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Posts Tagged ‘“Woman’s Right to Know” law’

Kansas WRTK site has interractive ultrasound

Ultrasound featured on KS- WRTK

For decades, we have heard tearful testimony from post-abortive women who were misinformed about the humanity of their unborn child by the abortionist and staff. Far too many mothers have looked at sonograms of their current “wanted” pregnancy only to realize in private horror that the abortion they had years before, did not merely remove a “blob of tissue,” but destroyed a recognizably human, unborn child.

In the pursuit of selling an abortion, clinics cannot be trusted to promote medical accuracy. Unlike other acts of consumer deception, for which lawsuits would be entertained, abortion clinics fear no legal repercussions.

Instead, the one significant bar to total manipulation of abortion information came from the U.S. Supreme Court in its 1992 Casey decision. Casey allows the states to provide “objective, nonjudgmental, scientifically accurate” information relevant to making an informed abortion decision.

Kansas implemented that right in 1997 by creating a “Woman’s Right to Know” division of the state health department (KDHE), to maintain a 24-hour phone hotline and publish official informational booklets.  Every legal abortion in Kansas requires the woman (whether a Kansan or non-resident) to sign a paper that she “accessed” this information prior to abortion.

In 2009, the Kansas legislature was able to enact updated pro-life provisions for informed consent that were not vetoed –as had been the pattern under then-Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius. During a few-weeks window of time when she awaited confirmation as HHS secretary (and having described herself to the Senate Confirmation committee as pro-life!), Sebelius signed a pro-life law containing these main provisions:

  1. required clinics using ultrasound technology to honor the woman’s request to see the child’s ultrasound and receive a hard copy, 30 minutes prior to abortion; and
  2. instructed the KDHE to update all WRTK printed materials to a website.

[Unsurprisingly, after confirmation to the HHS post, Sebelius vetoed another pro-life bill, a late-term abortion ban. And both her administration, and that of her replacement, Gov. Mark Parkinson, botched the WRTK website project.]

IMPROVED 4-D ULTRASOUND
More importantly, however, was the fact that the WRTK website was indeed properly implemented in 2011, under pro-life Gov. Sam Brownback. Notably, the WRTK website was the first in the nation to include an independently-produced,  4-D ultrasound educational tool about prenatal development.

There has been significant traffic to the WRTK website, but the quintessential point is to provide “one-click” access to women at the crucial moments they are considering abortion. (Read more here.)

When women experience a lack of support for maintaining their pregnancy–or downright coercion to abort–they need every tool they can get. The WRTK website is a source of objective facts about pregnancy and a list of assistance centers. It is designed to enlighten and empower women, especially those being pressured by partners, friends or family members. Such information is best contemplated away from the abortion business, and a privately-accessible, trustworthy web source is ideal.

It is noteworthy that the websites of all four Kansas abortion clinics did include this WRTK link voluntarily from 2011-2013–even the (recently-closed) Aid for Women clinic whose website commentary roundly bashed the WRTK information. No doubt the clinics found that burying this link somewhere on their web pages would legally allow them to not physically hand out the WRTK booklets to their clients.

With the link thus so unevenly treated, and even scorned, the Kansas legislature in 2013 mandated that every abortion clinic in the state feature a live link to the WRTK site on their homepage, with a short descriptive tagline. The weblink tagline (tweaked in 2014) 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.

Two Kansas City suburban abortion clinics sued the weblink mandate as an infringement of the First Amendment. The injunction governing the weblink–obtained in state court by the Center for Women’s Health, in June 2013– was dissolved this summer. Notice of this action was sent to federal court, which has not yet acted upon a request by Planned Parenthood of Kansas & Mid Missouri for a similar injunction.

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Maddow weighs in on clinic closing

Maddow weighed in on abortion clinic closing

Reporters are still contacting Kansans for Life to ask what we think is the real reason the Aid for Women clinic closed abruptly last Saturday.

Our executive director, Mary Kay Culp, responded,

“It’s hard to know for sure why the clinic closed, but if it’s as we suspect– that women are better informed and more protected from clinic exploitation due to new state laws–clinic owners and operators would be the last to admit it.” 

Culp is referencing the state of Kansas-provided “Woman’s Right to Know” information.

Aid for Women so hated having to post the statement

 “The abortion will terminate the life of a whole, separate, unique, living human being”

on their website’s consent form, that they added this ‘commentary’:

This [statement] is untruthful because the fetus is quite dependent upon, not separate from, the maternal placental oxygen and nutrient acquisition and kidney’s waste disposal. The word “whole” implies “complete” but the fetus is not truly completed until birth. Also, cancer is unique, human and living, yet not deserving of life.

In response to such abortion clinic “factoids,” the state of Kansas enacted a law, effective July 2013 (tweaked slightly in May 2014), that requires each Kansas abortion business to post this on its homepage:

“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.”

Isn’t it instructive that not just the abortion clinic but other abortion proponents are reduced to hysterically bad-mouthing scientifically accurate information?

When women go to an abortion clinic’s website, they should be able to see the truth about their unborn baby before they commit to further action.

It is a fair inference, is it not, that equipped with accurate information, fewer women would chose abortion?

On Monday’s show, MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow recycled some of Aid for Women’s criticism. For example, Maddow said

“[T]he state of Kansas newly requires all abortion clinics to post this about the state’s official ‘talk you out of an abortion’ website…. And the clinic has made clear as day in context that they think that is hooey… that you shouldn’t believe, but they made us put it out.”

To emphasize the “burden” on the abortion clinic of having to provide an informational link, Maddow shows how Aid for Women added an ‘introduction’ to the mandated link on their homepage (archived here):

“We’re being forced by Republicans to use our website resources to say untruthful things about the state’s pro-life website in hopes you will visit their website and change your mind away from having an abortion. We must have this signage or go to jail. Republicans also don’t believe that rape causes pregnancy, nor that there can ever be too many children. They are stupid. Let’s vote them out of office. However, here goes.”

Maddow is obviously highly sympathetic to the Aid for Women business, quoting the clinic manager as revealing that they had struggled for eight years to find a replacement for the aging abortionist.

In addition, Maddow voices the clinic manager’s complaint of “ingratitude.” Maddow said,

“He told us, ‘We cannot seem to get some of these Gen Xers to take it seriously and vote. Why am I the only one fighting this?…The generation of patients whom we have helped need to step up and carry the torch instead of assuming clinic workers will always fight their battle.’ ”

So what do we learn from Maddow? That the poor abortion clinics are burdened by providing informational weblinks to pregnant women, when the unborn child is just like cancer, right?

Now that is hooey!

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Cheryl Chastine

Cheryl Chastine

Last Friday was the fifth anniversary of the slaying of George Tiller, notorious for performing late abortions up through the ninth month of pregnancy. There were a number of stories lauding Tiller.

We learn from the Wichita Eagle that a joint media conference call from Julie Burkhart, Tiller’s former Political Action Committee (PAC) director, generated the “Tiller legacy” tribute stories at NPR, MSNBC, Wichita Eagle, Salon, and other pro-abortion outlets.

These reports served several purposes: to portray Tiller as a hero, vilify pro-life legislation, and to promote the fledgling South Wind Women’s Center (SWWC) abortion clinic. SWWC is run by Burkhart, using an Illinois fly-in abortionist, Cheryl Chastine.

SWWC is located in the same Wichita, Kansas, building Tiller occupied for decades. Reporters were informed SWWC hopes to expand to Oklahoma City and possibly beyond.

The engine for the “Tiller legacy” media campaign is Burkhart, who ran Tiller’s ProKanDo PAC from 2002 until 2009. The PAC spent over $2.4 million dollars to elect pro-abortion candidates, including former Gov. Kathleen Sebelius (see details here).

After the Kansas State Healing Arts Board initiated legal actions to revoke Tiller’s medical license for violating the Kansas post-viability abortion ban, Burkhart left for St. Louis to head Missouri ProVote, a pro-Obama / pro-abortion political activist coalition.

Within a year of Tiller’s death, Burkhart had created a new group -–the Trust Women PAC– with the mission of stopping pro-life legislation and increasing abortion businesses in the “underserved” Midwest and South.

When the Tiller clinic was still in business in 2009, the Kansas legislature passed additional “Woman’s Right to Know”(WRTK) provisions aimed, in part, at the many women who were being led into late abortions to “resolve” their medically-challenging pregnancy.

The improved WRTK provisions included:

  • where to get free medical help, including perinatal hospice, for grave or lethal fetal conditions, and
  • a mandate that the clinic accommodate women who want to hear the fetal heart tones or see a current sonogram before obtaining an abortion.

This WRTK law requires the state health department to prepare medically-accurate pregnancy and fetal development materials in booklet form and available online, and to maintain a 24 hour phone hotline. Of course, according to Burkhart, this is just another “measure designed to shame and guilt” women, and burden clinics.

WHAT ABORTIONIST CHASTINE TOLD MEDIA
Based on several of her statements recorded in Friday’s Salon article, the 32-year old Chastine seems especially uninformed about Kansas’ WRTK abortion law. She said,
“It feels like there’s a third party in the exam room that doesn’t belong there, and I’m very clear with patients when I tell them that. I tell them, ‘The state wants me to tell you this. They also you to do this.’ I don’t try to hide the intrusion. I make sure that they know so that they can understand how their care is being influenced by unnecessary legislation.”

Chastine is quite emphatic about giving SWWC clients a rebuttal to information that she wrongly believes Kansas law requires her to “tell” abortion clients. But Kansas does not require the abortionist to say anything.

WRTK information was in fact designed as an out-of-clinic resource to both counter misconceptions relayed by abortion personnel as well as remedy a lack of relevant information preventing a woman from a freely formed abortion decision. WRTK laws offer a counterpoint to a rushed, forced, and irrevocable abortion, which is why abortion clinics hate them so.

Salon interviewer Katie McDonough further prods Chastine with this:
“Kansas is passing legislation designed to shame patients and place barriers to access in their way. I’m thinking of the 24 hour waiting period here, which is both intended to be a logistical barrier but also an insult to a patient’s intelligence….You probably see people who have come a long way, who have saved up, who taken off work — and you then have to tell them, “I can’t do this for you today. You have to wait 24 hours…”

To which Chastine responds,
“That’s extremely frustrating… I tell the patients…I trust you as a moral decision-maker, and I’m sorry that the state doesn’t do the same.”

The reality is that Kansas’ 24 hour period of reflection is nothing new. It was passed seventeen years ago. Moreover,  it does not require two onsite clinic visits and, in all likelihood, women don’t make two trips to a Kansas abortionist.

They can call the abortion business, tell them their estimated age of pregnancy, get told via phone or clinic website where to access the state materials, and make one appointment. The fact that pregnant women can stay out of the clinic and contemplate medically accurate materials is to their benefit and to the detriment of the abortion clinic’s bottomline.

A legal Kansas abortion does require the woman to sign a paper that she accessed WRTK info 24 hours before undergoing the abortion. Hopefully, each woman does attentively review the WRTK info (including ultrasound images)—especially those who are young, conflicted about abortion, or being coerced. Past testimony to Kansas legislative committees, as well as letters to the U.S. Supreme Court, have expressed the negative effects upon women who did not recognize the humanity of the unborn until years after experiencing an abortion.

Chastine maintains abortion is a “decision” morally equivalent to delivering a child.
“The people who are having abortions and people who give birth are not different people; they are the same people. And they make both of those decisions with their full moral decision-making capacity and for the same reasons.”

That kind of messaging may impress the SWWC staffers who (we are told) have graduated college with gender or women’s studies degrees. Those viewing everything through a lens of “patriarchal repression” may also agree with Chastine’s opinion that,
“I am very, very terrified of the rollback in access to reproductive healthcare… because the people who suffer from this are the most vulnerable in our society and the most voiceless.”

The rest of us think that the most vulnerable and voiceless are the unborn.

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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.

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pinochioTestimony last Wednesday to the Kansas House Federal State Affairs committee from opponents of this year’s version of the Pro-Life Protections Act, HB 2253, showed they don’t know how to read a legislative bill.

Pro-abortion conferees so misunderstood which parts of the bill include existing statute that they were asking the committee not to pass provisions [the pre-abortion 24-hour waiting period, and definitions of medical emergency and bodily health] that already exist as state law!

Of course, the other explanation is that the abortion lobby doesn’t care about accuracy as long as the spin works. Some examples follow.

ABORTION SPIN: Up again for consideration in Kansas is “70 pages of anti-abortion regulations”.

FACT: In Kansas, bill drafts must include the entire statute that is relevant– even for just a one-word change. The lengthiness of HB 2253 is due to the necessary inclusion of the revenue tax code plus the  “Woman’s Right to Know” (WRTK) handbook, issued by KDHE (the state health department).

ABORTION SPIN: This bill “forces doctors to lie” and “contains a huge amount of medically inaccurate information that doctors should never have to repeat.”

FACT: HB 2253 does not mandate abortionists “tell” women anything, period. The abortionist is free to disagree with KDHE materials, even mock them—as one KCK clinic has done on its website for years. By law since 1997, the abortion-seeking woman signs a paper for her clinic file that she has ‘accessed” these materials 24 hours prior to the abortion. HB 2253, codifying the WRTK handbook, conforms to the ‘reasonable patient standard’ in law covering potential risks needed to be revealed. If breast cancer and pre-term birth risks are nonexistent, KDHE can say so under this bill.

ABORTION SPIN: “No credible evidence exists” linking abortion with future pre-term birth.

FACT: In 2006 the Institutes of Medicine listed induced abortion as an immutable cause of premature birth in its publication on prematurity. A 2009 analysis of international studies concluded prior induced abortion, especially repeat abortions, as associated with a significantly increased risk of low birth weight and preterm births. KDHE finds this persuasive.

ABORTION SPIN: This bill says “abortion causes breast cancer”.

FACT: HB 2253 does not say that! It requires that the WRTK handbook “shall also contain objective information… including risk of premature birth in future pregnancies, [and] risk of breast cancer.”  The information currently provided is one short paragraph on each topic, based on medical and scientific evidence. To read the pertinent section from the WRTK booklet go here.

ABORTION SPIN: “Claims linking abortion and breast cancer fly in the face of scientific evidence.”

FACT: That sentence was taken from the national ‘fact sheet’ issued by Planned Parenthood and submitted by their Kansas facility as defending their opposition to WRTK info. However, two paragraphs further on that ‘fact sheet’, the section on breast cancer reads:

“reproductive factors have been associated with risk for the disease since the seventeenth century…it is known that having a full-term pregnancy early in a woman’s childbearing years is protective against breast cancer.”

Now compare Planned Parenthood’s statement with the first 3 sentences in the WRTK booklet under breast cancer risk :

Your chances of getting breast cancer are affected by your pregnancy history. If you have carried a pregnancy to term as a young woman, you may be less likely to get breast cancer in the future. However, your risk is not reduced if your pregnancy is ended by an abortion.

Gee, sounds nearly identical; even the World Health Organization acknowledged over 50 years ago that the first, full-term birth gives women the “greatest lifetime protection” against breast cancer. When a woman is pregnant, it is her unborn child who sends the chemical signal (after the 32nd week) to the mother’s breast cells to “mature” and become milk-producing. This breast cell maturation brings resistance to cancer-causing agents.

Thus, if an already-pregnant woman deserves all relevant information, the fact that delivering this child will enhance her breast cancer protection and abortion will decrease it, is relevant. And the fact that abortion raises future pre-term birth risk is also relevant. The KDHE is on solid ground, as is the Pro-Life Protections Act. (read more here)

Abortion opponents are intentionally promoting deceit.

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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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