere Christian beliefs that life begins at conception and that it would violate their religion to facilitate access to contraceptive drugs or devices that operate after that point.”

Specifically, the Hobby Lobby lawsuit sought an exemption to providing 4 of the listed 20 forms of contraception that HHS mandates under “preventive services.”

Gov. Brownback

Gov. Brownback

KANSAS PROTECTIVE LAWS
Of note to Kansas pro-lifers is that the Hobby Lobby majority opinion was written by Justice Samuel Alito.

Alito’s appointment to the Court would not have occurred had not our governor, then-U.S. Senator Sam Brownback, led the resistance to President Bush’s 2005 nomination of Harriet Miers to replace the retiring Justice Sandra Day O’Connor. O’Connor had provided the fifth vote in the 2000 Stenberg decision striking down a Nebraska partial birth abortion law but Alito became the fifth vote to uphold the federal partial birth abortion ban in 2007.

The backdrop of the Obama administration’s aggressive abortion agenda further incentivized Kansas to pass particular pro-life laws, signed by pro-life Gov. Brownback, elected in 2010.

After the passage of Obamacare that included abortion coverage, Kansas enacted laws in 2011 to prevent abortion coverage in any future Kansas health exchange and in all private health insurance plans unless a separate abortion ‘rider’ is purchased.

In the wake of the HHS mandate and an increase in contraceptive promotion, Kansas medical professionals faced a growing ethical problem: some pills and devices marketed as preventing pregnancy also disrupt the implantation of the human embryo—called a post-fertilization abortifacient effect.

Because Kansas’ abortion statute defines legal contraception as, “the use of any drug or device that inhibits or prevents ovulation, fertilization or implantation of an embryo,” in 2012, Kansas passed conscience protection for medical professionals and facilities: “No person shall be required to perform, refer for, or participate in medical procedures or in the prescription or administration of any device or drug which result in the termination of a pregnancy or an effect of which the person reasonably believes may result in the termination of a pregnancy.”

In 2013, Kansas passed further barriers to government promotion of abortion in healthcare in the Pro-Life Protections Act, which

  • declares that human life begins at fertilization and that Kansas public policy will promote and protect the interests of unborn children and their parents;
  • prevents state agencies from discriminating against individuals or health care institutions that do not provide, pay for, or refer for abortions;
  • more effectively bans abortion performance and abortionist-training at the tax-funded KUMed Center.

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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.

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