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The Kansas Department of Health & Environment (KDHE) today reported a 2.4% drop in total Kansas abortions for 2016, compared to 2015. 6,810 abortions were registered with KDHE last year (including 20 obtained by Kansas women in other states), a drop from 6,974 abortions in 2015.

There were two encouraging stats. Fewer Kansas abortions were obtained by girls under age 16 (46 in 2016, 55 in 2015), and the category of ‘filings of physical, mental or emotional abuse or neglect’ decreased to 4%, down from 6% in 2015.

Some disturbing trends, however, continue:

  • a 9.7% rise in gruesome, dismemberment method abortions, from 629 in 2015 up to 690 in 2016.
  • an 8.7% jump in abortion by pills from 44.3% (3,092) in 2015 to 53% (3, 617) in 2016.
  • a steady rise in repeat abortions; 65% of the total were not a first-time abortion, as opposed to 60%, ten years ago.
  • 7% increase –from 720 to 770 abortions in Sedgwick County (home of Wichita with two abortion businesses)– after a drop from 834 abortions in 2014.

Otherwise, rates of abortions, including age, marital status, and racial groupings, stayed basically the same.

The 2016 total consisted of 6,790 abortions obtained in Kansas (3,381 to non-residents and 3,409 to Kansans) and an additional 20 abortions Kansas women obtained outside the state, including one at 22 weeks or greater gestation. That is the age abortions are banned in Kansas, as that is the age at which the pain-capability of unborn children is scientifically recognized.

stop dismembering posterDISMEMBERMENT ABORTIONS
It is very discouraging to see an increase in dismemberment abortions of unborn children in Kansas despite state and national pro-life education detailing this horrible procedure. This in no small part may be attributed to the dismemberment method being labeled by clinics on their websites merely as “D&E” with the sanitized description as “removing the pregnancy.”

According to KDHE statistics for last year, 690 abortions were listed under the category of “D&E” method, 61 more than last year.

That means that 690 well-developed unborn girls and boys were hacked apart while still alive, and bled to death in Kansas abortion clinics.

Kansas in 2015 outlawed –by specific definition– the dismembering of still-living unborn children, but that ban is under a temporary injunction and thus not in effect. The Kansas Supreme Court is now considering whether to uphold that injunction under a legal claim that the state constitution contains a broad right to abortion that protects such barbarity.

Kansas has four locations for abortions, two in Overland Park and two in Wichita. Eight abortionists (five over age 74) are listed as on staff for all locations, without one bit of professional information about them on the consent form. Read details here.

Kansans for Life reminds pro-lifers to encourage their state Senators to pass the Disclose Act, requiring basic professional data be printed on online consent forms. Read more about the measure here and see the video here.

The House has already passed the Disclose Act. The legislature returns from spring break on May 1. The Senate contact information is here. Unsure who your state senator is?  Find out here.

Ron Estes wins 4th district seat

Kansans for Life congratulates the fourth district for electing pro-life State Treasurer, Ron Estes, to replace outgoing Congressman Mike Pompeo, who is now director of the CIA. UPDATE, Mar.18: KFL congratulates Sen. Jacob LaTurner (R-Pittsburgh), whom Gov. Brownback has appointed as the new state Treasurer.

Estes defeated pro-abortion attorney James Thompson, who was strongly supported by pro-abortion organizations such as Planned Parenthood, 53% to 46%. Libertarian Chris Rockhold received 1%.

Pro-life Kansans clearly provided the margin of victory for Estes, maintaining an all pro-life representation for Kansas in the U.S. House and Senate.

Preliminary results from the Kansas Secretary of State’s office show Estes taking every county except Sedgwick (where the city of Wichita is located) which he lost by about 1,800 votes to Thompson.

The Kansas seat was the nation’s first special election since President Trump’s election. There are more to come, primarily because President Trump selected a number of sitting Republican office holders to be part of his administration. Thompson said he will run again in 2018.

“Ron reflects genuine Kansas values,” KFL Executive Director, Mary Kay Culp, said. “It was not widely known until very late how extreme Mr. Thompson was in his abortion position and when it did become known, he tried to pretend he held different views from those he had clearly stated.”

Thompson’s position was to “repeal all infringement on women’s right to choose abortion, including [the] Hyde amendment,” as tweeted by Wichita Eagle reporter Dion Lefler. The Hyde Amendment is credited with saving two million lives.

Repealing all ‘infringement on abortion’ is the radical position welcomed by Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion business, which endorsed Thompson.

At a March 23 forum, as reported by the Associated Press, Estes promised he’d “defund Planned Parenthood,” mentioning “the ‘disgusting’ videos [that] he says show the group was selling baby parts.” (Kansas had first-hand experience with this baby parts scandal, as documented by ABC news in March 2000, see pg. 3, here.)

Thompson, by contrast, claimed the video expose was “fake news” and that “Planned Parenthood has done a lot of good.”

Kansans know which position is true, and voted that way.

Neurologist Bettinger at PP

Kansas has a history of abortionists lacking formal training in obstetrics & gynecology, and abortion clinics have kept women in the dark about that.

Even now, with Kansas abortion clinics posting their abortion admission/consent forms online, they have not been including profile data on their abortionists on that form.  Knowing zilch about the abortionist contradicts the intent of full “consent.”

Kansas abortion clinic websites (except one very newly updated site) give no inkling of

  • the abortionists’ ages (five of the eight Kansas providers are over age 74)
  • or training (or lack of it).

For example, the Planned Parenthood business in Overland Park, Kansas, has recently begun listing a 76-year-old neurologist/psychiatrist, Irene E. Bettinger, on their online abortion consent form.

Bettinger received a medical degree 51 years ago. It’s anyone’s guess why she’s begun doing abortions. There was no news release found about Bettinger, or her qualifications for abortion provision. Perhaps she’s getting “on the job” training from Planned Parenthood’s other two abortionists, 76-year-old Ron Yeomans and 75-year-old Orrin Moore.

Abortionists Yeomans & Moore

In 2005, Bettinger testified against a pro-life bill in Kansas designed to protect teens from rapists coercing them into abortion. She has financially contributed to Planned Parenthood. But that is incidental to the fact that Planned Parenthood has decided she will be their provider.

Women searching for information online about Kansas abortion clinics only learn what the businesses want them to know.

Abortions in Kansas are contracted with one phone call or email contact. The Kansas Board of Healing Arts website can be searched to find some data on licensees, but there is no information on malpractice suits filed, the state where the abortionist actually resides, or the length of time they have been employed by the clinic.

The Kansas abortion consent forms (all online) are statutorily intended to be a “contract” verifying that the woman is fully informed about “her” provider, the exact abortion method to be used, medical risks, and the developmental characteristics of her unborn child.

The current abortion consent forms are not personalized, specific fact-based contracts.  They name all the staff abortionists, leaving each woman guessing whether she is stuck with someone who

  • is very inexperienced –or long past retirement;
  • has merited– or been stripped of– hospital privileges; and
  • is only in Kansas a few hours per month for abortions and not available for complications.

A KFL priority bill, the Disclose Act, HB 2319, was passed by the Kansas House 87-37 on March 30. An identical companion Senate version, Disclose Act, SB 98, awaits a vote in the Senate after they return from their recess in three weeks. The Disclose Act requires seven bullet points of data for each staff abortionist be itemized on the consent form.

Women should be given all relevant medical information before weighing an abortion decision, as well as a list of the free maternity support services in Kansas. The Woman’s Right to Know website provides this information and state law says that abortion clinics must post “an easily identifiable link” to that site on the clinic’s “home page.”

But that is not happening!  One abortion business has no state link on the home page and the other clinics drastically reduce the link’s type size and use light grey ink so it’s barely visible, or readable, much less “easily identifiable.”

Abortion clinic websites that are not correctly following Kansas law to help inform women are at the same time withholding the most elementary and pertinent information about their staff practitioners.

That needs to change.

Sheryl Crosier and Gov. Brownback share a spontaneous hug after the official signing of Simon’s Law.

Appreciative parents, legislators and pro-life /pro-family advocates surrounded Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback this morning as he formally signed Simon’s Law.

Simon’s Law passed the Kansas Senate 29-9 on March 16 and the House by 121-3 on March 31. The victory culminated a grassroots campaign among families whose children with chromosomal disorders were denied life-saving care.

Simon’s Law is a very significant pro-life measure in the area of selectively “rationed” care and medical discrimination against children with life-limiting diagnoses. Simon’s Law:

  • validates both the medical advisory role and parental rights;
  • ends “secret” DNRs based on “quality of life” judgments;
  • buttresses dignity for children with disabilities;
  • exposes policies denying life-saving care; and
  • combats erosion of the Sanctity of Life ethic in our culture.

As catalogued in an award-winning 2014 short documentary, “Labeled,” a frightening number of children with chromosomal disorders are denied life-saving medical treatment.

Trisomy 18, Trisomy 13, and related genetic disorders have been routinely labeled “lethal” and “incompatible with life.” As a result, children with these conditions almost automatically receive DNR (Do Not Resuscitate) orders without parental consent.

That was the experience of Sheryl and Scott Crosier, who lost their infant son, Simon, six years ago.

Kansas pro-life legislators surround the Crosier family (left) as Gov. Brownback officially signs Simon’s Law with Frank & Ann Barnes at far right.

Simon had a diagnosis of Trisomy 18. At age three months, he had what proved to be a fatal apnea attack in the hospital.  While his parents held him, they waited in numbing shock as no emergency aid came to the rescue.

Later, Sheryl and Scott found that a DNR order was in Simon’s chart, which neither parent knew about nor approved.

After Simon’s death, Sheryl and Scott reviewed his chart and discovered Simon had only been given “comfort feeds” which are not sufficient for growth and development. He had also been given medications incompatible with his apnea. These revelations fueled their anger and their resolve to do something.

A LAW TO ALERT PARENTS
The Crosiers’ believed legislation was needed to

  1. stop the issuance of unilaterally-issued DNRs, and
  2. expose the practice of hospital futile care policies dictating scenarios in which life-saving treatment is withheld or withdrawn.

They began in Missouri in 2014, but certain medical interests were opposed and the measure has not yet been able to secure committee passage.

Kansans for Life  took up the original bill last year, and redrafted it with aid from NRLC’s Robert Powell Department for Medical Ethics. After an impressive win in the Kansas Senate, there was insufficient time for action in the House in the 2016 legislative session.

This year, the bill was refiled amid delicate negotiations between Kansans for Life  and hospital staff and hospital ethicists. The result was a more narrowly focused bill that was able to bridge entrenched medical objections.

The Crosiers approved the revisions and came to testify at the Statehouse with 12-year-old son Sean. The sadness and sense of betrayal of Simon’s death is still very real for them. Sean testified about how his excitement at being a “big brother” tuned into “pain and heartache” that still endures.

Parents of Trisomy kids rejoice in the signing of Simon’s Law

NATIONAL IMPACT
Frank and Ann Barnes from North Carolina also traveled to Topeka to celebrate the bill signing today. Their daughter Megan, was profiled last year in the NRLC News Today

Yes, Megan had limitations, but her mother described her as “content” and “knew she was loved.” At age nineteen, Megan was hospitalized for virus-caused dehydration, in a pediatric intensive care unit at a major teaching hospital. She was never to return home.

Due to her Trisomy 18 condition, a DNR had been verbally ordered into her chart by an “attending” physician without parental notice or consent. Megan was dead four days later.

Ann and Frank are actively involved with S.O.F.T., a nationwide family support group for Trisomy 13, Trisomy18, and related disorders. At today’s signing and press conference, Gov. Brownback invited them to talk about their daughter and the impact of her death.

As of July 1, Simon‘s Law in Kansas will mandate:

  1. Parents receive both written and verbal notification before a Do Not Resuscitate Order (DNR) is placed in a child’s medical file. Parents can then allow the order– or refuse it orally or in writing. Court access for disputes is delineated and the child remains safe during resolution.
  2. Parents and prospective patients of any age have the right to request and receive hospital policies concerning “denial of life-saving care” (sometimes referred to as medical futility policies). There is no mandate that hospitals have such policies.

See KFL Simon’s Law video here and more on the KFL youtube channel.

The American College of Pediatricians has congratulated the Kansas legislature for the passage of Simon’s Law, “on behalf of our most vulnerable patients and their families.”

In a letter this week to Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback, the College’s president,  Dr. Michele A. Cretella, urged him to sign the first-in-the-nation bill, which is exactly what will happen Friday morning in a public ceremony in the Capitol at Topeka.

As a backdrop, she cites a Feb. 2014 article in the journal Pediatrics, for her assertion that, “Once inconceivable, the practice of hospital staff placing a do not resuscitate (DNR) order on a child’s chart without the informed consent of the child’s parents or legal guardian is on the rise.” (see more here)

Infant Simon Crosier with his brothers before his death by secret DNR

Dr. Cretella congratulates that, “Simon’s Law is designed to prevent this practice. It will guarantee parents their inalienable right to participate in the healthcare decisions of their children. The willingness of some physicians to circumvent the child’s and parent’s or guardian’s consent regarding disagreement over medical care is ethically concerning. This is because medical decision-making is increasingly predicated upon the ill-defined and subjective concept of ‘quality of life’.”

She continues, “While a life with one or more disabilities may be considered intolerable by some, there are many children and adults with one or more severe disabilities who believe otherwise, as do their families. A medical team of highly accomplished, able-bodied individuals that relies upon its subjective and imperfect prediction of a child’s potential quality of life in the future, as a basis for its decision-making, is likely to be biased against preserving the life of a disabled child. Allowing these medical teams to then force that biased view on a patients and his family via unilateral DNR, approaches the practice of euthanasia.”

This is the context of why Simon’s Law is a great step in reclaiming a cultural respect for the dignity of human life. Dr. Cretella explains,

“Simon’s Law acknowledges every human being’s inherent dignity and the fact that patients and their guardians– most especially parents of minors– have the right to know policies concerning the ‘denial of life-saving care’.”

Dr. Cretella

In conclusion, Dr. Cretella writes, “Moreover, the requirement that patients themselves and/or their parents or other legal guardian receive both written and verbal notification before a Do Not Resuscitate Order (DNR) is placed in a medical file respects the principles of beneficence, nonmaleficence, justice and autonomy.”

Kansans for Life appreciates the support for Simon’s Law from such a respected group… one that defines itself as designed “to promote a society in which all children, from the moment of their conception, are valued unselfishly.”

Crosier family before Simon’s death

Kansans for Life’s top priority pro-life bill, Simon’s Law, has been sent to a receptive Gov. Sam Brownback for his signature.

Kudos goes to the tireless efforts of the Scott and Sheryl Crosier family for launching the grassroots campaign, in their infant son’s name, to enact a law which will save lives and solidify parental rights.

In final action Thursday, the Kansas House voted 121-3 in favor of Sub SB 85, Simon’s Law. The measure had already been approved 29-9 by the Senate two weeks ago, and requires:

  • Parents receive both written and verbal notification before a Do Not Resuscitate Order (DNR) is placed in a child’s medical file. Parents can then allow or refuse the order.
  • Parents and patients of any age, upon request, have the right to receive hospital policies concerning “denial of life-saving care” (sometimes referred to as medical futility policies). There is no mandate that hospitals have such policies.

Rep. John Whitmer (R-Wichita) carried Simon’s Law on the House floor with precision and in a heartfelt manner.  He recapped that Simon Crosier was a medically-fragile infant with Trisomy 18 whose death was caused by denial of resuscitation because a DNR was placed in his medical file –without his parents’ knowledge or consent.

Rep. Brim

Rep. Shelee Brim (R-Shawnee) was first up to speak in support of Sub SB 85 during House debate Wednesday. She referenced a close friend who had been urged to abort a child due to a “dire” diagnosis of anencephaly and spina bifida. Her friend refused and that ‘child’ is now twenty. In remarks committed to the House Journal, Rep. Brim said,

Little blessings like Simon may be on Earth for a matter of minutes, hours, or years. These vulnerable babies are not yet able to speak for themselves and I feel that their parents are their voices– NOT the doctors. We may not know the reason for the brevity of a baby’s life, but there is a reason. Simon’s life taught an important lesson and my hope is that we learn from this.”

Rep Dan Hawkins (R-Wichita), chairman of the House Health and Human Services Committee, commended the efforts to negotiate the final language with medical and disability experts and produce what is “not only a good bill, but a great one.”

Special thanks goes out to Representatives Kevin Jones (R-Wellsville) [see video] and Randy Powell (R-Olathe) [see video] who were the chief sponsors of the House bill, joining with 28 co-sponsors, including three practicing physicians. (See more Simon’s Law support videos here.)

Rep. Jacobs

Rep. Trevor Jacobs (R- Fort Scott) explained his vote in support of Simon’s Law,

I sincerely believe that one of government’s most essential and valuable responsibilities is to protect the life of its weakest and most vulnerable citizens, and that is the life of a child. In the Hebrew language, “Simon” means “to listen or to hear.” I have heard the cry for help and for justice [and] stand for the sanctity of life.”

Kansas stands alongside the Crosier family and other families who testified about victimization by medical discrimination and unilateral DNR placements. We hope other states are now encouraged to enact Simon’s Law.

For Kansas pro-lifers, being at the state capital today was better than a double-header at Royals stadium: two priority pro-life bills were passed on provisional votes.

First, the House gave unanimous approval to Simon’s Law, which had already passed the Senate, 29-9-2, and is gliding toward Gov. Sam Brownback’s signature.

State reps then turned to debate and provisionally passed the Disclose Act, HB 2319, by a vote of 85-38-2. An identical version of the Disclose Act (SB 98) has awaited Senate floor action for a month.

Rep. Susan Humphries

Rep. Susan Humphries (R-Wichita) expertly explained that informed consent for abortion is controlled by the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1992 Casey ruling. Kansas’ response was enacting the  1997 informed consent statutes, called the Woman’s Right to Know Act.

The Disclose Act is a very narrowly tailored update that advances “transparency” in decision-making for non-emergency, elective abortions.

Since the great majority of abortions in Kansas are now transacted with a single phone call or email, the Disclose Act requires seven basic “bullet points” of information about each abortionist be listed on the consent form.

Kansas abortion businesses are playing fast and loose with their online forms as far as “fine print.” Humphries stated the context of this bill is the “poor performance” of Kansas clinics when implementing simple state mandates, as when they publish a required link to the Kansas Health Department–but do so in reduced type in light grey ink.

OPPONENTS WEAK
Two hostile amendments by perennial abortion supporters were offered and failed. The first, by Rep. John Wilson (D-Lawrence) wanted to remove the typeface, ink and background requirement, which the clinics have brought on themselves by their past bad acts. The amendment failed on voice vote.

The second amendment, by Rep. Annie Kuether (D-Topeka), claimed that all state-licensed physicians should also have these disclosures on various surgery consent forms. She ignored the reality that with abortion there is almost never any existing patient/physician relationship.

Abortion is not just “another medical procedure” like knee surgery or skin biopsy, as Rep. Kuether portrayed.

Rep. Eric Smith

Rep. Eric Smith (R-Burlington) pointed out that what abortion supporters try to gloss over is that a second life, the baby, is involved in each abortion.

The Kuether amendment failed 41-84.

Supporting the pro-abortion amendment were five Republicans [Stephanie Clayton (Overland Park), Linda Gallagher (Lenexa) Melissa Rooker (Fairway) Tom Sloan (Lawrence), Susie Swanson (Clay Center)] and all Democrats except four.

The four Democrats who voted pro-life were: John Alcala (Topeka), Henry Helgerson (Eastborough), Adam Lusker (Frontenac), and Vic Miller (Topeka).

During debate, assistance for defense of the Disclose Act came from Shelee Brim (R-Shawnee), Pete DeGraaf (R-Mulvane), John Eplee, M.D. (R-Atchison), Greg Lakin, D.O. (R-Wichita), Les Osterman (R-Wichita), Abraham Rafie, M.D. (R-Overland Park), Scott Schwab (R-Olathe), and Chuck Weber (R-Wichita).