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Posts Tagged ‘Midwest Stem Cell Therapy Center’

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.

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stem cell patients (2)If cell therapies are indeed becoming the ‘Third Pillar of medicine’ —the title of a symposium today at the University of California at San Francisco—Kansas has positioned itself to become the global clearinghouse of those treatments. Last Friday the legislature passed Senate Bill 199 creating the Midwest Stem Cell Therapy Center (MSCTC) at the University of Kansas Medical Center (KUMC).

Gov. Sam Brownback, long a champion of non-embryo-destructive stem cell research during his tenure as U.S. Senator for Kansas, is anticipated to sign the legislation soon, along with the Pro-Life Protections Act, House Bill 2253.

SB 199 does not mandate tax funding, although some seed money in the Kansas annual budget is not entirely off the table yet when the legislature returns in May.  But the Center will actively pursue grants from private and public sources. For example, the numerous disease foundations as well as the U.S. military, dealing with thousands of injured veterans, would have a strong interest in donating to this project.

Dr. David Prentice, Adjunct Professor of Molecular Genetics and an international expert on the stem cell topic, has testified annually over the past decade to Kansas lawmakers about adult (non-embryonic) stem cell (ASC) treatments, including that:
•    1 in 200 Americans will undergo an ASC transplant in their lifetime;
•    over 60,000 ASC transplants occur globally each year;
•    there are over 2,600 ongoing, or completed, FDA-approved ASC trials.

As reported yesterday, the Vatican has said that its international conference this week on ethical stem cell research will aim to correct the public misperceptions of the burgeoning scientific field. The Washington Times quoted conference co-sponsor, Dr. Robin Smith,  “Regenerative medicine is poised to revolutionize disease management by finding new ways to boost the body’s ability to heal itself…

“People are dying, literally, who could be treated or cured.”

Even as the MSCTC was touted during debate on SB 199 as expanding cures and treatments that would end suffering for thousands, some Kansas lawmakers opposed it. Sen. Laura Kelly (D-Topeka) and Rep. Barbara Bollier (R-Mission Hills) led opposition to this center as ‘meddling’ with university independence. They tried to imply that MSCTC was more pro-life politics than good science.

The real reason was sour grapes—most of these legislators have been on the wrong (and losing) side for a long time.  They and/or their mentors:
•    failed to prevent ethical limitations in the 2004 Kansas Bio-Science Authority Act governing state commerce,
•    failed to achieve embryonic stem cell and cloning initiatives from 2005-2007, and
•    failed to keep tax-funded abortion training at KUMC the past two years.

But pro-lifers won’t hold that grudge when those legislators and their families come to the MSCTC for treatments in the near future!

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Sen. President Susan Wagle

Sen. President Susan Wagle

Pro-life legislation is broader than just abortion limitations, as the pro-life Kansas Senate demonstrated by passing two measures today: SB 199, establishing an adult stem cell clearinghouse and therapy center, and SB 142, enhancing civil litigation rights for the unborn.

By voice vote Thursday,(UPDATE: final count 33-7) the Senate approved creating a novel and globally important Midwest Stem Cell Therapy Center at the University of Kansas (KU). Before the vote was taken, Senate President, Susan Wagle (R-Wichita) provided a ringing endorsement.

“I am pleased to see this legislation, endorsed completely by KU. My son, Paul, relapsed in 2006 from leukemia after two and a half years of chemotherapy. We tested family members and could not find a match for bone marrow.

“We called Gov. Sam Brownback, who was U.S. Senator at the time, because he had worked for years to promote stem cell research. The governor connected us with a New York doctor doing research trials who had established a cord blood bank. We found a match with a baby in NY and Paul got the [resulting stem cell] treatment in Texas.

When you vote for this bill, you are planting a seed…this is about cures, saving lives and new research. I ask you all to vote for it.”

The bill’s prime sponsor, Sen. Mary Pilcher-Cook (R-Shawnee) asked her fellow Senators to consider that, “ everyone has some kind of disease in family that has caused tragedy, our family has Huntington’s Disease.  Kansas needs to be in the forefront to help people.”

Kansas City ethicist at Rockhurst University, Dr. John Morris, had testified in support of the center as a deterrent to the alarming phenomenon of “stem cell tourism” in which suffering Americans are lured abroad – largely via internet– for unproven stem cell applications by unqualified personnel. The proposed center will be located in the Kansas City metro area, and will:

•    treat patients,
•    process and multiply stem cells,
•    create a centrally-located global database,
•    network physicians and scientists, and
•    initiate educational outreach.

In other action Thursday, the Senate passed SB 142, “Civil Rights for the Unborn” by a vote of 34-5-1. SB 142 will ban any so-called “wrongful birth and wrongful life” lawsuits claiming that the child, in essence, is a ‘damage’.  Nine other states statutorily bar wrongful birth suits and ten statutorily bar wrongful life suits.

SB 142 also addresses civil suits brought on behalf of the wrongful death of an unborn child, so that they can be filed on behalf of a child throughout gestation, not just after viability. The unborn child in Kansas since 2007 has enjoyed such protection under criminal law, as the second victim when a pregnant woman is a victim of crime.

Both SB 199 and SB 142 now move to the House for consideration.

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