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Archive for the ‘Kansas Abortion Law’ Category

AG Derek Schmidt

AG Schmidt

On Monday, Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt filed an appeal with the Kansas Supreme Court, asking for an expedited ruling on the question of whether the Kansas Constitution embodies a right to abortion.

A  7-7 ruling from the Court of Appeals on Jan. 22  maintained a district court’s temporary injunction against the Kansas Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Act.

However, Schmidt  asserts that properly understood,  the 7-7 tie is really a 7-6-1 ruling,  thus denying any state constitutional right to abortion.

The appeal (ironically titled a “prayer” in legal jargon) argues that the heart of the Court of Appeals ruling is whether the state Bill of Rights mimics the due process protection of the federal Fourteenth Amendment that is the basis for Roe v Wade.

  • Seven appellate judges (in the dissent, penned by Chief Judge Thomas Malone) held that the state Bill of Rights does not provide “Roe” protection,
  • six judges (in the ruling written by Judge Steve Leben) said the state Bill of Rights does provide “Roe” protection by extension, and
  • one concurrence (by Judge G. Gordon Atcheson) conceded that the state Bill of Rights’ Article 1 really doesn’t match up with “Roe” but no matter because abortion is protected in a stronger way.

    Judge Atcheson

    Judge Atcheson

Judge Atcheson wrote, “Article 1 provides a constitutional protection [for abortion] that has no direct analog in the federal Constitution… [it] effectuates self-determination consistent with an evolving and ever more enlightened understanding of humanity across both race and gender.”

He also wrote, “a woman’s right of self-determination, as established in Article 1, takes precedence [over a fetus] incapable of free-will or self-determination,” and “I cannot infer a particular legislative purpose or governmental interest advanced in Senate Bill 95 [the dismemberment ban].”

Truly the abortion protection that Judge Atcheson wishes to be found in Kansas’ 1859 Bill of Rights is broader than Roe and –if agreed to by the Kansas Supreme Court—poses a threat to all existent pro-life laws in this state.

On the other hand, the six appellate judges who want a state right to be an extension of Roe implicitly would examine pro-life laws under the “undue burden” standard, which is more workable than if abortion is declared fundamentally protected and laws have to pass “strict scrutiny.”

Because the appellate court really left all Kansas courts adrift in confusion, Schmidt urges the Kansas Supreme Court to take up the issue. Until it is resolved, it will continue to be raised in existent and future lawsuits, he argued.

At issue is a compelling constitutional question of “first impression.” That is something that ultimately only the Kansas Supreme Court can resolve.

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Gov. Brownback flanked by KFL's Mary Kay Culp and Archbishop Naumann

Gov. Sam Brownback, flanked by KFL’s Exec. Director, Mary Kay Culp, and KCK Archbishop Joseph Naumann

Neither the D.C. blizzard nor the legal disapproval of half of the Kansas state Court of Appeals stopped the Pro-life Religious Council from giving their award to Gov. Sam Brownback Friday for Kansas’ historic passage of The Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act.

The result of a rare 7-7 tie decision Friday by the Kansas Court of Appeals is that the appalling opinion of Shawnee District Judge Larry Hendricks’ is upheld–for now. Judge Hendricks ruled that barbaric dismemberment abortions cannot be outlawed because the 1859 Kansas Constitution contains a right to abortion.

The dismemberment ban is not voided, but it remains enjoined from going into effect while litigation continues. The ban will be vigorously defended by the legal team of Attorney General Derek Schmidt.

"shower curtain"sign by Kansas pro-life activist, Vonda Wiedmeyer

“shower curtain” sign held up in the audience by Kansas pro-life activist, Vonda Wiedmer

In his acceptance remarks, Gov. Brownback urged that Kansas’ strong bipartisan passage of this dismemberment ban be repeated across the nation and at the nation’s Capitol.

Fr. Frank Pavone, who hosted the award ceremony, observed that the Appeals Court ruling shows that, “the battle for the unborn child’s civil rights will go back and forth for now. We know, however, that the truth of that child’s humanity will ultimately triumph over the lies of the abortion industry.”

Among attendees at the PRC presentation were Mary Kay Culp, Executive Director of Kansans for Life, and Archbishop Joseph Naumann, head of the Catholic Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas. The Kansas Catholic conference had testified in support of the ban:

“The fact that this legislation is even necessary is an indictment of our society and even the very notion of human progress…[when] we in the here and now allow our children to be torn apart, piece by piece, limb by limb.”

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stop dismembering posterA temporary injunction will remain in place against SB 95,  the Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act, after the Kansas state Court of Appeals ruled today in a  7-7 tie in the matter.

The Act bars a gruesome method of abortion in which a well-developed, living, unborn child is torn apart piece by piece with sharp metal tools.

Attorney General Derek Schmidt’s office will continue to rigorously defend this law.

This outrageous ruling needs to be heard by the state Supreme Court without delay.

The law was designed to pass muster with the U.S. Supreme Court; abortion attorneys apparently recognized that fact, thus choosing to file suit in state court, seeking the creation of a state right to abortion.

The dismemberment ban was blocked June 25 with a temporary injunction from Shawnee District Court Judge Larry Hendricks. The lawsuit was filed and argued by the New York-based Center for Reproductive Rights on behalf of the Overland Park Center for Women’s Health that had previously sued two other Kansas pro-life laws that have not proceeded to trial.

Judge Hendricks completely accepted the abortion industry claim that the basis for a federal “right” to an abortion also is found in the Kansas constitution. Hendricks misstated federal jurisprudence on abortion, and ignored the key 2007 U.S. Supreme Court Gonzales ruling, which said:

Casey [the 1992 Supreme Court decision] does not allow a doctor to choose the abortion method he or she might prefer …[and physicians] are not entitled to ignore regulations that direct them to use reasonable alternative procedures.”

Even pro-abortion justices of the U. S. Supreme Court have acknowledged that the dismemberment of a living unborn child is as brutal and inhumane a method of abortion as the partial-birth abortion procedure, which is now illegal throughout the country.

It was a valid act –both legally and morally–for the Kansas legislature to curb dismemberment abortions.Kansans were outraged to learn of this heinous method of shredding apart innocent unborn children,” said Kansans for Life executive director, Mary Kay Culp.

Kansans for Life submitted a friend of the court brief for the appeal.

SB 95 is supported by U.S. Supreme Court language that upholds the state’s right

  • to show respect for the developing unborn and
  • to insure the integrity of the medical profession which it regulates.

Kansans for Life is confident this law will eventually be upheld—mirroring the long, but successful partial-birth abortion battle in which the U.S. Supreme Court eventually acknowledged the validity of pro-life legislation.

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new year babyA recent article in the abortion-supporting magazine, Slate, was headlined, ” The Year Unthinkable Became the New Normal,”  with this elaboration,

The past year might have been the worst for abortion rights in America since Roe v. Wade was decided 42 years ago.”

Slate begins the list of lamentations with what they termed the “propaganda coup” of the videos from the Center for Medical Progress in which Planned Parenthood clinics and National Abortion Federation conventions were infiltrated to collect direct testimony from abortionists about methods used for fetal tissue-harvesting. (see recap video below)

PLANNED PARENTHOOD IMAGE DAMAGED
Planned Parenthood’s mantra on those embarrassing videos –echoed faithfully by the mainstream media– is that the hidden camera videos were “selectively edited,” but two forensic examinations found that to be false. As The Federalist reported, both forensic reports, including one commissioned by Planned Parenthood, “assert that there is no dubbing or alteration to the audio and no evidence of misrepresentative editing.”

The CMP videos, that were released beginning in July, have resulted in five separate congressional investigations and a newly announced lawsuit from Planned Parenthood against CMP for racketeering, trespassing and secret taping.(see here)

At the outset, Planned Parenthood head, Cecile Richards, apologized for the tone and statements in the videos and then testified at length to Congress, revealing that

  • 86 % of Planned Parenthood’s revenue (outside of federal funds) comes from abortions;
  • no PP facility offers mammograms, nor do they even have the equipment;
  • the “non-profit” PPFA in 2014 made $127 million in excess revenue after expenses (what normal people call a “profit.”)

PRO-LIFE POLITICIANS EMBOLDENED
Slate
complained that, “Support for abortion bans without exceptions for rape or incest became the normative position among Republican presidential candidates.  [Note: Kansas has no rape/incest exceptions in state abortion restrictions.]

It is true –and a welcome development– that this year’s GOP presidential primary debates have revealed a new vigor for deploring abortion and calling for the end of tax support for the nation’s abortion giant, Planned Parenthood. Political courage is infectious; the U.S. Senate defunded Planned Parenthood for the first time ever, although President Obama vetoed the measure.

That the public responded positively to these events is an understatement.

But pro-abortionists want to convince themselves otherwise, and quote the reasoning of the president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, “We are experiencing the culmination of a decades-long strategy by anti-choice extremists…The far-right takeover of the GOP, a project that’s been underway for more than 40 years, is complete.”

This “take-over” is in reality a reflection of the growing self-identification of Americans as pro-life.

Indeed, 2015 was a milestone year for Republican control of state legislatures, (see chart) with the party dominating both houses in 30 states, the highest number since at least 1978. Republicans used their electoral strength to pass more than 50 state pro-life laws.

DISMEMBERMENT BAN NOTED
The story makes only an indirect referral to the historic “Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act” passed in Kansas and Oklahoma in April. A long-time abortion advocate asserts, “What we’re witnessing is the culmination of a kind of group defamation against women who have abortions as people who kill and dismember unborn children.”

Wow, that’s a whopper!

Supporters of the dismemberment ban have only excoriated abortionists and their businesses, not women.

In fact, most women who have obtained dismemberment abortions were never told that the abortionist used sharp tools to painfully pull apart their still-alive unborn child until he/she bled to death! They most often just see a reference to “removing the pregnancy.”

Slate concludes, “2015 has been a lesson in how the once unthinkable becomes the new normal—and it’s happened with a Democrat in the White House. If a Republican wins the presidency next year, we will likely see 2015 as an entirely different sort of inflection point. Just because things are as bad as they’ve been in 40 years doesn’t mean they can’t get worse.”

From our perspective, the lives of unborn children are depending on us to insure the abortion industry in 2016 has another bad year.

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sam KFL photo

Gov. Brownback

In an upbeat state-of the state address Tuesday evening, Gov. Sam Brownback said, “We have become the shining city on the hill and the champions for life.”  The  pro-life excerpts from the speech are here.

Gov. Brownback has asked for a change in the judicial selection method for the State Supreme Court which aligns with KFL’s top legislative priority this year.

KFL opposes the secretive deliberations that choose Kansas Supreme Court justices. Any change in selection method must be approved first by 2/3 of the House and Senate and then gain the assent of the public on the the 2016 ballot.

Brownback supports dumping the current selection method in his speech:“The Legislature should put before Kansas voters a proposed Constitutional amendment for a more democratic selection process for our Supreme Court justices. Kansas is the only state in the country where the selection of Supreme Court justices is controlled by a handful of lawyers.[and]…removes the people of Kansas from the process of selecting judges.”

As an example of an unprincipled judiciary, a Kansas district court has issued a temporary injunction on the Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act and declared a right to abortion exists in Kansas’ pre-Civil War constitution! Kansans now await a ruling from the State Court of Appeals –at any time– on that injunction.

PLANNED PARENTHOOD DEFUNDING
no PPWhat  the mainstream media took note of was the Governor’s announcement on Planned Parenthood. “Today, I am directing [KDHE] Secretary Susan Mosier to ensure that not a single dollar of taxpayer money goes to Planned Parenthood through our Medicaid program I welcome legislation that would enshrine this directive in state law.”

In the Associated Press coverage, the lobbyist for Planned Parenthood of Kansas Mid-Missouri said that $61,000 was at stake and that they intend to fight for it. Medicaid provision for low-income health is jointly subsidized by federal and state monies.

Under Gov. Brownback, Kansas has already insured that $370,000.00 in annual Title X reproductive health money for low-income patients is prioritized to full-service public clinics and hospitals. Planned Parenthood–failing to meet those qualifications– challenged this annually renewed prioritization in court and lost at the federal appellate level.

Brownback received extended applause last night after this segment of the speech: “In 2011, I signed legislation stopping most taxpayer funding from going to Planned Parenthood.  The time has come to finish the job. Planned Parenthood’s trafficking of baby body parts is antithetical to our belief in human dignity.

The AP also quoted Kansas Attorney General, Derek Schmidt, as promising to defend withholding this funding from Planned Parenthood.

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Gov. Brownback signs historic Act

Gov. Brownback signs ban
on dismemberment abortion

The National Pro-Life Religious Council will honor Kansans and Gov. Sam Brownback on Jan. 22 with the National Pro-Life Recognition Award for the enactment of the “Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act.”

The presentation is part of the annual events at the Washington, D.C. March for Life, marking the tragic 1973 U.S. Supreme Court Roe v Wade ruling that legalized abortion and the destruction of an estimated 58 million unborn children.

Fr. Frank Pavone, head of Priests for Life and president of the NPR Council, has announced that Gov. Brownback will be a guest of honor at the prayer gathering at Constitution Hall, 1776 D Street NW, in Washington, D.C., opening with a Catholic Mass at 7:30 a.m., and followed by an interdenominational service from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. The event is free and open to the public, with no tickets required.

Members of the NPR Council Host committee include representatives from the National Right to Life Committee, Family Research Council, Alliance Defending Freedom, Bott Radio Network, and other pro-life groups.

Gov. Brownback released this statement:

“As Governor of Kansas I have signed 15 Right to Life bills reaffirming our commitment that life at all stages is sacred and valuable. I appreciate the efforts of the National Pro-life Religious Council, Priests for Life and their allied organizations in recognizing the people of Kansas and their elected officials at the National Prayer Service. Kansas has enacted legislation protecting unborn children from dismemberment abortions, and I encourage other states to do the same. I ask you, therefore, to join me at this prayer service, so that the action we have taken in Kansas can be an encouragement to similar efforts throughout this great land.”

2015 Rally for Life 2015 Rally for Life urges ban on dismemberment abortion bans

2015 Rally for Life in Topeka

The historic “Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act”  prohibits a gruesome method in which the abortionist tears apart a living, well-formed, unborn child– piece by piece –with sharp metal clamps and scissors.

The draft legislation for the “Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act” was developed by Kansans for Life with the National Right to Life Committee; Sen. Garrett Love (R-Montezuma) was lead sponsor. Public support for the bill was overwhelming and ceremonial bill signings by Gov. Brownback were held in four Kansas cities.

  • The Act is currently blocked in Kansas by a temporary injunction, awaiting a ruling from the State Court of Appeals.
  • Oklahoma passed the Act and it is under injunction in federal court.
  • The Act is being considered in several other state legislatures and has been filed in the U.S.House of Representatives.

The “Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act” was crafted to be upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court, with the same reasoning they cited for upholding a ban on partial-birth method abortions in 2007 (emphasis added):

“[W]hen it has a rational basis to act, and it does not impose an undue burden, the State may use its regulatory power to bar certain procedures and substitute others, all in furtherance of its legitimate interests in regulating the medical profession in order to promote respect for life, including life of the unborn.” [Gonzales v Carhart, 550 U.S. at 158]

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Solicitor General Steve McAlister

Solicitor General Steve McAlister

While Wednesday’s full court hearing of the Kansas Court of Appeals was characterized by one of the 14 judges as “merely a whistle stop on the destination to justice,” it would be a mistake to underestimate the significance of the 90-minute hearing.

At issue is Attorney General Derek Schmidt’s appeal of a temporary injunction granted June 25 by a state court which blocked Senate Bill 95, the “Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act,” from going into effect.

The lawsuit was filed by father-daughter abortionists at the Center for Women’s Health, Herb Hodes and Traci Nauser, who attended the hearing along with a raft of attorneys, reporters, representatives of the other two Kansas abortion businesses, and members of Kansans for Life. Court staff had added extra chairs and a “cheat” sheet with the judges’ photos and names. No electronic devices are allowed, so notes had to be taken with old fashioned paper and pen.

This hearing was focused on the process of awarding an injunction, and not the content of the law enjoined. So it was not too surprising that not one word was uttered describing the horrific abortion dismemberment method that uses sharp metal clamps and scissors to tear apart, piece by piece, a well-formed, living unborn child.

Rather, the focus of the oral argument (45 minutes each, pro and con) was on pretty heavy-duty legal language–for example,  how federal “substantive due process” and “equal protection” (upon which Roe is based) are interpreted in state constitutions.

In simpler terms, will this court uphold the injunction by Shawnee County Judge Larry Hendricks that blocked the dismemberment ban from going into effect?

The Attorney General’s appeal alleges the injunction cannot hold because it is based on

  • a hitherto-undeclared “right to abortion” under the Bill of Rights section of the Kansas Constitution; and
  • misinterpretations of federal abortion decisions.

The pro-life side was represented by State Solicitor General, Steve McAllister– an experienced litigator, constitutional scholar, past law school dean, and former clerk to two U.S. Supreme Court justices.

The attorney for the plaintiffs seeking to keep dismemberment abortions legal was Janet Crepps, from the New-York-based Center for Reproductive Rights. Crepps is an experienced pro-abortion litigator, but she struggled to answer judges’ questions regarding Kansas law.

KANSAS CONSTITUTION PROTECTS UNBORN
The arguments Wednesday dealt nearly exclusively with the Kansas Constitution, and not the federal abortion rulings related to partial-birth and dismemberment abortion methods. McAllister strongly asserted that this court’s task was to assess prior Kansas rulings and not try to guess which way the Kansas Supreme Court might rule on this case in the future –as it is expected they surely will do at some point.

He presented strong evidence that the state framers particularly sought to protect natural rights, not un-enumerated, newly-evolved “rights.”

This stood in opposition to Judge Hendricks’ ruling which asserts a state abortion right that is “fundamental,” broader than that of Roe, and which bars any ban on the dismemberment method.

McAllister noted that abortion was illegal at the 1859 adoption of the state constitution, so how can any authentic reading of it re-interpret abortion to be protected? Moreover, abortion was criminally prosecuted in Kansas up until Roe.  Kansas case law, he argued, has interpreted the state constitution as specifically protective of the unborn child.

As a comparison, McAllister pointed out that doctors had filed—and lost—a lawsuit to find a “right” to practice medicine within the Kansas Constitution, so it seems absurd for abortionists to assert there’s a “right” to abortion found there!

Abortion attorney Janet Crepps

Abortion attorney Janet Crepps

WEAK LEGAL CLAIMS
Several judges pushed Crepps to defend why her clients were seeking to have Kansas courts secure a state right to abortion. Since the intended purpose of a temporary injunction is to prevent “harms” during litigation, they asked how was she really helping her clients by not using the federal court system where Roe already supports abortion claims?

Crepps’ reply was that every citizen has the right to ask the courts to find such individual protection under their state constitution. She noted that interracial marriage and gay rights were not originally acknowledged as rights.

At one point, Crepps was asked to elucidate specifically what was the “undue burden” involved from the Act: was it safety? cost? geographic access?

Crepps responded that the banned method took only one day to complete instead of three and that the Act left only “unreasonable alternatives” for women seeking second-trimester abortions. Throughout the hearing she repeatedly described one alternative method as requiring the insertion of a “spinal, 18-gauge needle into the stomach or vagina” to “cause demise.”

She didn’t say “fetal demise.” Just demise. Did the judges notice she left out the unborn child?

The chief Judge of the appellate court, Thomas Malone, promised a quick ruling but was unable to say when that would occur.

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