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Archive for October, 2013

Nauser and Hodes

Nauser and Hodes: court rejects their “lame claim”

The state of Kansas won a summary judgment today in Shawnee County state court, upholding that the Pro-Life Protections Act of 2013 did not violate the Kansas Constitution’s “single subject” rule of legislative construction.

Attorneys for the Center for Women’s Health, the Overland Park offices of father- daughter abortion team Herb Hodes and Traci Nauser, lost a summary judgment from District Judge Rebecca Crotty. The abortionists’ legal team outrageously tried to argue that two sections of the law were unrelated to abortion. Those sections contained language:

  1. from the 1989 U.S. Supreme Court Webster ruling, that unborn children have interests that the state may protect in law, and
  2. expanding the state health department notices of resources available to mothers facing challenging prenatal diagnoses.

The first provision underscores what kind of laws for unborn children are allowed despite the Roe v Wade ruling, and the second prevents women from turning to abortion in frustration or due to ignorance of agencies assisting the disabled.  Abortion attorneys made the lame claim to the court that because the word abortion did not appear in those provisions, they were unrelated to abortion!

KFL State Executive Director, Mary Kay Culp stated:

“This ruling shows how ridiculous it was when the abortion industry tried a few weeks ago to lay the costs of defending this law at our feet when, in the first place, they are the ones who sued the law, and, second, the court agrees today that they did so without cause!”

RELATED FILINGS
Also filed today in Judge Crotty’s court was a formal stipulation from both the state and abortion attorneys, clarifying that women seeking Kansas abortions will receive the state “Woman’s Right to Know” abortion materials–as printed–24 hours prior to abortion, including information that the clinic does not support.

Although abortionists Hodes and Nauser lost round one, the lawsuit as originally filed makes a variety of claims against the constitutionality of the Pro-Life Protections Act and further court filings are expected in state court (read more here).

In June, Hodes and Nauser failed to win a permanent injunction against the Act, but secured a temporary injunction blocking

  • one definition of emergency abortion, and
  • a mandate to place a link to the state informed consent website on the clinic’s homepage.

The latter objection to the state weblink is also the subject of a suit in federal court by Planned Parenthood (read more here and here.)

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comp health PP (2)Last week we noted Kansas pro-life laws being taken to court without good reason, however it is encouraging that the federal lawsuit filed by Comprehensive Health/Planned Parenthood of Kansas & Mid-Missouri is moving relatively quickly.

The lawsuit focuses on Kansas’ 2013 Pro-Life Protections Act, specifically the “first-in-the-nation” requirement that the link to the state “Woman’s Right to Know” abortion information website be positioned on a clinic’s home page with this description:

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment maintains a website containing objective, nonjudgmental, scientifically accurate information about the development of the unborn child, as well as video of sonogram images of the unborn child at various stages of development. The Kansas Department of Health and Environment’s website can be reached by clicking here.

As background, women obtaining Kansas abortions since 1997 have been required to sign certification forms for their medical file that they “accessed” these WRTK materials 24 hours prior to abortion. The right to supply state-issued abortion information was upheld in the 1992 Casey ruling, in which the U.S. Supreme Court said the state has a role in ensuring abortion-seeking women are well informed.

Abortionists oppose WRTK information, as it not only indicates the clinics lack candor on full informed consent, but also can reveal alternative solutions to abortion. And, in fact, Kansas annual stats show hundreds of women do not have abortions after getting this info (see KFL post here).

In August, Planned Parenthood stipulated on record all their abortion clients are receiving the printed version of these WRTK materials.  Furthermore, all Kansas abortion clinics, including Planned Parenthood, voluntarily placed a link to the state website somewhere on their websites after the WRTK materials became accessible in that manner.

So, since Planned Parenthood affirms it distributes the printed WRTK materials (even while objecting to the content) and links to the state WRTK website, why do they oppose the weblink being positioned on their homepage?

They argue that such prominent positioning with an “accuracy” tagline gives the appearance they endorse the WRTK materials. They are particularly offended by WRTK facts about the pain capability of the unborn child and the statement that “abortion terminates the life of a whole, separate, unique, living human being.”

The State of Kansas has supplied strong rebuttal filings in defense of this lawsuit. They argue that the WRTK weblink does not interfere with any First Amendment speech rights as the abortionist is not prohibited from voicing or publishing opinions in disagreement with the Kansas information, as one clinic has notoriously done for years (see KFL post here).

Rather, defense attorneys say this WRTK weblink with accuracy description is permissible state regulation of abortion commerce. After all, Kansas Planned Parenthood is a business; the “Who we are” section of their website reads: “Our primary service is providing abortion services from 4 to 22 weeks gestation.” And at a profit.

Americans experience the effect of government regulation of business every day, to name a few:

  • ads for pharmaceutical products must disclose the drugs’ side effects;
  • nutritional supplement labels contain disclaimers that their claimed benefits have not been verified by the FDA;
  • cigarette packages contain cancer warnings.

Abortionists may bristle at government consumer protection actions, but,“The well-being of people who may be unsophisticated in health care matters is a compelling interest of the state” under Kansas case law (Bolton, 1979).

Kansas defense attorneys point to four other rulings since Casey [Lakey (TX 2012), Rounds II (MN, ND,SD 2008), Summit (AL 2003), Eubanks (KY 2000)] where courts denied abortionists’ claim that state informed consent regulation violated their free speech.

Both Planned Parenthood and the state of Kansas have filed formal requests that federal Judge Kathryn Vratil rule without a trial– as a matter of judging on the law—whether the weblink is permissible.  We believe Kansas will prevail.

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baby money (2)Yesterday’s national abortion story was the periodic report/complaint about the high legal expenses the state of Kansas has incurred in defending the constitutionality of four pro-life laws.  Under the title, “Kansas Abortion Lawsuits Cost $913K,” AP’s John Hanna writes, “Kansas has paid more than $913,000 to two private law firms that are helping the state defend anti-abortion laws enacted since conservative Republican Gov. Sam Brownback took office, and such expenses appear likely to grow.”

The reality is, that after the U.S. Supreme Court Roe decision legalized abortion, every state law trying to regulate abortion– no matter how carefully crafted– is subject to court challenges.  Of our seven recent pro-life laws, four have been sued. We expect to prevail, but court action moves slowly, sometimes at a snail’s pace.

Lengthy, and even patently ludicrous, legal arguments that our opponents propose in litigation must be answered.

The first recent Kansas pro-life law that went to court was our 2011 law ending coverage for elective abortion as part of standard private health insurance. This was a law that had already been on the books in other states for decades, yet the ACLU and Kansas N.O.W. insisted on filing a challenge. We WON, but with a legal defense cost of $149,000.

Defense expenses Kansas has paid to two outside law firms for three other ongoing pro-life cases include:

  1. $126,000 for two challenges to the 2013 Pro-Life Protections Act;
  2. $386,000 for the Title X budget case with an initial ruling favoring Planned Parenthood, and now under appeal;
  3. $252,000 for defense of the 2011 law establishing minimum abortion clinic safety and sanitary regulations, including a ban on webcam abortions.

Kansas’ 2013 comprehensive Pro-Life Protections Act is in the initial stages of two suits, one brought in federal court by Planned Parenthood and the other in state court by the Center for Women’s Health. Both clinics have so far only gained a temporary block on two minuscule provisions, instead of stopping the entire law. Our state defense attorneys have had to rebut a multitude of claims, including:

  • misrepresentations about how the law was passed,
  • ridiculous assertions about abortion–related topics,
  • opposition to a states’ rights position the U.S. Supreme Court approved 25 years ago, and
  • complaints about informed consent provisions that clinics have already complied with for years!

The Title X case should have been the national abortion story …how Planned Parenthood is propping up two of its financially failing clinics with approximately $400,000 in tax money that it is not properly eligible for!

Explanation?  Planned Parenthood sued the 2011 Kansas budget provision that requires Title X federal family planning money go to full service health facilities that best serve the indigent. District court Judge Thomas Marten ruled in Planned Parenthood’s favor, and –without proper authority– ordered funding of Title X money for their “feeder”clinics in Hays and Wichita that were losing  nearly one quarter million dollars annually.

And while Kansas has waited over a year for an overturning of that ruling from the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals, we are compelled to keep sending non-recoverable money to Planned Parenthood while also keeping lawyers busy battling this ruling.  It is a steep price, but the end result is important for Kansas’ state sovereignty as well as for other states with similar laws.

Then there’s the lawsuit fighting our 2011 clinic regulation bill which, outside the webcam ban, largely imitates the South Carolina version that the U.S. Supreme Court let stand twenty years ago.  The case is creeping along in state court.

That fact that our pro-life Attorney General, Derek Schmidt, pays for the assistance of two private law firms does not “offend good financial stewardship” as complained by Planned Parenthood’s CEO, Peter Brownlie.  Mary Kay Culp, executive director of Kansans for Life observes that, for our opponents to complain about the cost expended on lawsuits they filed, is ridiculous!

It is appreciated that our AG sought highly qualified defense firms.  State AG offices aren’t generally populated by attorneys with abortion expertise—and as our readers know—the rules for abortion seem to be different than for every other field.

States that pass pro-life laws only to have their AG undermine the defense of such laws are truly in a bind. Thankfully, Kansas is not now in that spot, as we were when former Gov. Kathleen Sebelius’ hand-picked, pro-abortion Attorney General Steve Six failed to properly prosecute George Tiller for violating late-term abortion statutes.

When it comes to passing life-protective laws, logic and public support cannot protect them from costly litigation, but the price is worth paying.

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baby finger hand (2)Andrea Grimes, writing at RH reality check, a pro-abortion blog, has issued a clarion call to forestall a Texas proposal that would require three hours of adoption counseling prior to any abortion. Her plan? Undermine pro-lifers’ “hold” on the issue by “exposing” adoption as a corrupt, woman-coercing, money-making cartel!

But to come up with such a counter-factual, counter-intuitive slur, Grimes must set up several egregiously false claims:

  • that adoption “is not an alternative to abortion, but rather an alternative to parenting”; and
  • that adoption victimizes both the mother and child.

The first premise is artificial—that “pregnant people” [her absurd term] are either pro-death or pro-life, and, if the latter, are deciding between parenting and adoption. But those struggling with a ‘problematic’ pregnancy are not so easily pegged, and can change course after reflection. Grimes gives no source for the “research” she claims that women open to adoption “never considered abortion as a viable option.”

Then Grimes asserts that the proposal for pre-abortion adoption counseling ”would serve predominantly to detain, and perhaps shame, pregnant people who are already in a time crunch.” But far from ‘shaming’ women, the great majority of women facing unanticipated or ‘problematic’ pregnancies would be empowered by facts, such as accurate information about support systems, maternity homes, and adoption options.

Grimes announces that adoption leaves parents and adoptees with “complicated and mixed emotions about their experience…[and] not unilaterally the joyful exploration of loving kindness.. heroism and bravery.” Well, no duh.

She maliciously paints adoption facilitators and supporters as suppressing or denying such totally expected after-effects. Why? You guessed it–for the greater goal of profit and/or religious ideology.

This is untrue and unfair, but not unsurprising given that Grimes’ target audience of “reproductive justice” advocates frame all issues as battles against patriarchy, capitalism, and Christian fanaticism.

The heart of Grimes’ call-to-action is this very self-satisfying pronouncement:

“[A]ccusations leveled at the so-called abortion industry by anti-choice reproductive rights opponents—specifically, that coercive ‘abortionists’ are solely interested in creating and maintaining demand for their services for the singular purpose of making money off hoodwinked and/or ignorant clientele—could be aptly applied to the largely unregulated domestic and international adoption industry.“

Whereas the self-serving, coercive claims against abortion are true, Grimes’ allegations of a coercive adoption cartel remain just that—allegations without actual cases cited. And the tactic is stated—to attack pro-lifers by associating us with adoption agencies which she has demonized.

Let’s not forget that adoption is not a “political weapon” for pro-lifers. It is a practical remedy for the situation of a child not born into a welcoming family who will otherwise be killed by abortion.

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