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The governors and attorneys general of 22 states (including Kansas) have joined together to file an amicus curiae (friend of the court) brief to support Alabama’s ban on dismemberment abortions.

A temporary restraining order against Alabama’s Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act was issued in July 2016, one year after Kansas’ identical ban also was blocked, although the Kansas challenge is taking place in state, not federal, court.

Last Friday, the U.S. Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals received the joint “amicus” brief organized by Louisiana’s Attorney General. Included are six states which have passed this ban [Arkansas, Louisiana, Kansas, Mississippi, Oklahoma and West Virginia] and sixteen which have not [Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, Ohio, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, and Wisconsin].

Gov. Sam Brownback signs ‘first-in-nation” ban on
dismemberment abortion

This filing reminds that –as noted in the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2007 Gonzales ruling upholding the federal ban on partial-birth abortions– states have the right to pass abortion restrictions that (1) protect and foster respect for the unborn, and (2) regulate the medical profession as to judgment and ethics. Moreover, the amicus continues,

“the abortion method involved in this case is an exceptionally gruesome one, potentially even more so than the ‘partial-birth’ procedure at issue in Gonzales.”

ABORTION METHOD MISREPRESENTED
One method of abortion after the first trimester is induced labor abortions, done mostly in hospital settings. The child is prematurely delivered and dies.

Most other abortions obtained at that gestation are done surgically by “D&E,” in which the birth canal is dilated and the unborn child extracted.

The abortion industry defense of dismemberment abortions has been the claim that “D&E” is safe and used for 95% of second trimester abortions.

However, all D&E abortions are not being banned under the Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act, model legislation supported by NRLC and first enacted in Kansas.

Dismemberment abortions of still-living unborn children are a subset of D&E method

By design, this law bans only one specific method used upon a still-alive unborn baby. The law is defined as the tearing apart of an unborn child while still alive in the mother; a child who, in the words of U.S, Justice Anthony Kennedy, “dies just as a human adult or child would: It bleeds to death as it is torn limb from limb.” [Stenberg v. Carhart, dissent, 530 U.S. 914, 958-959]

To explain defending a law “requiring fetal demise before dismemberment,” the states authoring this brief insist they

do not intend to sanction abortion generally. They also regret being placed in the incongruous position as advocating for fetal death as a humane alternative to a procedure that should have no place in civilized society.”

ABORTIONISTS NOT FREE TO CHOOSE
States like Kansas that have enacted the dismemberment ban, have heard abortionists rely on the claim that because D&E abortions are “the most common,” that the state dare not ban them. But the state is not banning all D&E abortions, as noted above, a distinction that most media accounts resolutely miss. The multi-state amicus brief notes,

Kansas A.G. Derek Schmidt

“Even when some abortion providers consider a forbidden procedure to be medically preferable, the State’s reasonable resolution of the tradeoffs prevails. Abortion providers instead must work to find abortion methods that are more consistent with respect for life.”

Of course, the ultimate goal is for the Roe regime, and abortions, to end.

In the interim, it is promising that Kansas has emboldened 21 other states in supporting the federal appeal of the block on Alabama’s Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act. According to the amicus,

“By limiting the use of particularly ‘brutal’ abortion procedures, States further respect for life, both in society at large and in the medical profession in particular. They also protect women from the deep grief many of them are likely to feel if and when they later discover exactly how their unborn children were killed.

Justice Stegall

“Kansas’ highest court appeared receptive Thursday to declaring for the first time that the state constitution recognizes abortion rights,”  wrote the Associated Press’s John Hanna Thursday.

Indeed, the questions from the majority of Kansas Supreme Court Justices hearing oral arguments in the most important pro-life case in Kansas history, seemed focused on how—not whether– an abortion right will be framed to support a lower court injunction on dismemberment abortions.

Only one Justice, Caleb Stegall, repeatedly probed the problems of the Court “discovering” new abortion protection that, in effect, gives constitutional rights to some groups and not others (the unborn).

SB 95, which Kansas enacted in 2015, is titled the Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act. The measure prohibits abortions in which the fully-formed unborn child is torn apart with sharp metal tools, bit by bit, while still alive, inside her mother.

Unfortunately, the justices, the media, and those of us in the audience, never heard any description of an actual dismemberment abortion yesterday.

Instead, according to Janet Crepps, an abortion attorney for the New York-based Center for Reproductive Rights (CRR), women are the victims under SB 95. She told the justices that second-trimester non-dismemberment abortion methods were “experimental” and “painful” for women and an affront to their “privacy, autonomy, dignity and bodily integrity.”

Abortion atty,
Janet Crepps

And she said that with a straight face.

Solicitor General Stephen McAllister argued that abortion supporters want the Kansas Supreme Court to engage in a brand of judicial activism that ignored the text of the state’s constitution and the history of pro-life laws enacted in Kansas.

“If the people of Kansas want to create a constitutional right to abortion, they have a ready mechanism for doing so — the constitutional amendment process. Kansans have not been shy about utilizing it,” he explained.

CRR’s Crepps urged the justices to declare a “fundamental” right to abortion even broader than that created by Roe v. Wade, based on a “liberty” interest which has “evolved” during the nation’s “march to progress.”

She clearly aimed to undermine the “compelling” state interests that justify abortion restrictions and that are currently honored by the U.S. Supreme Court. These interests, cited in the 2007 Gonzales ruling upholding a ban on partial-birth abortions, include:

  1. That the State may use its regulatory power to bar certain procedures and substitute others, all in furtherance of its legitimate interests in regulating the medical profession.
  2. That the government may use its voice and its regulatory authority to show its profound respect for the life within the woman.

When questioned when the unborn merited constitutional rights, Crepps replied that those rights “attached” at birth.

At birth. That did not make its way into the Associated Press story, nor any other story in the Kansas media.

Abortion up until birth is an extreme position that very, very few Americans agree with.

A long line of discussion ensued on how that position can be reconciled with Kansas laws, including the fetal homicide statute [Alexa’s Law] allowing for prosecution of crimes resulting in the murder of unborn babies. Justice Stegall asked Crepps:

“How can we convict somebody of murder of an entity that has no inalienable rights, has no right to life? How can that be consistent? How can the state do that?”

Two of the justices seemed more concerned that without a state abortion “right,” women “would be forced to give birth” and pregnant women could “lose their lives.”

Lost in the discussion is the fact that abortion regulations in Kansas have always allowed “life of the mother” exceptions.

rally dismemberment sign

2015 Rally for Life urges ban on dismemberment abortions

The painful and barbaric nature of dismemberment abortion –violence that, under Kansas law, is not tolerated for pets and livestock in Kansas—was ignored.

Mc Allister warned the justices that the case before them does not require the drastic judicial activism that Crepps promotes, and that was exhibited in Roe v Wade, causing “more than four decades of havoc.

He closed his remarks with a quote from Justice Bryon White’s dissent in Roe: “As an exercise of raw judicial power, the Court perhaps has authority to do what it does today, but, in my view, its judgment is an improvident and extravagant exercise of the power of judicial review that the Constitution extends to this Court.”

Sen. LaTurner

Sen. Pilcher-Cook

Last night, the Kansas Senate approved Simon’s Law, 29-11, despite a last-minute hostile amendment from Sen. Barbara Bollier (R-Mission Hills).

All but three Republicans voted in favor of this Kansans for Life-priority bill while eight of nine Democrats voted in opposition.

Simon’s Law insures that parents are the decision-makers when it comes to Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) orders for their critically ill children.

Sen. Jacob LaTurner (R-Pittsburg) carried the bill on the Senate floor, and opposed the Bollier amendment as undermining the key purpose of the bill.

Baby Simon

Simon’s Law was introduced last year and passed the Senate but wasn’t heard in the House before time ran out on the session. It is named in honor of infant Simon Crosier, whose life ended when he was denied resuscitation in a hospital, after a DNR was put on his chart without the knowledge or consent of his parents.

Parents have been uniformly shocked and disturbed to discover that DNRs could be assigned to their children without their consent. In a number of cases, families testified that their children were treated as “not worthy of life” due to chromosomal disorders. Simon had Trisomy 18.

During Thursday evening’s Senate floor debate, pro-life champion Sen. Mary Pilcher Cook brought up the issue of medical discrimination. She cited a book by former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum and his wife, Karen.

In “Bella’s Gift: How One Little Girl Transformed Our Family and Inspired a Nation,” the Santorums chronicle medical discrimination against their daughter, Bella, who, like Simon, has Trisomy 18. Sen. Santorum recounts how Bella had to be hospitalized repeatedly and for six years, medical personnel continually advised the Santorums to let her die.

Sen. Pilcher Cook warned that medical discrimination exists, and cited last year’s study in which 25-76% of responding pediatricians said they were comfortable issuing DNRs unilaterally. That is the situation Simon’s Law is meant to end.

Vocal support for parental rights during the debate on Simon’s Law also came from pro-life Senators Rob Olson (R-Olathe), Dennis Pyle (R-Hiawatha), and Steve Fitzgerald (R-Leavenworth).

Sen. Pyle

Sen. Fitzgerald

This year, Kansans for Life collaborated with medical and disability experts to produce a slightly amended version of Simon’s Law, which was commended during floor debate.

Substitute for SB 85 requires that parents be informed orally and in writing, before an order for a DNR can be placed in the medical chart of an unemancipated minor.

The delivery of that information must be recorded on the chart. Parents can allow that order to proceed or refuse it.

During conflict resolution, the child’s life must be preserved. This provision was emphasized by Sen. LaTurner as particularly important.

Sub SB 85 also requires that hospitals and medical facilities with written “futility” policies about when life-sustaining care will be denied, must disclose them to patients (or prospective patients) upon request.

Simon’s Law will have a hearing in the House Federal & State Affairs committee on Tuesday. In the House, Simon’s Law has the sponsorship of 30 State Reps, including three practicing physicians.

Kansas Supreme Court

The Kansas Supreme Court will hear oral arguments Thursday morning in the most important pro-life issue ever to be decided in state history: whether a previously unknown  “fundamental” right to abortion is part of the 1859 state Constitution’s Bill of Rights.

This momentous case began in June of 2015, when abortion interests sued SB 95, the newly-enacted Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act. This first-in-the nation ban—which other states have enacted and others are now seeking to pass—would prohibit the barbaric method of tearing apart fully-formed unborn children, piece by piece, while they are still alive inside their mother.

Shawnee District Court Judge Larry Hendricks issued a temporary injunction against the measure. He concluded that abortion interests would eventually prevail when a state right to abortion was officially acknowledged. A split decision of the Kansas Court of Appeals on the matter last January left Hendricks’ injunction in place.

Solicitor General Stephen McAllister will argue the case for the KS A.G.

The legal team for the Kansas Attorney General, Derek Schmidt, has rigorously defended SB 95 as an authentic exercise of the state’s regulatory powers. They have repeatedly argued that any idea that Kansas actually has enshrined a right to abortion “is a fantasy.”

KFL FRIEND OF THE COURT BRIEF
As it had for the first appeal of SB 95, Kansans for Life filed an “amicus curiae” (friend of the court) brief, buttressing the arguments of the Attorney General.

The KFL amicus asks that the Kansas Supreme Court reverse the injunction issued by Judge Hendricks and “declare that no right to abortion can be implied or created based on the text, history, and jurisprudence of this state.” The amicus points out:

  1. The Hendricks’ ruling is in direct conflict with the primacy of place given to the right to life in the Kansas Bill of Rights, which declares, “All men are possessed of equal and inalienable natural rights, among which are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”
  2. The litigation against SB 95 thus far has treated the case as if no application of the ban is constitutional (called a facial challenge) when in fact, the abortionists challenging the ban have presented documentation that undermines that claim.
  3. The same logic that upheld the federal partial-birth abortion ban (in the 2007  U.S. Supreme Court’s Gonzales ruling) will also uphold a ban on the equally horrific shredding of still-alive unborn children.
  4. Senate Bill 95 is based on the simple proposition that causing gratuitous pain to other human beings is fundamentally wrong— the foundation of the Kansas statutory prohibition of torture and enhanced penalties for crimes involving torture.

In its conclusion, the KFL brief advises the Kansas Supreme Court that:

“There simply is no basis in the Kansas Bill of Rights for a ruling that requires the state to tolerate live dismemberment abortion – a ruling that affords unborn children less protection than afforded by state statute to the livestock in this state.”

Many pro-lifers are praying that the justices will be positively affected in this hearing tomorrow. The hearing will be live streamed here.

Rep. Humphries

Rep. Weber

Members of the Kansas House Federal & State Affairs committee heard testimony Tuesday on the DISCLOSE ACT, HB 2319, which requires that clinics list some basic professional information about staff abortionists .

For context, in Kansas, the abortion transaction is largely contracted online. After a call or email contact to the clinic, a woman is instructed to download the clinic consent form, time-stamped at least than 24 hours before the abortion.

By law, the form must include reference to the state Woman’s Right to Know website— with extensive information including a list of Kansas pregnancy assistance centers and an interactive website about gestational development.

What remains hidden from the woman when she “signs” the consent, is information about who specifically will be doing the abortion.Instead, the clinic lists the names of their staff abortionists, without adding one shred of basic professional data about them.

The woman contemplating an abortion in any Kansas clinic is unaware that

some of the abortionists commute from outside Kansas, 3-7 hours driving distance, to reach the clinic –where they don’t have local hospital privileges.

The attorney for the South Wind abortion business, Bob Eye, discounted hospital privileges as “not advancing women’s health.”

He was rebutted by Rep Susan Humphries (R-Wichita) who said that — just using abortion proponents’ assertion that only 1% of women are hospitalized after abortion–  is enough of a consideration to be a valid health concern for women. In Kansas, 1% would be 69 women of an annual total of 6,941 abortions in 2015.

For elective medical procedures in contexts other than abortion, the patient can easily learn about a practitioner from word of mouth and visits to medical offices. This is not what is happening for abortion. Rep. Chuck Weber (R-Wichita) remarked that women considering abortion should not be denied relevant information, leaving them to rely on “Google.”

CHairman Barker

Chairman Barker

Rep. Whitmer

Rep. John Whitmer (R-Wichita) described the goal of the DISCLOSE ACT as transparency, and asked the Planned Parenthood lobbyist, Elise Higgins, “what are abortion clinics trying to hide?” She replied “nothing” yet went on to decry the bill as aiming to “undermine confidence in highly qualified physicians.”

Perhaps Higgins was trying to deflect from the fact that some women may question why “highly qualified” physicians find themselves at age 75 and 76 driving long-distances to perform abortions for Planned Parenthood.

The House Federal and State Affairs Chairman, John Barker (R-Abilene), did not announce when the bill will be voted upon.

Kansas Democrat State Rep. John Wilson (left) expressed regret to MSCTC conferees Dr. David Prentice and Dr. Buddhadeb Dawn for not voting with the majority in 2013 to create the successful stem cell center.

Once in a blue moon, a lawmaker publicly admits he regrets how he voted. Those of us present at Tuesday’s hearing in the Kansas House Health & Human Services committee witnessed such a concession.

The focus of the hearing was the status report on the Midwest Stem Cell Therapy Center (MSCTC), given primarily by Board advisor, Dr. David Prentice and the Director, Dr. Buddhadeb Dawn. The room was packed and the presentation was positively uplifting.

Gov. Sam Brownback, along with the Kansas Legislature, had approved the formation of the MSCTC in 2013 to be housed at the University of Kansas Medical Center in Kansas City. The Center is designed to serve as a regional hub of stem cell therapy, research, and education as well as an engine for increased processing of ethically-derived, “adult” stem cells (ASCs) for patient use.

There are numerous kinds of ASCs derived from different human tissues (see graphic). The point is that no ASCs require the destruction of human embryos.

In 2013, those paying careful attention to the stem cell issue realized the overblown expectations about the usefulness of stem cells derived from human embryos. Yet state Rep. John Wilson (D-Lawrence) was still unconvinced of the need to fund a patient-centered medical center using only non-embryonic stem cells. He voted against the measure, although the MSCTC passed.

On Tuesday, during the Q&A period, Wilson congratulated the Center for its success and acknowledged that he regretted voting against its creation. KFL later thanked Wilson for his remarks and joined him in his enthusiasm for the Center.

ADULT STEM CELL PROJECTS
Dr. Prentice, a native Kansan and frequent expert testifying on bioethical issues at the Kansas Statehouse, described ASC therapies as the “gold standard” in regenerative medicine, with over 1.5 million people having been treated to date, world-wide.

His presentation examined the real patients who are benefitting from the current therapies offered at the MSCTC, such as 300 patients annually receiving stem cells in collaboration with the KU Cancer Center.

Prentice detailed some specific projects already underway, some in pre-clinical research phase, and others in planning stages. They include numerous new and innovative uses for ASCs targeting the brain, heart, spinal cord, liver, and joints.

Of particular interest is the groundbreaking direction MSCTC is taking on “graft-versus-host” disease, which can be a serious complication for some bone marrow adult stem cell transplants. Graft-versus-host is a problem in which stem cells not derived from the patient are introduced into the patient to replace those lost through chemo/radiation, but the cells begin to attack the new “host” as foreign.

MSCTC’s director, cardiologist Dr. Dawn, is described by Prentice as one of the world leaders in cardiac repair technologies. With Dr. Dawn and other specialists at the Center, patients with severe heart ailments– formerly “without hope”– are given hope with adult stem cells.

Director Dawn pointed proudly to the Center’s accomplishments in a mere 3 ½ years, and described continuing efforts to collaborate with other scientists and private companies as well as develop methods and products that can be patented.

The fifth MSCTC annual conference is scheduled for September 15-16. Details about it and the Center can be found at http://www.kumc.edu/msctc.html.

The Midwest Stem Cell Therapy Center, committed to advancing the use of ethical science, is proving itself to be everything we hoped for.

Sen. LaTurner

Kansans for Life applauds the Kansas Senate Federal and State Affairs chair, Jacob LaTurner (R-Pittsburg), and members of the committee for advancing an amended version of SB 85, Simon’s Law, to the full Senate for consideration.
SB 85 (Substitute) requires that:

  • parents receive written and oral notification before any DNR is placed in their child’s medical file–which they have the right to refuse;
  • any patient or prospective patient has the right to review existent medical facility “futility” policies governing the supply or denial of resuscitation and life sustaining treatments.

The legislation is named after Simon Crosier, who had Trisomy 18, a chromosomal condition.  Simon died after he was denied resuscitation at just three months of life.

Infant Simon gazed at his mom, Sheryl Crosier

Later, the Crosiers discovered to their shock and horror, that a DNR (Do Not Resuscitate Order) had been placed in the infant’s medical file without his parents’ knowledge or consent.

Introduced late in the Kansas legislative session last year, Simon’s Law passed the Kansas Senate 33-7 but was too short on time to work through the House process. Mary Kay Culp, KFL Executive Director, said,

“Simon’s Law establishes a significant advance toward protecting medically fragile children from discrimination and secures the rights of all parents to be fully informed decision-makers when their child’s life is at stake.

Heart-breaking testimony supporting Simon’s Law has come not only from the Crosier extended family in Kansas, but from other families across the nation whose children were issued DNRs without full parental input. Pediatric specialists, national medical groups, and members of the disability rights community testified in support of Simon’s Law.

KFL thanks the Senate Federal and State Affairs Committee for their work and urges the full Senate to quickly take the matter up for consideration.

If approved by the Senate, Simon’s Law will go to the House for further consideration. House members already are enthusiastic about passage of Simon’s Law and have filed a companion bill, HB 2307, with 30 co-sponsors