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Archive for March, 2013

welcome kansas (2)KDHE, the state health department, released preliminary annual data on abortions performed in Kansas, showing a 5.4 % decrease overall from 7, 885  in 2011 to  7,457 abortions in 2012.  This is  the lowest state total since 1987, two years after all abortion providers were legally mandated to report.  The total was divided between 3,661 obtained by residents and 3,796 by non-residents.

143 women were certified for abortion at Kansas clinics this year and did not return to obtain the procedure, compared to 182 in 2011. KDHE does not collect reasons for these “no-returns.” Kansas requires “Woman’s Right to Know” (WRTK) informed consent materials be accessed 24 hours prior to abortion, whether received from the abortion clinic at her initial visit, or through the state hotline, or just by viewing online at http://www.womansrighttoknow.org.

It is not unreasonable to surmise that the WRTK materials both contribute to “no-returns” as well as deter some women from ever entering a clinic.  A woman contemplating abortion may fear a lack of support for her pregnancy needs, or be responding to subtle or overt pressure from her family or the father of the child.  In the WRTK info, she finds:

  1. fetal development explanations with high definition real-time sonography;
  2. a directory of statewide locations for free individual ultrasounds and 80 pregnancy maintenance centers;
  3. links to assistance for medically-challenging pregnancies;
  4. warnings that coerced abortions are illegal.

OTHER STATS:
All categories saw a decrease except “RU486” abortions by pill, which rose from 20% to 30% of total Kansas abortions. This rate exceeds the 2012 CDC chemical abortion national average of 17.4%. Kansas enacted a ban on chemical abortion obtained “by webcam” in the 2011 clinic regulation law, which is not in effect due to litigation.

Two-parent consent for abortions to minors under age 18 became law in July 2011.  KDHE did not publish the number of requests for judicial bypass (waiver of parental consent). Abortions to minors continue to decline, with those obtained by minors numbering 331 in 2011 and 304 in 2012.  Abortions to girls age 15 and under declined from 32 in 2011 to 25 in 2012.

Since July 2011, Kansas bans abortions to pain-capable unborn children at 22 weeks gestation, and KDHE reports 3 Kansas women obtained out-state abortions past 22 weeks gestation, compared with 8 in 2011 (before and after the new law).

Continuing a two-year trend, more abortions in Kansas are obtained by non-residents than residents. In 2011, non-resident abortions exceeded resident by 3,939 to 3,912, in 2012 by 3,796 to 3,661. 97% of the non-residents are from Missouri, a consistent figure, as 2 of 3 Kansas abortion providers  are located in the Kansas City KS/MO metro area.

There were 5 reports of abuse or neglect collected in conjunction with these abortions (4 in 2011) but no further details on resolution of these matters are published.

HB 2253, the Pro-Life Protections Act, has passed the House and awaits Senate action next week. Relevant to informed consent, HB 2253 will:

  • add clarifying language to the coercion warnings that must be posted inside abortion clinics;
  • maintain modest, medically-based risk discussion in WRTK materials about abortion, pre-term birth and breast cancer;
  • require KDHE to beef up medical information access and community support connections for coping with pre- and post-natally-diagnosed disabilities.

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Rep. Jan Pauls

Rep. Jan Pauls

Kansas passed three pro-life measures Tuesday. Two of them (SB 142 and SCR 1606) are headed to Gov. Sam Brownback’s desk, the third (SB 199, creating a stem cell center) is temporarily stalled in conference due to the addition of a friendly amendment.

Pro-lifers are acutely aware that over 55 million unborn children have been denied the right to life because of Roe v. Wade. However Roe’s interior logic has also infiltrated courtrooms increasingly in the form of ‘wrongful birth’ and ‘wrongful life’ lawsuits. These are suits brought under the claim that money damages are owed the parents because the baby—most often one with some significant disability—should not be alive.

Kansas passed SB 142 ‘Civil Rights for the Unborn’ by a vote Tuesday of 89-33 in the House, following earlier Senate passage by a vote of 34-5. Currently, thirteen states bar wrongful birth claims by statute or case law and 34 bar wrongful life suits by statute or case law.

This bill does not interfere with the proper filing of malpractice for obstetric negligence and incompetence. However, this simple truth did not deter abortion supporters from telling the nation that Kansas doctors will be free under this bill to “lie to women.” After making that claim at the bill’s hearing in the House Corrections & Juvenile Justice committee, and

when challenged directly by pro-life Rep. Jan Pauls, the Kansas N.O.W. lobbyist reasserted that only pro-choice doctors will not lie to women.

Additionally noteworthy is the provision in SB 142 that allows civil causes of action for wrongful death of an unborn child (outside of the abortion context) to be filed throughout the entire nine months of gestation, not just after viability. SB 142 is the civil counterpart of Kansas’ 2007 “Alexa’s Law,” allowing criminal prosecution when the unborn is a victim of crime.

Also on Tuesday, SCR 1606, a joint chamber resolution recognizing the work of pregnancy maintenance centers in Kansas and across the nation, passed the House 122-0 after having passed the Senate.

Kansas has eighty pregnancy maintenance help centers. (If you divide the estimated 2,000 national centers by 50 states that would yield an average of 40 per state.) These centers are a vital component of the pro-life movement. Recent testimony from one center in the Kansans City area indicated 95% of their clients are being pressured to abort by the father of the unborn child. (See this.)

Finally on Tuesday, SB 199 passed the House by a vote of 90-32, having previously passed the Senate with a vote of 33-7. Procedurally, the bill had to return to the Senate for re-passage because of a small technical addition.

SB 199 establishes the Midwest Adult Stem Cell Therapy Center at the University of Kansas Medical Center in collaboration with the Blood and Marrow Transplant Center of Kansas and the Via Christi Cancer Institute in Wichita.  “All funds and facilities shall be dedicated to treatments and research with adult, cord blood and related stem cells and non-embryonic stem cells.

No funds or facilities shall involve embryonic stem cells or fetal tissue cells.”

 The Center will:
  • serve as a core facility to produce clinical grade stem cells;
  • create and maintain a database resource for physicians and patients that provides a comprehensive global list of available stem cell clinical trials and therapies;
  • initiate clinical trials with adult, cord blood and related stem cells;
  • create education modules to train and educate physicians and research scientists.

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Rep. Lance Kinzer

Rep. Lance Kinzer

The Kansas House today provisionally passed HB 2253, an updated version of last year’s Pro-Life Protections Act, with a final vote to be taken Wednesday. UPDATE Mar.20: Passed 92-31

The bill–which passed without any of the four hostile amendments offered–

  • removes tax breaks for abortionists and tax funding of abortion & abortion training;
  • codifies informed consent already created and in use by KDHE (state health dept.);
  • unifies abortion statute definitions;
  • adopts ‘Life begins at conception/fertilization’ as basis for legislation; and
  • improves support for medically-challenging pregnancies and disabled children.

Opponents’ game plan today was to introduce a new headline for the liberal press—which ate it right up—that Kansas rejected a rape exception for abortion. Nevermind that the ‘exception’ was actually a bold attempt to overthrow ALL state abortion regulation from the past two decades with one floor amendment. The headline got through, to be sent out on social media.

Neither did abortion supporters brush aside their usual untruths that the Kansas bill is ‘sweeping’ and forces doctors to lie to women that abortion causes breast cancer. No matter how many times the truth is told that the bill contains over 50 pages of required tax statutes, and that abortionists will not be required to utter any KDHE scripted remarks, they will ignore it.

The most vocal opponent, as usual, was long-retired anesthesiologist, Rep. Barbara Bollier with her perennial complaint that the bill was medically inaccurate. “I’m so disappointed in you all who have not gone to medical school, who have not gone to nursing school and think you know better. It’s shameful” said the Republican from Mission Hills, addressing the House.

Bollier has many ‘facts’ wrong, for example,

there is no phrase “abortion-causes breast-cancer” in the state informed consent materials, or in this bill that codifies those materials—no matter how many times she repeats it.

Even though she was made to admit at the podium, near the end of debate, that the first full-term pregnancy is well known to give lifetime risk protection from breast cancer, Bollier stubbornly said that does not prove that abortion has any effect on a pregnancy. She denied the logic of alerting a woman experiencing her first pregnancy of the risk that can result by preventing a full term delivery!

The first of Boiller’s 3 hostile amendments attempted to remove the topic of abortion’s link to breast cancer and pre-term future births from Woman’s Right to Know informed consent materials. Then Bollier tried to delete information describing the pain capability of the unborn child from the same materials. As she did 2 years ago when fighting passage of a law protecting pain-feeling unborn children, Bollier insisted no science backs it up. This time, her defense was more astounding.

First, Bollier—who has not practiced medicine for 14 years, was flat out wrong when she told House members that anesthesia is never given to unborn children directly, but only through their mothers. Then, in an even more insistent and embarrassing display, she argued that unborn children can’t feel pain, or “feel” a stress reaction, they can only “mount” a stress reaction!

HB 2253 bill sponsor, and House Judiciary chairman, Rep Lance Kinzer (R-Olathe), rebutted Bollier:

When it comes to stress reactions I imagine an unborn child does indeed experience stress when being dismembered and having arms and legs torn off. He cited the scientific evidence at doctorsonfetalpain.org.

Retired surgeon, freshman Rep. Shanti Gandhi, (R-Topeka) stood in strong support of the bill: “I come here to confirm one fact that’s indisputable, at least in my case having studied medicine, that is that life does start at conception. If we believe that, I think this bill is too long. All it needs is one paragraph that says life begins at conception.”

Speaking in SUPPORT of the bill were Reps. Kinzer, Gandhi, Steve Brunk (R-Wichita), Peggy Mast (R- Emporia), Allan Rothlisberg (R-Grandview Plaza), and Joe Edwards (R-Haysville).

Speaking in OPPOSITION to the bill were Reps. Bollier, Jim Ward (D-Wichita), Louis Ruiz (D-Kansas City), Anne Kuether (D-Topeka), Annie Tietze (D-Topeka), John Wilson (D-Lawrence), Roderick Houston (D- Wichita), Patricia Sloop (D-Wichita), and Carolyn Bridges (R-Wichita).

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Kari RInker

Kari Rinker

This is National Multiple Sclerosis Society (MSS) Awareness Week, but anyone who desires a positive public image for MS faces two problems: the MSS advocacy of embryonic stem cell (ESC) research and MSS’ choice of an abortion activist as a regional coordinator/lobbyist.

First, and unbeknownst to most donors and volunteers, is that MSS’ official support for stem cell research includes the embryo-destructive kind (see here). Two weeks ago in Georgia, an MS activist testified in opposition to an embryo protection bill even though there are no MS cures or promising clinical trials using ESC. In fact, adult stem cells are providing actual successful treatments for MS (see here, here and here).

Support for ESC is an unethical position that will alienate a number of pro-lifers, and likely dissuade them from joining with MSS to help promote the interests of MS victims.

Secondly, what explains why the MSS Mid America chapter (covering Kansas, Western Missouri, and Nebraska) hired an ACORN-styled street fighter, Kari Rinker, to be their voice at the state Capitol in Topeka this year?

Rinker lobbied from 2009-2012 on behalf of the Kansas National Organization for Women (N.O.W.) Her no-holds-barred style gained additional notoriety last year when she pounded a rubber stamp on the committee podium when testifying against a pro-life bill.

Rinker’s commentary is regularly found in national extreme liberal press outlets, including the Daily Kos, Huffington Post, and Rachel Maddow Show– due to her perspective as ‘speaking truth to power in an anti-woman Republican state’. In Rinker’s words:

Rinker organized online harassment of pro-life Gov. Brownback (see here and here). She complained about him attending a prayer summit and the national day of prayer. She regularly derided his vision for creating a Culture of Life, as coming “from his mansion…while pimp[ing] out poverty-stricken single mothers”.

‘Shaming events’ (here and here) were proudly organized by Rinker and broadcast nationally, against the sponsor of a 2011 Kansas pro-life insurance law– a law that she and the American Civil Liberties Union sued, and lost.

Rinker goes beyond advocating the standard N.O.W. position for gay marriage and mandatory emergency contraception when slamming ‘rabid-dog bishops’ for defending religious liberty. She recently Facebooked this: ‘Pope-schmope, I was sick of hearing about it before this conclave sh-t even started’ and posted other mockery of the Catholic church.

At the end of last year, Rinker announced she had quit as N.O.W. lobbyist, so her showing up at an abortion hearing and a pro-choice luncheon, while wearing the official lobbying badge for MSS, might be written off as coincidence.  But she continues, to this day, to publish aggressive misinterpretations of pro-life legislation in the most liberal media venues.

This inevitably leads to the question of whether she may be taking advantage of her (assumedly salaried) MSS staff position to keep her hand in abortion lobbying and to train her young N.O.W. replacement.  In fact, Rinker’s Facebook page features a large MSS awareness banner reading “connections count” but the postings below it are mainly abortion connections.

Certainly, she is entitled to her opinions, but does MSS, much less their donors, know that they hired a gal who continues to actively promote a radical social agenda that includes bashing the very Kansas officials with the power to help MS advocacy?

On Wednesday, when she was traversing the Capitol to publicize MS Awareness Week, Rinker filed this national post, which criticizes specific Kansas legislators and bemoans how our state has the most “harmful abortion restrictions”!

It’s a no-brainer that lobbyists tasked with securing public support and helpful legislation are supposed to make friends and win over opponents. How can Rinker win over the 3/4 of the Kansas House and Senate who are pro-life, when she continues to slam them in the national press and on social media around the state? And will MSS donors and volunteers tolerate Rinker’s representation?

Whatever the answers, MS victims are not being well-served.

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Ruth Tisdale, Advice & Aid (left) and Donna Kelsey, Wyandotte Pregnancy Clinic (right) with KFL's lobbyist, Jeanne Gawdun

SCR 1606 conferees Ruth Tisdale, Advice & Aid Pregnancy Centers Inc.(left) and Donna Kelsey, Wyandotte Pregnancy Clinic (right) with KFL’s lobbyist, Jeanne Gawdun

Moving through the Kansas legislative process this week were two measures combating abortion coercion: the Pro-Life Protections Act and SCR 1606, a resolution commending pregnancy maintenance resource centers (also known as crisis pregnancy centers).

SCR 1606 was adopted by the Senate (fittingly) on Jan. 22 and recognizes the valuable contribution of such centers nationally, as well as the 71 Kansas centers officially found in the state informed consent registry. The resolution was sent to the House Health & Human Services Committee, which on Wednesday heard presentations of the work done at these centers– work the Kansas Catholic Conference testimony described as the “front lines of the Pro-Life movement” where “caring individuals offer the material and emotional assistance that changes lives, and even saves them”.

But how stunning to hear that 95% of the women at one center were headed for an abortion due to the unborn child’s father! The center’s director described their task as helping the woman “own” her pregnancy decision and providing her with true medical information about her baby. Although the media did not attend this committee hearing, would they have filed the story of rampant abortion coercion had they been there?  You know the answer.

The media description of the Pro-Life Protections Act, HB 2253, likewise, overlooks how the bill addresses abortion coercion. HB 2253 passed out favorably from the House Federal & State Affairs committee on Thursday and was reported as a “sweeping regulatory” bill, viewed “by opponents as the biggest threat to access”.

The press angle is all too predictable—how are abortionists being harmed and how are abortion-seeking women interfered with by the state? Never a politically incorrect story about protecting women from systematic victimization by the abortion industry.

Nevertheless, not only the wonderful pregnancy maintenance centers, but pro-life legislation aims at helping abortion-vulnerable woman who feel the lack of support for giving birth. Women who may be coerced into abortion are addressed in at least four ways by HB 2253, which:

  • strengthens a state-produced anti-coercion warning which abortion clinics must post inside the premises;
  • empowers a pregnant women by insuring she has access to scientific risks that meet the legal standard of information relevant to her pregnancy decision;
  • requires abortion businesses to link to the entire state’s “Woman’s Right to Know” website with 4-D ultrasound presentations on gestational development;
  • adds new services for women diagnosed with “medically challenging” pregnancies.

The last bullet point addresses the fact that abortion has been promoted, not only as a solution to unborn children diagnosed with serious and lethal conditions, but even for those with Down Syndrome. In HB 2253, a national perinatal (pre- and post- birth) Hospice registry becomes part of state information, as well as a mandate that the state health department co-ordinate and provide support systems for Down syndrome and other prenatally and postnatally diagnosed conditions.

This new mandate to strengthen the information available to help families face challenging medical outcomes is modeled after the Brownback-Kennedy federal bill which—while passed—never was properly funded. Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback sponsored the bill as U.S. Senator, noting that, 90% of children prenatally diagnosed with Down syndrome are aborted.

That percentage is similar for children prenatally diagnosed with other conditions such as spina bifida, cystic fibrosis, and dwarfism.

Rep. Steve Brunk (R-Wichita) told the Federal & State Affairs committee of his daughter’s spina bifida condition, and the lack of resources which propelled him to create, and lead for ten years, the Spina Bifida Association group in Kansas.

So these are some of the “sweeping” provisions of Kansas pro-life legislation that are never deemed “newsworthy”.

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