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Archive for March, 2017

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.

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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.

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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

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