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Posts Tagged ‘informed consent’

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

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

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment maintains a website containing objective, nonjudgmental, scientifically accurate information about the development of the unborn child, as well as video of sonogram images of the unborn child at various stages of development. The Kansas Department of Health and Environment’s website can be reached by clicking here.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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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Rep. Lance Kinzer

Rep. Lance Kinzer

Rep. Arlen Siegfried

Rep. Arlen Siegfreid

Late Friday evening, as the legislative session was ending, the Kansas legislature passed three pro-life bills that Kansans for Life is confident pro-life Gov. Sam Brownback will sign.

Due to late amendments, all the measures were procedurally re-affirmed by both chambers as “conference committee recommendations” and passed by large margins.

House Judiciary chair, Lance Kinzer (R-Olathe), drafted the lead bill for the last two sessions, the Pro-Life Protections Act. He commented,

 “These measures represent a significant step forward in our ongoing effort to advance thoughtful and targeted legislation that both defends innocent human life and protects women who are so often exploited by the abortion industry.”

The Pro-life Protections Act of 2013, HB 2253, was carried by Rep. Arlen Siegfreid (R- Olathe) and passed 90-30 in the House and 28-10 in the Senate. HB 2253 codifies abortion informed consent materials authorized by the state health department, and removes all tax streams that pay for abortion and give advantages to abortion businesses.

The informed consent section has an added mandate for the state department to facilitate medical information access and community support for families facing pre-birth and post-birth diagnoses of Down Syndrome and other conditions.

HB 2253 assures taxpayers are not directly funding abortion or abortion training at the state university, and forbids state discrimination against pro-life citizens and entities.

Rep.David Crum

Rep. David Crum

Rep.John Rubin

Rep. John Rubin

As of this week, HB 2253 now includes SB 141, the ban on abortions done solely for the gender of the unborn child. This ban was passed earlier in the session by the Senate, and passed last year in the House as a provision in another bill. Kansas will join Illinois, Pennsylvania, Oklahoma and Arizona, in banning sex selection abortions.

The second measure secured Friday was SB 199, with votes of 90-30 in the House, 31-8 in the Senate. It establishes a unique Midwest Center for Stem Cell Therapy at University of Kansas Medical Center (KUMC) in collaboration with the Blood and Marrow Transplant Center of Kansas and the Via Christi Cancer Institute in Wichita. Rep. David Crum (R-Augusta) carried the bill.

The Center will expand ongoing “adult” and “cord blood” treatments and become a global clinical and educational resource for cures and treatments that do not use embryonic or fetal tissues. The Center will fill a void by producing clinical grade stem cells, increasing clinical trials in this region, maintaining a comprehensive stem cell database, and creating educational training modules.

The third bill that passed (which Kansans for Life supported) is HB 2164, by a vote count of  92- 28 in the House and 26-12 in the Senate. Under this bill, grand juries summoned by citizen petitions will be better protected from being undermined by local district attorneys.  A citizen-petitioned grand jury is an important watchdog tool, which has been used in Kansas to challenge government agencies not upholding pro-life and pro-family laws.

Last month, Kansas passed SB 142, “Unborn Civil Rights for the Unborn,” which outlaws civil actions of “wrongful birth” and “wrongful life” on behalf of disabled children. It was carried by House Corrections chair, John Rubin (R-Shawnee).

OPPONENTS’ TALKING POINTS CORRECTED:

Abortion supporters continue to mischaracterize these bills—even during debate in both chambers Friday night–so here are some needed corrections. Under these pro-life bills:

  • only abortions done solely for sex selection are banned, otherwise abortions for any reason, including rape, remain legal until the 22nd week of pregnancy, and after that time, can be obtained to preserve the life of the mother or prevent irreversible and substantial physical damage to her;
  • hospitals suffer no penalties for treating life-of-the-mother crises including both ectopic pregnancies and emergencies throughout 9 months;
  • the updated informed consent materials (created by KDHE since 1997) do not contain misinformation, do not say abortion causes breast cancer, and do not force any abortion provider to tell women ANYTHING because the materials are written and online;
  • the acknowledgment that ‘life begins at fertilization’ is language approved in 1989 by the U.S. Supreme Court, and adopted by 13 other states–it does not challenge abortion decisions at the federal or state level;
  • there was no money “taken” from the KUMC budget for the adult stem center, and the center is not hostage to politics, but is expanding on successful medical treatments ALREADY under way at KUMC and across the state.

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In 1997 Kansas enacted state-issued informed consent provisions for abortion, with a 24-hour phone hotline and printed informational booklets. Part of the  “Woman’s Right to Know” law required abortionists to report, not only the numbers of abortions performed, but also how many women they saw for an initial visit at which time informed consent printed state materials were presented.

The encouraging result is that from 1998 through 2011, the state health department received confirmation that 3,551 women did not proceed with abortions after their initial clinic contact.

To better educate pregnant women, as well as deter them from even entering abortion clinics, Kansans for Life shepherded the “Women’s Right to Know and See” law. Passed in 2009, the law gives 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 with real-time sonography of the developing unborn child.

At www.womansrighttoknow.org, a scientifically accurate description of prenatal development accompanies a breathtaking day-by-day view inside the womb.

A pregnant women considering abortion in Kansas, whether due to personal ambivalence or coercion, no longer has to actually contact the abortion business or wait for printed materials to arrive in the mailbox. Now, thanks to this state website, the pregnant woman has direct, private access to gaze at ultrasounds of children the same age as her unborn child… without time limits. Website access to informed consent warnings and prenatal ultrasound allows her to contemplate –at her own pace –the real person already living inside her, without clinic pressure or misinformation.

We asked the Kansas health department about website traffic. They answered that in the 26 months from May 2010 through June 2012, the right-to-know website has been phenomenally busy, with 152,173 ‘hits’! 

Logically some of these hits were repeat visits and some were from students or other non-pregnant interested individuals.  But undoubtedly, the right-to-know website has contributed to the continuing decrease in Kansas abortions.

In 2008 (before the website), 10,642 pregnant women entered Kansas abortion clinics, in 2009, 9,701 did so, in 2010, 8,615, and in 2011, 8,033. Thus, nearly 2,700 women never stepped inside a Kansas abortion business, due to their access to a state informed consent website!

So, while we are pleased that a few hundred women each year do reject abortion upon reflection AFTER entering Kansas clinics, the number choosing life has greatly increased with the online website.

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Breast Cancer Prevention Institute head, Dr. Angela Lanfranchi, talked to student nurses Feb.7 at Benedictine College

Abortion supporters have grossly mischaracterized the provisions of the Pro-Life Protections Act, HB 2598, and, as expected, the Wichita Eagle blindly editorialized it as a measure that “defies mainstream science”.

One of the purposes of HB 2598 is to codify basic elements of the informed consent pamphlet, so it cannot become a political football as it had been in the Sebelius administration. HB 2598 says that the booklet,
“shall also contain objective information… including risk of premature birth in future pregnancies, [and] risk of breast cancer…”  

Anti-life opponents try to frighten legislators that the national medical advocacy groups do not acknowledge the abortion-breast cancer link, but KDHE has already recognized their duty to inform women about it.

Two full paragraphs about abortion links to pre-term birth and breast cancer are ALREADY published here on page 24 of the online version of the Kansas Woman’s Right to Know pamphlet. The pre-term info is acccurate and the breast cancer section still needs tweaking to more clearly convey these relevant biological facts.

FACT: Most women who have abortions will not get breast cancer, and most women with breast cancer did not have abortions.

However, in the last 40 years (more…)

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