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Archive for December, 2014

new year baby2014 saw many pro-life victories for Kansas, the fruit of decades of efforts by pro-lifers to fight a culture of death through education, legislation and providing loving help to women feeling abandoned during pregnancy. Kansans for Life played a key role in these efforts, with exciting new developments in the works.

Pro-lifers can proudly claim credit for the fact that pro-life candidates won all of Kansas’ statewide offices, along with 94 of the 125 seats in the Kansas House of Representatives in the 2014 elections. Notably, pro-life stalwarts Governor Sam Brownback and U.S. Senator Pat Roberts won re-election over their radically pro-abortion challengers.

As officially reported by the Kansas Department of Health & Environment, the number of Kansas abortions dropped to 7,485 in 2013, from 7,598 in 2012 (2014 numbers aren’t available until March 2015). Many reasons can be attributed to the continued drop,  including the improved availability of informed consent information online and increased utilization of pregnancy care centers statewide.

  • No late-term abortions (after 22 weeks pregnancy) are allowed in Kansas due to a 2011 pro-life law acknowledging the unborn child’s ability to feel pain.
  • Abortions for sex-selection reasons are illegal.
  • Minors must secure two-parent consent to abortion.

Kansas is now down to three abortion clinics. The Kansas City Aid for Women abortion clinic closed abruptly at the end of July. It claimed the reason for the sudden closure was the retirement of its 73-year-old abortionist but this clinic was notorious for its string of abortionists with lengthy histories of malpractice cases and disciplinary actions issued by the state medical board. Not surprisingly, Aid for Women failed to attain a state-issued license in June 2011 after passage of the Kansas clinic licensure and regulation law– a pro-life law currently under legal challenge. The clinic admitted it would “have to gut the place” to be in compliance and thus Kansas women and unborn children are safer with the closing of this substandard clinic.

Kansas continues to successfully defend pro-life laws promoted by Kansans for Life.

A major pro-life legal win occurred in early May when Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri dropped its 2011 lawsuit in federal court. They had sued against the Kansas budget provision that prioritized federal family planning funds be given to public full-service clinics rather than “specialty” clinics like Planned Parenthood. After the state’s budget authority was upheld, Planned Parenthood’s already-failing “abortion-feeder”clinic in Hays closed its doors – showing that this clinic relied on government money to survive.

Just weeks ago, Planned Parenthood also backed out of another lawsuit, in federal court, just days before it was headed to trial.  At issue was their past refusal to obey a provision of the 2013 Pro-Life Protections Act that required that every abortion clinic website have a live link on their home page that connected to the state’s Woman’s Right to Know website. The law intends that there be “one-click access” to sonogram images and information about the development of the unborn child to anyone remotely, or directly, considering abortion.

This year the Hodes-Nauser abortion clinic also lost its legal block (an injunction in state district court) of the same weblink provision. All three abortion clinics are now compliant with that live link. Thus, the fourth success for defense attorneys under Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt in defending sound pro-life laws promoted by Kansans for Life.

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ksbha logoAfter presentations Thursday from attorneys on both sides, the Kansas State Board of Healing Arts deferred a ruling on the matter of abortionist Kris Neuhaus, whose license they had revoked in 2012. Neuhaus wants to regain her license and not pay the original $93,000 in assessed court costs.

From 1999-2006, Neuhaus provided the legally-required “second-physician approval” for post-viability abortions performed by the now-deceased Wichita abortionist, George Tiller.

At issue were 11 such abortions in 2003, performed on teens in the third trimester. The Board issued license revocation for her failure to follow the standard of care in those cases.

Neuhaus won a reprieve of that revocation from Shawnee District Court Judge Franklin Theis, who ruled that –although her record-keeping was deficient–the revocation was too severe a penalty and the Board must revisit the case.

The Board met Thursday and allowed the public to hear the presentations from Neuhaus’ attorney, Bob Eye, and their own counsel, Reese Hays, as well as questions from Board members. At a few points, Neuhaus called out from the audience that she wanted to address the Board, and they permitted her a few  statements– which were promptly struck from the record as improper and irrelevant.

The Board then recessed to conference in private and then announced their decision would not be issued today.

Hays’ recommendation to the Board is that

Neuhaus is defiant, and cannot be rehabilitated.

He reminded that the 2003 case is Neuhaus’ “third strike” as the Board had disciplined her in 1999 and 2001 for similar record-keeping failures.

By her own admission, Neuhaus’ omission of essential information and assessments in the teen abortion files was intentional. It was even more egregious because, due to earlier misconduct, she was bound by a legal agreement with the Board to faithfully execute state regulations for patient charting.

Hays urged the Board to follow their own disciplinary guidelines, and include the “aggravating” factors that justified license revocation. That included the vulnerability of inexperienced and immature teens diagnosed with mental health problems but left without accurate medical files necessary to obtain proper follow-up medical care.

Neuhaus’ attorney, Bob Eye, hammered on the idea that Neuhaus wants to continue in the medical field and that her actions in 2003 were described as not “nefarious” by Judge Theis.

Board member, Anne Hodgdon, objected, asserting that the matter at hand was Neuhaus’ willful disobedience of the law and the Board.

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plannedparenthood7As reported last Friday, Planned Parenthood of Kansas & Mid Missouri dropped the last of a three-part legal challenge to informed consent provisions of the 2013 Pro-life Protections Act. The Kansas Attorney General’s office issued a short statement today confirming the lawsuit had been dismissed.

In the “late Friday news dump”—the traditional method for circumventing news coverage of yet another failed abortion challenge—the first takeaway was that  there’d been a settlement.

After the news cycle was mostly finished on Friday, the Associated Press updated an earlier story to include that Elise Higgins, PPKMM spokeswoman, had said, “We voluntarily dismissed the case, and there was no settlement.” In addition, Laura McQuade, PPKMM president & CEO, stated, “We made the decision to focus our resources on expanding access to care for our patients in 2015.”

This famous “refocus our resources” line conveniently glosses over the truth that PPKMM was in the losing legal position and knew it.

Let’s remind ourselves of PPKMM’s typical bluster when they filed suit. Their June 20, 2013 press release huffed and puffed with outrage. The headline read, “Planned Parenthood Challenges Requirement that it Publicly Endorse State’s Anti-Abortion Ideology” and here were some talking points:

  • “Overreaching Law Undermines Doctor-Patient Relationship, Threatens Freedom of Speech for All Kansans”
  • “Governor [Sam] Brownback’s attempt to again inject politics into the relationship between a woman and her doctor will not stand.”
  • “vital state services are being slashed…while $759,000 [thus far] in taxpayer money [is spent to] defend anti-abortion bills”

Seems pretty extreme, if they could be believed. But what was the actual law they opposed?

Basically, it was an update to informational materials that Kansas enacted in 1997, following the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1992 Casey ruling recognizing the state’s right to provide “objective, nonjudgmental, and scientifically accurate” information to women considering an abortion. PPKMM’s suit was brought on three objections:

  1. the section of state pre-abortion materials that reads,”the abortion will terminate the life of a whole, separate, unique, living human being,”
  2. the section of state pre-abortion materials that includes a short paragraph about the unborn child’s pain-capability at 22 weeks gestation, and
  3. the requirement that a live link to pre-natal sonography (part of the state’s informed consent website) be positioned on the homepage of the clinic website.

The first two objections were quickly dropped within weeks, as they had been part of state materials in use for several years by all Kansas abortion clinics.

PPKMM’s resistance to placing a state weblink on their homepage, however, continued for well over another year, until the Friday before the big hearing was scheduled.

So why not battle it out in court? I think they knew they’d lose, and a court win [for the state] would have serious ramifications, i.e., it would propel similar pro-life protective laws in other states.

The fact is that case law upholds the right of government to regulate commerce. In the interest of consumer protection, the government already mandates warnings on toys, cigarette packs and takeoff instructions for airplane passengers. The list goes on. The required abortion clinic link for at issue is commercial regulation, not interference with free speech.

Planned Parenthood is a business. PPKMM admitted its primary business is abortion. The state of Kansas’ legal brief argued that the required link was “sensible commercial-disclosure requirements” aimed at “ensuring a decision that is mature and informed.”

Crucially, the state demolished PPKMM’s key defense — that they ALREADY had the link elsewhere on the website and that (horrors!) non-abortion clients would see the link if it were on the website home page. In response the state wrote:

“Links…that are planted deeper in the company’s website either will be missed or only will be seen by women once they have committed to going forward with the abortion procedure.
The homepage requirement aims to have the materials available while a woman is considering the question, “What should I do?”—not merely,“What do I need to bring to my abortion appointment?”

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A.G.Schmidt

A.G. Schmidt

Great news! Planned Parenthood of Kansas & Mid-Missouri has withdrawn its challenge in federal court to a Kansas law requiring that its website homepage contain a live link to the Kansas Health Department “informed consent” information.

This concession happened at the eleventh hour, as a hearing was scheduled Monday in the court of Judge Kathryn Vratil. PPKMM technically has until Monday to refile, which is extremely unlikely.

PPKMM had refused to comply with the weblink law even after all other Kansas abortion clinics had complied and despite the fact that a separate challenge from the Hodes & Nauser abortion clinic collapsed in state district court this spring.

This is the fourth win for the legal team under Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt in defending sound pro-life laws promoted by Kansans for Life.

Kansas has required abortion clinics to provide access to state materials on prenatal development, abortion information and assistance for unplanned pregnancies since 1997. The required weblink at issue reads:

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment maintains a website containing 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 accessed here[womansrighttoknow.org].

The state’s defense was rock solid against PPKMM’s argument that the weblink was:

  1. a free speech infringement of PPKMM’s preferred narrative about pregnancy, and
  2. it didn’t belong on the homepage where other non-abortion clients might see it.

The state rebutted that the required link was a form of consumer protection and that the state had a right to alert women before they committed to abortion. From the state’s most recent filing (emphasis added):

“In the 1980s and 1990s, public access to the Internet was extremely limited. Few businesses or public institutions had websites. …In the face of these changes in technology and access, and in order to more effectively reach women as they are contemplating the weighty decision of whether to undergo an abortion, the Kansas Legislature enacted a law in 2013…that when a company is in the business of performing abortions and that company maintains a website, it must include a link on its homepage.”

More on Monday!

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Kris Neuhaus

Kris Neuhaus (AP file photo)

Next Thursday, the Kansas State Board of Healing Arts will have a hearing on their 2012 license revocation of abortionist Ann Kristin (Kris) Neuhaus.

They were ordered to review this case (translation: undo the revocation and issue a slap-on-the-wrist penalty) by Shawnee District Court Judge Franklin Theis, ruling on the appeal filed by Neuhaus.

The Board was incensed at the refutation of their authority to revoke, and asked for the state appellate court to intervene, but that support was denied. Instead, they were forced to obey Theis and re-present the case to the Board. In their newest filing,

Board attorneys emphasize this is Neuhaus’ “3rd strike” and her “character is not one that can be rehabilitated.”

The legal issue is Neuhaus’ repeated violations of standard of care, i.e. the baseline professional requirements in assessing the patient, making a diagnosis and committing this data into a written medical file.

The backdrop to the case was that Neuhaus, a failed “circuit-riding” abortionist, had become the integral “rubber stamp” for post-viability abortions performed by infamous (now deceased) Wichita abortionist, George Tiller. The state law at the time banned post-viability abortions without a second opinion from a Kansas- licensed physician verifying that the mother faced “substantial and irreversible” harm. The Board utilized case files obtained by (former) Attorney General Phill Kline of 11 teens who had obtained third trimester abortions in 2003 with Neuhaus’ approval of dire “mental health” conditions.

The Board’s arguments for revocation do not hinge on professional fraud, or the fact that Neuhaus utilized an online ‘psych-profiling’ system to claim grave mental health issues justified those 11 abortions. The Board simply asserts that Neuhaus continues to ignore the essential, legally required written elements for patient intake, evaluation and case history.

It’s a problem that the Board repeatedly disciplined Neuhaus for:

  • in 1999 it was multiple cases of her failure to record drug dispensation as required by the federal authorities (DEA);
  • in 2001, it included her inability to do proper patient intake, create a proper sedation record, or document the gestational age of the unborn child as required by the Kansas Woman’s Right to Know statutes.

Judge Theis himself acknowledged that Neuhaus’ record-keeping fell below standard of care, but it was his opinion that it didn’t merit revocation.

The Board’s newest filing emphasizes that her deficient medical files were particularly egregious at the time of those eleven abortions, because Neuhaus was still bound by her 2001 formal promise to the Board to “comply with all provisions…of medical record-keeping.

The Board’s attorneys profile the situation thusly:

“The Board has attempted to remediate and rehabilitate [Neuhaus] to no avail…by her behavior in the two previous actions [her] conduct shows that she believes her way is better than the Board’s…she was given, not one, but two second chances to fix her documentation issues…her character is not one that can be rehabilitated.”

The Board will be presented with this second airing of the case Thursday and then notify Judge Theis of their stand. It’s assumed that the Board will maintain their original revocation and their authority in this matter.

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