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Archive for June, 2013

District Judge Rebecca Crotty

District Judge Rebecca Crotty

Nearly 99 % of the Kansas Pro-life Protections Act, HB 2253, will go into effect on Monday after the Center for Women’s Health (CWH) in Overland Park failed to get the entire law enjoined in state court.

Two minor provisions have been blocked while the case proceeds under Shawnee District Judge Rebecca Crotty. Judge Crotty ruled that CWH had not met the legal standard for winning a restraining order against the entire law –even though they had submitted an “everything but the kitchen sink” legal filing.

What will not go into effect from HB 2253 is

  1. a specific medical emergency definition already in Kansas statute that needs clarification for abortions before 22 weeks gestation, and
  2. a new requirement that the clinic website’s homepage put a descriptive label on a hyperlink to the state’s right to know website .

Neither provision is substantive and clarification of the definition can easily be remedied.

As to the hyperlink, Kansas abortion clinic websites have long included the state link, but object to the labeling of the state information as medically accurate. The U.S. Supreme Court , in its 1992 Casey ruling, established the state’s right to force clinics to provide access to scientifically accurate information prepared by the state concerning gestational development and medical risks of abortion since women had routinely been given misinformation, including that their unborn child was “only a clump of cells.”

In related litigation, another clinic is suing HB 2253. Comprehensive Health/Planned Parenthood of Kansas Mid-Missouri last week filed in federal court to obtain an injunction against section 14 of the law, which governs the state-prepared informed consent. Their legal filing also objects to the hyperlink labeled as medically accurate, as well as the information about the pain capability of the unborn child at 22 weeks gestation, and the sentence “abortion terminates the life of a whole, separate, unique, living human being.”

Kansas City federal judge Kathryn Vratil denied Planned Parenthood an immediate injunction on Wednesday but the matter is not closed, with another hearing scheduled for July 29.

CWH is the medical office of Overland Park abortionists, Herbert Hodes and daughter Traci Nauser, who sued to block implementation of the 2011 Kansas abortion clinic licensure law.

In the new suit against HB 2253, they assert that they are motivated by their Jewish religion to perform abortions. They also complain that the law

  • wrongly states pregnancy begins at conception;
  • unfairly bans funding for abortion, ends tax breaks for abortion businesses, and protects pro-life entities from retaliation; and
  • prevents abortionists from attending school functions or from volunteering. [This is a misstatement of the provision that prevents school sex-ed classes from using abortion staff and their materials, which is a law that Missouri enacted several years ago]

Although Kansas taxpayers must now defend this law in court, during that time almost the entire law will be in effect.  We are confident of prevailing against baseless clinic objections and are relieved that the court limited intervention to two very minor issues.

UPDATE: ABORTION LAWSUITS vs KANSAS
The state Attorney General’s Office has promised to “rigorously defend” HB 2253, assisted by the same law firm utilized in three other suits filed against pro-life laws enacted in 2011.

In the first case, Kansas won a challenge from the ACLU against the law banning private insurance from automatic coverage of elective abortion.

The second suit, opposing the state’s selection of full service public clinics and hospitals for Title X grants, is on appeal, awaiting a long-overdue ruling from the Tenth Circuit. In the meantime, taxpayers have been forced to send $343,000 to Planned Parenthood and the now-defunct Dodge City Family Planning Clinic.

The third suit, in which CWH blocked the long-sought state law regulating  abortion clinics, is moving at a snail’s pace.

Unfortunately, the abortion industry refuses to accept the democratic process of lawmaking, insisting on searching out activist courts in hope of undoing abortion regulation.

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WRTKIn a desperate move to appease its base–in the wake of increased pro-life laws that reflect the will of the people but jeopardize the bottom line of abortion businesses–Planned Parenthood has sued section 14 of the  Kansas 2013 Pro-Life Protections Act, claiming it violates first and fourteenth amendment rights to free speech and abortion access.

The press release from Planned Parenthood today, announcing the lawsuit, attacks the validity of state supervision of abortion clinic information as unwarranted legislation.  However, the Pro-life Protection Act is a response to the notorious omissions by clinics when it comes to abortion harms and the true gestational development of unborn children. The women considering abortion should be afforded all accurate data and they are the ones harmed by today’s litigation.

The money taxpayers are forced to use to defend all of the Constitutionally-sound Kansas pro-life laws are a result of the abortion clinics’ greed. This is the fourth challenge to Kansas pro-life laws, Kansas:

  •  won the suit against the abortion insurance law;
  • awaits a ruling  on appeal to the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals on the 2011 Title X funding law;
  • is enduring an ongoing state court lawsuit opposing state health department oversight of abortion clinics, which–by precedent in other states– is a meritless suit.

We are confident that Kansas will prevail in these suits and the one filed today. Kansas should strongly oppose any injunction or potential consent order that would censor those few lines of information, and force the reprinting of the state Right-to Know booklets.

The Court should refuse the injunction sought by Planned Parenthood, based on several court rulings, notably the 1992 Casey ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court. In that ruling, women were guaranteed abortion informed consent materials supplied by the state, and

the Court denied abortionists’ right of free speech was infringed as they could disavow any or all of the states’ content.

For example, the website for the Aid for Women KCK clinic has bashed the content of the Right to Know materials for many years; for just one example here, currently on the clinic’s ’24 hour consent’ page is this bullet point disputing the state info:
• 12. WE MUST UNTRUTHFULLY TELL YOU (KSA 65-6709(b)(5)) – “The abortion will terminate the life of a whole, separate, unique, living human being.” This is untruthful because the fetus is quite dependent upon, not separate from, the maternal placental oxygen and nutrient acquisition and kidney’s waste disposal. The word “whole” implies “complete” but the fetus is not truly completed until birth. Also, cancer is unique, human and living, yet not deserving of life.”

Yes, this clinic equates an unborn child with cancer, which would be laughable were it not so tragic.  The point the Casey Court made 21 years ago is that the state has a right to issue medically accurate data, and the abortionist can refute it–as this clinic does.

INFORMED CONSENT

  • Under the Kansas Woman’s Right to Know statutes of 1997, women seeking abortion must be given informational materials relating to the abortion procedure and risks .
  • The information is available in printed form and online.
  • The informed consent information is prepared by the Kansas state department of health (KDHE) and is medically accurate information the woman deserves,  in accordance with abortion court rulings.
  • The woman must sign a paper in the abortionists’ office that she “accessed” this info 24 hours prior to the performance of the abortion. The abortionist is never required to quiz her about the content, or ‘tell” the woman anything from the materials.
  • Section 14 merely copies into statute the agency information that women seeking Kansas abortions have been reading for years.

COMPLAINTS REBUTTED
Specifically, Planned Parenthood complains about 3 items in section 14:

  1. The mandate to have a hyperlink to the state website on the abortion informed consent section of the clinic website.
    REBUT: Two of the three KC area clinics , including Planned Parenthood, have already included this link for a long time, and the third clinic has done so inconsistently. We are not aware of the website for the new Wichita clinic.
  2. The sentence “Abortion terminates the life of a whole, separate, unique living human being.”
    REBUT: This sentence was found medically accurate by the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals. This sentence is one line in many pages of the Kansas Right to Know materials, and has been part of materials for years.
  3. The information that unborn children of 22 weeks gestational age feel pain. The clinic claims it is irrelevant as they do no abortions at this stage.
    REBUT. Abortions at 22 weeks gestation are banned under Kansas law, with limited exceptions, but it is certainly relevant for a woman to consider whether her abortion at 21.6 weeks– or 18 weeks or less –may be inflicting some pain on her child. Again this information has been in the state materials for 2 years.

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Spina bifida corrected before birth on Samuel Armas, 1999F surgery

1999: Spina bifida surgically corrected on as-yet-unborn baby, Samuel Armas,whose hand grasps the surgeon’s finger. (Photo by Michael Clancy)

Infant pain capability is now so well established and studied that the specialty of pediatric anesthesiology has evolved to help tiny babies tolerate surgical interventions.

Consider how mainstream medicine acknowledges that newborns (including preemies) feel pain: circumcisions are now routinely performed after topical numbing and the World Health Organization recommends pain relief for the mandatory “heel sticks” drawing the child’s blood after delivery.

Medical researchers continue to test and analyze the kinds of pain-techniques that are most beneficial on tiny patients, leading to the increased surgical successes on children before and after birth. (Read about the photo here and here and developments in spina bifida here.)

In fact, science now knows that

between 20-30 weeks gestation, the highest density of pain receptors per square inch of skin develop in the unborn–five times the pain sensitivity that any child or adult will ever be capable of.

However, the developing unborn child has not developed the mechanisms needed to modulate and tone down pain, because that “pain-dampening” development occurs around 40 weeks gestation (term delivery) –and afterword!

Only the abortion industry wants to perpetuate the myth that unborn children are non-feeling and impervious to the experience of being dismembered. One wonders whether abortionists and their staff personally reject anesthesia for their own newborns and preemies that undergo medical procedures?

PAIN-CAPABLE LEGISLATION
The National Right to Life Committee (NRLC) led the charge to end partial-birth abortions –a gruesome method used on a child exiting the birth canal. In NRLCs overall plan to systematically dismantle the U.S. Supreme Court’s enduring support for abortion, they have crafted legislation presenting evidence that unborn children feel pain.

Kansas is one of the few states banning abortions at 22 weeks gestation (20 weeks post-fertilization) due to the recognized pain-capability of the unborn. While legal injunctions to the Idaho, Georgia and Arizona pain-capable laws have predictably been secured, we hope that state appeals of those decisions will be taken up for review by the U.S. Supreme Court.

HR 1797 is a federal bill, spearheaded by NRLC, that would ban elective abortions at 20 weeks fetal age, due to pain-capability. The measure is co-sponsored by all four members of the Kansas delegation to the U.S. House  and by both Kansas U.S Senators in a companion bill. The House Judiciary Committee could vote on the bill before mid-June, with action by the full House any time thereafter. For more details, go here.

The issue of whether aborted children could experience the pain of abortion had not been a specific consideration in the 1973 Roe v Wade ruling. In that era, surgery for preemies, infants and toddlers relied on taping the child to the surgical table to immobilize the body so that the needed procedure could be performed!

Can our country– where hospitals seek the best way to protect newborns from the pain of a needle prick –continue to allow the horrific dismemberment of pain-feeling children inside abortion clinics?

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