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

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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