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By Kate Gruver, KFL Communications Director

I hate math. I get that sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach whenever my son would come home with questions on his math homework. I understand bits and pieces but, overall, it intimidates me and I usually don’t know what to do!

That is why one of the best presentations for me at the National Right to Life Convention this summer was a talk explaining all about the “math” of polls. National Right to Life executive director, Dr. David O’Steen, presented “By the Numbers, Understanding Abortion Polling Data.” Dr. O’Steen’s presentation explained what public polling numbers are telling us. Polls went from basic, “Do you consider yourself pro-life?” to more complex questions of level of abortion acceptability, morality.

Dr. O’Steen began with the basics from The Polling Company’s November 8, 2016 poll that shows an exact half and half ratio of people who consider themselves pro-life vs. pro-choice. That sounds like a frustrating statistic considering how hard the pro-life movement works to get the truth about abortion to the public. But, Dr. O’Steen corrected that assumption. The 50/50 poll is actually a “pat on the back” for pro-lifers!

Looking at the numbers going back as far as 1995 from Gallup polls, the pro-life stance has gained ground! When asked if an individual considers him/herself pro-life in 1995, it was 56% pro-choice, 33% pro-life. Wow! Half and half may seem like an unwinnable stand still, until it is compared to 1995, then it’s a victory! The numbers in between show the battles were slowly but progressively won for the pro-life movement. In 2006, considering oneself pro-life shot up 8% to 41% versus 51% pro-choice. In 2015 still growing, 44% declared pro-life, then in 2017 it upped to 46% and 48% in 2018. These Gallup polls tell us, keep up the fight! The tables are turning and we will continue to gain ground!

graph of Gallup poll

But there is a follow-up question. What does “being pro-life” or “pro-choice” mean? Seems like that should be obvious, right? Other abortion polling questions show us this does need clarification, where do people “draw the line” on abortion?

Gallup, Public Religion Research Institute, The Polling Company, and Marist Polls pose multiple questions on abortion acceptability to establish a baseline of belief, and, therefore, what the pro-life or pro-choice stances mean. These polls ask for a description of opinion toward abortion and offer 6 potential answers that best evaluate the different levels of beliefs and values. The options are as follows: abortion should never be permitted under any circumstance, only to save the life of the mother, only in cases of rape, incest or to save the life of the mother, only during the first 3 months, only during the first 6 months, available to women any time during pregnancy.

An encouraging Gallup poll from May 2018 shows 53% of those polled said abortion should be illegal in all or legal in only a few circumstances while only 43% said legal under most or any circumstances. A Marist Poll conducted from December 2017 – January 2018 broke it down further by asking “Which one of the following statements comes closest to your opinion on abortion?”

graph of Marist poll

These polls generally reflect that for someone who considers themselves pro-life or pro-choice, there are three levels to each side. There is a relatively equal opposing view on each side. The majority of pro-life polltakers (31%) said abortion should be permitted in the special circumstances of rape, incest, and to save the life of the mother, while the closest number on the pro-choice side is 26%, voting abortion should only be legal in the first three months of pregnancy. Pro-lifers in the next group, 12%, said abortion is only acceptable to save the life of the mother while 11% of pro-choicers said abortion is only acceptable through the first 6 months of pregnancy. The smallest number on the pro-life side was 8%, people that voted abortion should not be permitted in any circumstance. Unfortunately, the remaining poll numbers for pro-abortion were 12% stating abortion should be legal at any time during pregnancy. This parallel in numbers on each said indicate that whether pro-life or pro-abortion, most people believe that there are acceptable exceptions or regulations necessary and that only a small number of people believe 100% in one side or the other regardless. This also reminds us that we may have some common ground with those on opposing sides, and that we may not have the exact same views as those on the same side.

Dr. O’Steen discussed polls asking if abortion is morally acceptable or morally wrong. This subtracts exceptions and regulation from specific questions and just goes for degree of opinion morally. The Marist Poll from December 2017 – January 2018 asked “Do you believe that abortion is morally acceptable or morally wrong?” Of those polled 56% said abortion is morally wrong, while only 41% said it is morally acceptable. This same poll asked the question first posited in this article, “Do you consider yourself pro-life or pro-choice?” and it is split 48% each. That tells us even someone who identifies as pro-choice sees abortion as morally wrong, up to 8% of them as indicated in this poll! Why would a person see it as “wrong” but still authorize it as ok with their beliefs? The most likely answer in today’s society is a misguided, potentially libertarian view of, “I wouldn’t do it but I shouldn’t stop anyone else who wants to.”  It could also be that some people feel that the “end justifies the means” if it seems to be the easiest solution. We need to reach that 8% of the population and show them that “if it is wrong for one, its wrong for another” because abortion takes a life! Then we could tip the 48% scales well in the pro-life favor!

Gallup polls have also been conducted asking, “Is abortion morally acceptable or morally unacceptable?”

graph of Gallup poll asking whether abortion is morally acceptable

The chart shows that the answers don’t have much variability except for one year. A few things can be culled from this.

There are a small few that have no opinion or don’t consider abortion a “moral issue.” While it would be great to change everyone’s mind on life issues, this minority will not likely be changed easily and, as a small percentage, its likely not worth the pro-life movement’s time or investment to try to do so.

There is an average of 9.5% that feel abortion’s morality depends on the situation. Moral acceptability vs. unacceptability then does an unsurprising 9% fluctuation between the course of 16 years, paralleling the fluctuation of answers to the “do you consider yourself pro-life or pro-choice” question earlier in the poll. This percentage of people who tend more in the ‘grey’ area show a great potential for education! They are one of the cases that Dr. O’Steen discussed as game changers, a percentage of people in the middle that, if they learned the truth of abortion, would accelerate our numbers to a pro-life lead!

The Marist Poll of December 2017 to January 2018 polled on another very telling question about religious belief and scientific fact. The poll question posed “Is the statement ‘Human life begins at conception.’ a religious belief or scientific fact?”  The shocking answer is that 45% of those polled thought it was a religious belief! And 30% of those people self-identified as pro-life, while 58% self-identified as pro-choice.

These poll takers may think the statement “Life begins at conception,” is religious because it has been used on bumper stickers from spiritual ministries and on signs at churches. But it is a scientific fact! The 46% polled that stated it was scientific fact were 59% pro-life and 35% pro-choice. The trope that science and religion are at opposite ends of the spectrum is not new but it certainly seems to be to blame here. Saying life begins at conception is not scientific fact is like saying we need oxygen to breath is an opinion! Because something is a common pro-life statement and oftentimes used by religious pro-lifers, people have perceived “Life begins at conception,” as a religious belief and not scientific fact.

The interesting component is that of the 45% of those who think life begins at conception is a religious statement 58% were pro-choice, or basically, against the statement. The fact that the majority see it as religious and not science shows that people have bought into society’s attempt to manufacture facts to match what they want to believe.

Most people, perhaps, haven’t considered the basics of human biology to make the simple connection that our genetics are what make us an individual, and that is exactly what is created at conception.  This is a vain attempt to discard the rights of the unborn by defining a human as coming into existence at some milestone in time that works for abortion rights, like when it is visually human or the birth canal magically appoints humanity. A person doesn’t have to go very far into a biology text book to see; sperm + egg = fusion, fusion = new cellular entity. Every chromosome & genetic code an individual needs is written right there together. This zygote is completely new to the story of humanity, an individual person. This person only needs maturation time and nutrition, just like toddlers, kids, and teens need to get to the next stage in life! Despite accusations that “religion needs to accept science,” the 59% of pro-lifers that are likely religious, see the science quite accurately.

The Marist Poll of December 2017 – January 2018 shows another inconsistency in point of view.  The poll asked “In the long run, do you believe having an abortion improves a woman’s life or in the long run do you believe abortion does more harm than good to a woman?” 52% said abortion does more harm than good, while only 29% said abortion would improve a woman’s life. This same poll showed 41% of people found abortion morally acceptable and 49% said abortion was acceptable in either the first 3 to 6 months of pregnancy or anytime during pregnancy. Yet, only 29% of people thought it would actually improve a woman’s life! If abortion isn’t going to improve the woman’s life, which one could infer is the primary concern for the 49% who polled as pro-abortion, then why do it? Why would those 20% see abortion as morally acceptable, and yet, as not improving the abortive mother’s life? There seems to be a lack of concern not only for the pre-born, but also for the mother.

Additionally, those 29% who thought it improved a woman’s life need to be told about post abortion syndrome (post-traumatic stress disorder brought on by the abortion). This mental health reality can materialize days or years after the abortion and presents a myriad of symptoms, including suicide.

Dr. O’Steen’s presentation discussed other life issues that have been included in many of these polls. Both topics seem to slide in and out of the spotlight, garnering questions but not as many details as abortion questions.

Gallup polling from May 2018 asked, “When a person has a disease that cannot be cured, do you think doctors should be allowed by law to end the patient’s life by some means if the patient and his or her family request it?”

graph of assisted suicide poll

The percentages have varied slightly, by 6% in 20 years, but, overall, the polls have shown three-fourths of respondents in support of physician assisted suicide from 1996 to present. That’s alarming.

This poll question establishes very specific parameters that are considerably more easily summed up in the question than they are in reality. It confirms the boxes that have to be checked before assisted suicide is considered: incurable, professionally performed by physician, patient and his/her family request it, painless. It’s a lot easier to get an affirmative answer when the hypothetical is put into play for a direct yes or no answer. There are no additional detailed questions that establish the degree of opinion like with the abortion questions. And there are no measurements for the opposing view, likely because it’s a lot more difficult as there are many variables to many different situations and options.

What happened in 1996 to give the highest number, one that we are approaching once again in 2018? A good guess is one name, Jack Kevorkian. It was the mid-90s that assisted suicide was given his face. This was the time that the topic came to the forefront of the news and people began to form an opinion, likely tooled around watching a seemingly benign, retirement-aged doctor that looks like just another grandpa but is willing to end lives himself. How does the media play a role in today’s opinions? Reports are starting to roll in from European countries where physician assisted suicide is more and more commonplace and if its ok there, why not here?

Another interesting fact is the same question was asked twice in the Gallup poll from May of 2018 but with slightly different wording which yielded a 7% response difference. One question asks “When a person has a disease that cannot be cured, do you think doctors should be allowed by law to end the patient’s life by some painless means if the patient and his or her family request it?” The other asks “When a person has a disease that cannot be cured, and is living in severe pain, do you think doctors should or should not be allowed by law to assist the patient to commit suicide if the patient requests it?”

When asked if ending one’s terminally-ill life was ok, poll participants were 72% in support of it, while the question that used the terms suicide and severe pain only had 65% positive support. These questions were answered by the same people at the same time! This shows when people realize this is legalizing assisted suicide the number goes down. It is encouraging that, like abortion, oftentimes when people are fully aware of the reality of the issue, they are against it.

A Gallup poll from May of 2017 asked a variety of questions and compiled the results to compare answers from 2001 and 2017.

This poll asked if subjects were morally acceptable and included both doctor-assisted suicide and suicide. Doctor-assisted suicide was found to be morally acceptable by 49% in 2001, while suicide itself was morally acceptable by 13%. The repeated poll in 2017 added to these numbers. Doctor-assisted suicide was morally accepted by 57% and suicide itself by 18%! This poll shows numbers steadily increasing for the acceptability of all suicide! We need to activate! The more work we do in education the lower these numbers will get.

The 2017 Gallup poll also asked for the moral acceptability of “medical research using stem cells obtained from human embryos.” In 2001 52% found it morally acceptable, in 2017 61% found it morally acceptable! That 9% jump is alarming considering all that we learned in that time span.

Fetal stem cell research has never yielded a single cure for any disease. What has been found to work both more effectively and efficiently are somatic stem cells, or adult stem cells. Not only do they work for research but they also work better to heal sick or damaged cells. The body can heal itself better when its own stem cells are used!  Embryonic stem cells are not even needed!

Listening to Dr. O’Steen’s presentation felt overwhelming at times, a lot of data over a lot of years. The numbers can be confusing. But what we have to remember is that whether the data seems to be in our favor or not, we have to keep fighting and continue to have pro-life topics at the forefront of discussions and elections. Keeping ourselves up-to-date on the issues and spreading the word is key to making pro-life the obvious choice for everyone!

Kansans for Life, the state’s largest anti-abortion organization, fought for weeks to maintain a clause in the legislation designed to discourage a court challenge over its ban on drug-induced abortions. The “non-severability” clause is essentially a self-destruct mechanism that would automatically wipe the entire telemedicine law off the books if sometime in the future the abortion ban is struck down.” Click this link to read the story

     The unborn children won an important victory this last week, and the pro-abortionists demonstrated they were more concerned about promoting abortion than the healthcare needs of the general public. Your pro-abortion senators demonstrated an unprecedented radical pro-abortion ideology by refusing to conference on the telemedicine bill after votes in both the House and the Senate. This refusal may kill a bill that would provide fast, affordable healthcare through telemedicine.  (If you want to see how your Representative or Senator voted see our links below.)

     The debate involved a bill called the Telemedicine Act.  The bill would allow telemedicine, the delivery of healthcare services by video conferencing. The Telemedicine Act established coverage parity between in-person and telemedicine-delivered healthcare services and providers.

     Supporters of the bill indicated that this bill would improve access to health care. Doug Smith, Executive Director of the Kansas Academy of Physician Assistants, said in written testimony before the legislative committee, “Telemedicine services … can significantly improve the level of care provided to all, especially underserved populations. Sunee N. Mickle, Director of Government Relations at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas, Inc. said in written testimony before the legislative committee, this bill will create, “…a new mechanism for thousands of Kansans to receive medical care in rural hospitals and from their primary care physicians or their mid-levels.” Mickle indicated the bill would, “… help Kansans receive greater access to the most immediate health care services.“

     Since the purpose of the bill was to save human life, Kansans for Life asked for pro-life language to be added to the bill so that there would be a clear protection for unborn children and that no abortions could be performed by telemedicine. The abortion provision was needed in this broad bill to avoid sowing confusion about any reversal of the Kansas abortion pill protocol, requiring in-person physician delivery of chemical abortions, first passed in 2011 and clarified in 2015, with strong bi-partisan support.

     This provision is needed to insure women are not denied physician exam and confirmation of an ectopic pregnancy when baby is unknowingly developing outside the womb. Ectopic pregnancy is not ended by abortion pills and would remain to grow, rupture, and cause the mother’s death.

     Prolife State Representative Kevin Jones (R-Wellsville), explained his vote by pointing out:

“Telemedicine is an important endeavor, but not if it can be used to murder the future leaders of our State. The proper language must be included in the bill with no compromise. We are Kansans For Life, not Kansans For Life Sometimes.”

     Planned Parenthood performs abortions by telemedicine at 24 locations in the United States and plans to open ten more locations across the country.  With the latest KDHE statistics showing that chemical abortions in Kansas continue to rise, (up from 53% in 2016 to 58% in 2017), and once again higher than the national average of 45%, it was important that the telemedicine bill strongly reaffirm the state’s pro-life position.

     Realizing how important this bill was for thousands of patients needing healthcare, Kansans for Life worked hard to reach a compromise so the bill could pass. Working with other interested parties and stakeholders, Kansans for Life successfully found language that both promoted the bill while prohibiting telemedicine abortion. This version had bi-partisan support and passed the House unanimously.

     This compromise was not good enough for the pro-abortion lobby. The pro-abortionists wanted telemedicine abortions despite the laws protecting the lives of women on the books so they had the committee strip these important pro-life protections and sent the matter to the Senate for approval.

     Here is some background on what the committee did and why it is important. The Conference Committee stripped important pro-life protections and put the bill in a conference committee report. While the conference committee report on S Sub HB 2028 contained language prohibiting the delivery of abortions by telemedicine, it did not contain the clause making the abortion prohibition language non-severable. A non-severablity clause is language inserted in a bill that tells the court if you strike this one provision you must strike the entire bill. The non-severability clause is critical to the abortion language. Without it, the section prohibiting abortions by telemedicine would be struck down by a court. After a court strikes the pro-life language the remaining provisions would promote abortions by telemedicine. With the non-severability clause the abortionist wanting to do telemedicine abortion would not benefit by bringing a lawsuit.

     When Sen. Vicki Schmidt (R-Topeka), made the motion to adopt the conference committee report, pro-life Sen. Ty Masterson (R-Andover), offered a substitute motion to not adopt the report and send the bill back to the conference committee.

    Pro-life Senator Steve Fitzgerald (R-Leavenworth), in supporting the pro-life position stated:

“It is telling that the opponents of including a non-severability clause for the prohibition of abortion by telemedicine say the clause is of no importance as a court will undoubtedly disregard any severability clause and they claim that the prohibition of using telemedicine for abortions is redundant and unnecessary. Yet, they fight, as we see, to exclude the non-severability clause that passed the House unanimously on the pretext that the House conferees would not accept it. The real reason is that they realize that with non-severability it is unlikely that the section on abortion would be challenged in court as the remainder of the bill is too important. The only reason why non-severability is opposed is to prepare for an anticipated suit against the prohibition of abortion by telemedicine. There can be no other reason. They are setting the conditions for that suit. Again, with non-severability it is unlikely that the matter would come before the court as no suit would be brought. Without nonseverability we can expect the proponents of abortion to bring suit as soon as possible. That will endanger all of our anti-abortion laws and that is their ultimate aim.”

     Pro-life Senator Caryn Tyson (R-Parker), later stated in her explanation of vote:

“We must protect LIFE.  Telehealth is the delivery of health-related services via telecommunications, including telephone or internet.  By not including anti-severability language in the telehealth bill, the statute will leave a window open that could allow a judge to interpret law allowing abortions via telehealth.”

     Unfortunately, Sen. Masterson’s motion failed by a vote of 20-20.  You can see how your senator voted here. (A yea vote is a pro-life vote) The Senate then adopted the conference committee report on S Sub HB 2028 and sent it to the House of Representatives for a vote.

     Fortunately for the unborn children, the Senate did not have the last word. In the House, Rep. John Barker (R-Abilene), championed the pro-life cause by offering a substitute motion to not adopt the conference committee report. Pro-life representatives Eric Smith (R-Burlington), Randy Powell (R-Olathe), Susan Humphries (R-Wichita) and Sean Tarwater (R-Stilwell) all spoke on the House floor in support of Rep. Barker’s motion. The motion passed 75-45 and S Sub HB 2028 was sent back to the conference committee. You can see how your representative voted here. (A yea vote is a pro-life vote)

     The legislature reconvenes on Thursday, April 26. Should the Health Conference Committee meet again, it is critical that the non-severability clause specific to the language prohibiting the delivery of abortions by telemedicine be reinstated.

     Now the Senate Public Health and Welfare Committee Chair Vicki Schmidt refuses to conference the bill placing at risk all the patients that would benefit from telemedicine.

     Once again, a radical pro-abortion ideology threatens human life.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kansas filed a petition for certiorari to the U.S. Supreme Court on the recent 10th circuit ruling concerning Medicaid funding of Planned Parenthood. Last February 21, 2018, the 10th circuit federal appeals court1 ruled against the Kansas attempt to cut off Medicaid funds for Planned Parenthood.2  Various State governments including Kansas attempted to cut Medicaid funding for Planned Parenthood after the release of videos about the sale of fetal body parts. Then Governor Brownback had issued orders that Planned Parenthood would not be a provider that could use Medicaid funds as there were other providers available. Our Kansas Government officials alleged in the lawsuit that “Planned Parenthood manipulates abortions to harvest organs with the highest market demand” and that “PPFA executives are willing to negotiate fetal-tissue prices to obtain profits.” Planned Parenthood is one of the nation’s largest abortion providers.

The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals decided against the State of Kansas. The State filed for what is called a Writ of Certiorari which is a legal paper asking for the U.S. Supreme Court to review the case. The U.S. Supreme Court is not required to take the appeal. The U.S. Supreme will sometimes take a case for review when the lower courts split as they are on this legal issue. 

Gov. Jeff Colyer said, “Kansas is a pro-life state and Kansans don’t want state dollars being used to support abortion providers. The medical needs of Kansas women will continue to be met by other providers in the Medicaid and KanCare network.” 

We applaud the Kansas government for looking out for taxpayer’s money by questioning contracts made with Planned Parenthood.

 

Footnotes:

  1. Planned Parenthood of Kansas, et al. vs. Anderson 16-3249
  2.  Medicaid funds are not used to pay for abortions with certain exceptions. Starting in 1977, the Hyde Amendment banned the use of any federal funds for abortion, allowing only exceptions for pregnancies that endanger the life of the woman, or that result from rape or incest. The legislature removed from our Kansas state budget direct funding of Planned Parenthood years ago.

 

A state court has ruled that the Kansas ban of dismemberment abortion of a living unborn child violates our State constitution. In response, the legislature will consider putting a proposed constitutional amendment on the ballot that would allow the State to pass laws on abortion. The constitutional amendment will make it clear that the legislature can regulate abortions, including limiting late-term abortions, partial birth abortions, and ban the dismemberment abortion of a living unborn child.

If you read the Kansas Constitution, you would not find the words “right to an abortion”. The court looked at Section One and Two of the Bill of Rights and interpreted these sentences to include the right to an abortion. Section Two deals with equal protection. Section One reads, “All men are possessed of equal and inalienable natural rights, among which are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”. Odd that the court found the right to an abortion in a sentence talking about the right to life.

A constitutional amendment will save thousands of lives. Here is why.

A series of U.S. Supreme Court decisions limit state legislatures from passing laws regulating abortion. Our President will appoint additional pro-life judges to the U.S. Supreme Court.  It is foreseeable that the U.S. Supreme Court will reverse its previous decisions, and state legislatures would be able to regulate abortion. However not in Kansas because our Kansas courts “found” the right to abortion in our State Constitution.

This new constitutional right could potentially threaten all our pro-life laws on the books today. So, if we pass this amendment thousands of lives will be saved, and if we do not, thousands of lives will be lost.

Sadly, Kansas law forbids the live dismemberment of a lamb, cow, horse, calf, hog, and mule unless it is rendered incapable of feeling pain, but Kansas law does not provide the same protection for living unborn babies.  Passing this amendment will allow lawmakers to stop dismemberment abortions of living, unborn children in Kansas.

Contact your legislator and ask them to support this constitutional amendment that makes it clear the legislature, not the courts should make abortion policy.

You can make a donation to this effort by  clicking on this link

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