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Archive for the ‘Kansas Abortion Law’ Category

Sen LaTurner

Fed-State Chair Jacob LaTurner

Should Kansas abortion clinics continue to deny basic data about their abortionists from women considering abortion?

The Kansas Senate Federal State Affairs committee said “no!” to that on Wednesday morning.

With only the ranking minority and the two newest senators in opposition, the committee passed SB 98/ the DISCLOSE ACT. Committee chairman, Sen. Jacob LaTurner (R-Pittsburg) said he expects it will likely be voted on by the full Senate next week.

SB 98, the DISCLOSE ACT, updates the 1997 Kansas Woman’s Right to Know statutes by requiring that the abortion consent form reveal a few essentials about each abortionist, including year of medical degree, state residency, and whether he/she has local hospital privileges.

Women in Kansas considering abortion are completely in the dark about the practitioner that will be assigned to them by the abortion clinic. Kansas abortion appointments are made with a single phone call or email contact.

Paperwork designed by each clinic that supposedly covers the legal requirements of informed consent is available online. But the clinics’ consent forms really do not properly embody the intent of the Woman’s Right to Know law when they list all staff abortionists and have the woman estimate her gestational age.

Sen. Rob Olson

Sen. Rob Olson

Some of the data about Kansas physicians in the DISCLOSE ACT  can be found– with diligent effort –on the state website of the Kansas Board of Healing Arts. Too bad that the Board uses only half of the categories recommended by The Federation of State Medical Boards for physician profiling (see: here and here)

Pro-abortion testimony in Tuesday’s hearing showed grave ignorance of the principles of voluntary and fully informed consent. Testimony generally whined that the proposed simple disclosures were “unnecessary”, “absurd”, “redundant” and “prejudicial.” Poppycock.

WOMAN, NOT CLINIC TO CHOOSE INFO
A woman has a complete right to choose her physician by balancing factors she considers relevant in the abortion context. These include a practitioner’s gender, age, training, skill (or lack of it), length of time he/she has been working at that clinic, and whether he/she can participate in possible emergencies at the hospital.

The Kansas abortion clinics may indeed be embarrassed to disclose information that shows:

  • four of the seven Kansas abortionists are 75-78 years of age;
  • four (or fewer) of the seven have local hospital privileges;
  • one clinic has had 100% turnover in abortionists in only 3 years;
  • one abortionist was told by the Healing Arts Board not to practice ob/gyn.

Abortion consent forms under existent statute KSA 65-6710(b) must be printed in a typeface large enough to be clearly legible.

Kansas abortion clinics, however, have been playing games with the forms as to font sizes and colors and inserting opinion statements meant to undermine the mandated facts. That forced SB 98 to insure that the disclosures are in 12 pt. Black ink, Times New Roman font. To remedy potential mischief of black type on black background, Sen. Rob Olson (R-Olathe) amended SB 98 to insure the form prints out on white paper.

Read more about the new SB 98 here.

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Sen. Molly Baumgartner

Sen. Molly Baumgartner

The empty rhetoric of choice is being challenged in Kansas with the DISCLOSE ACT, Senate Bill 98. The bill, sponsored by Sen. Molly Baumgartner (R-Louisburg), with 19 other Senate co-sponsors, would for the first time, require clinics to disclose baseline data about each Kansas abortionist they employ.

A companion bill in the House will be introduced shortly with a strong number of co-sponsors.

On Tuesday morning, the Senate Federal and State Affairs committee holds the first hearing on this topic. KFL will present the lead testimony on why this bill is needed, backed up with medical and legal testimony about the right to full disclosure for valid informed consent.

Under SB 98, the DISCLOSE ACT, the very first item on the abortion consent form will be expanded to provide a checklist for each practitioner as to:

  • Kansas residency,
  • medical degree year,
  • years employed at that location,
  • hospital privileges status,
  • malpractice coverage, and disciplinary actions completed by the State Board of Healing Arts (which regulates physicians).

The clinics can very easily add this information to their online admission forms.

The U.S. Supreme Court key ruling on informed consent, Planned Parenthood v. Casey (1992), acknowledged that the state can enact regulations to ensure that a woman’s choice was “thoughtful and informed.”(Casey at 916)

Kansas City-area litigation attorney Jonathan Whitehead asserts that while the law, medicine and technology have advanced, the Kansas 1997 Woman’s Right to Know statute has stayed relatively the same.

“Disclosures provided to women in Kansas have moved from leading edge to obsolete. SB 98 responds to that by requiring specific information about the provider(s) to be given to women in a legible format, at least 24 hours prior to any non-emergency abortion.”

Currently, all Kansas abortion consent forms are available online, and a copy of the form, printed out with a time-stamp at least 24 hours prior to the abortion, must be brought with the woman to the clinic.

However, all Kansas abortion businesses are not obeying the Woman’s Right to Know provision that the woman be given the identity of the one specific physician scheduled for her abortion. Instead, for convenience, the abortion clinics list ALL the abortionists on staff.

So the woman cannot “choose” the abortionist, nor can she evaluate if that practitioner is acceptable to her. She has no idea of the abortionist’s training, age, and professional reliability. There are no yellow pages of “abortion providers” –locally or nationally–as there are for heart surgeons, pediatricians, etc.

This information stranglehold is not faced in any other elective procedure. Personal recommendations and online research have become part of the way physicians are selected. A patient’s choice of surgeon, for example, may well preclude even the substitution of the physician’s partners.

But not in the abortion context; what the abortion clinic dictates is what controls.

Yet that conflicts with consent that is truly voluntary and fully informed. Topeka physician and director of Mary’s Choices pregnancy resource center, Dr. Melissa Colbern, explains that the decision-making capability of so many women navigating an unplanned pregnancy is already impaired by stress.

These women should have ready-access to information regarding physicians working in the abortion clinics, [including] licensing, hospital privileges, and medical board disciplinary actions. I counsel women in crisis pregnancies …that they should ask for this information and, in fact, have a right to this information.” 

Ideally, a woman considering abortion in Kansas will take advantage of the state-provided videos of gestational development and consider obtaining a free ultrasound at one of the numerous state-wide pregnancy resource centers. Ideally she will take serious time to reflect on her options.

But, at least she should have baseline professional information about practitioners disclosed on the consent form.

We’ll see how Kansas abortion businesses react to this eminently reasonable measure. Any guesses?

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Mary Wilkinson

Mary Wilkinson

Joe Patton

Joe Patton

Following a well-attended Rally for Life in Topeka on Jan. 23, KFL Board members, elected two new officers, one new executive board member, and re-elected several current executive board members.

Joe Patton, former state representative from Topeka, is the new president, replacing outgoing president, Lance Kinzer, and Mary Wilkinson, Wichita, is the new Vice-president.

Re-elected officers include Secretary, Marcia Roos, Iola and Greg Nance, Treasurer, Wichita. Joey Patton was newly elected as Educational Director. Other members of the Executive Committee were re-elected to their current positions.

State Executive Director, Mary Kay Culp, who works out of KFL’s Overland Park office, and State Development Director, David Gittrich, of the Wichita state office, and other organizational positions remain unchanged. In December, KFL hired Peter Northcott, Lawrence, as Assistant State Director.

Lance Kinzer, J.D. became President of KFL in January, 2015 after 10 years in the legislature spearheading major pro-life bills. He led the KFL organization as Kansas became the first state in the nation to pass the historic Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act and also guided our educational campaign against judicial activism.

Now, KFL welcomes Joe Patton, J.D., to the helm. In accepting the office, Patton said,

“Kansans for Life is one of the most effective and dynamic social action organizations in the nation. Our vision is serving God by protecting the foundation of all human rights, the right to life. It is an honor to serve.”

Patton is one of the original 1983 founders of Kansans for Life as the state affiliate of the National Right to Life Committee.

Joey Patton

Joey Patton

Peter Northcott

Peter Northcott

During his Statehouse tenure from 2007 until 2012 representing southwest Topeka, he helped achieve passage for various pro-life laws, including ending tax-funded abortion training at KU Medical Center. Patton led the House floor debate on the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which is in effect, and is daily saving unborn children –at 22 weeks gestation and upwards– from abortion in Kansas.

Mary Wilkinson, R.N., has long been involved in Kansas pro-life activism and service to KFL–  from large scale rally preparations to media relations. She organized the original Wichita affiliate, LIFE Inc., and is currently a member of the KFL Political Action Committee (KFL PAC).

Business administrator and author, Joey Patton, has been an intern with the National Right to Life Committee, one of the organizers of NRLC’s Teens for Life, and a frequent speaker for the pro-life cause.

Rally for Life 2017 Topeka

Rally for Life 2017 Topeka

2017 RALLY FOR LIFE

After leading Monday’s Rally March  downtown to the Capitol with the four Catholic bishops of Kansas, Gov. Sam Brownback addressed the nearly 2,000 participants. Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer also spoke to the crowd with a backdrop of pro-life legislators, many newly elected, standing on the south steps of the Capitol.

One of the freshman class, Rep. Susan Humphries (R-Wichita), had just finished remarks in the House, noting the 59 million innocent lives have been lost due to Roe v Wade (see pg. 97 of the House Journal here).

Rep. Susan Humphries

Rep. Susan Humphries

Sen. Mary Pilcher-Cook

Sen. Mary Pilcher-Cook

Veteran pro-life champion, State Senator Mary Pilcher-Cook (R-Shawnee) was also part of the legislative contingent on the steps. Later that day she introduced a proclamation recognizing the valuable contribution of the pregnancy assistance centers across Kansas (read on pg.67 of the Senate Journal here).

Also speaking at the Rally podium and at an afternoon workshop was Krystle Pauly, Wichita, advocating healthy birthing options for unborn children diagnosed with severe, life-limiting conditions.  Read more about Krystle’s testimony and perinatal hospice on the kfl.org website, here.

For more about the KFL 2017 Rally for Life, and Gov. Brownback’s challenge to the state Supreme Court not to invent a state “right” to abortion, please read this article at Lifenews.com.

To keep up with the exciting daily pro-life policy announcements and executive orders by new President Donald Trump, stay tuned to National Right to Life News Today.

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stop dismembering posterThe Kansas Supreme Court announced Wednesday that they have scheduled oral arguments for 9a.m. March 16, on the matter of a blocked ban on dismemberment abortions.

It’s been 11 months since the Kansas Supreme Court was asked to review two lower court decisions upholding a temporary injunction against the first-in-the nation Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act, passed in April 2015.

The first state court decision was made by Shawnee District Judge Larry Hendricks, ruling in favor of a father /daughter abortion duo, Herb Hodes & Traci Nauser, who had already sued two other state pro-life laws. The second ruling was a split decision from the state Court of Appeals, which settled nothing. While this matter proceeds, all three Hodes/Nauser lawsuits are on hold.

The case before the Kansas Supreme Court is more than just a ruling on one method of abortion because the

legal attack needs the Court to declare a state right to abortion, one more broad and extreme that that created by Roe v Wade.

As described by one appellate court justice, G. Gordon Atcheson, the newly asserted state abortion right would undermine the Kansas pro-life protective laws currently allowable under Roe v Wade.

Kansans for Life agrees with State Attorney General, Derek Schmidt, that there is no such thing as a state constitutional right to abortion.

When adopted in 1859, the Kansas Constitution did not state, nor intend to create, a ‘right’ to abortion. In fact, in that same year, just before the adoption of the Constitution, the Kansas state legislature passed a law making it a crime to kill an unborn child by abortion. This law was in effect for over 100 years.

The Kansas Attorney General urged last February that the injunction be dropped, but the Court bided its time, during which, five justices up for retention election in November narrowly retained their seats. Only one justice had the support of pro-lifers.

The Lawrence Journal World described the issue of the March hearing as a legal challenge over a “law banning a certain type of abortion procedure commonly used in second-trimester abortions, a procedure that abortion opponents call ‘dismemberment abortions.’”

The AP Wire service was more clear when reporting that the case revolves around “a 2015 law that bans doctors from using forceps, tongs or other medical implements to dismember a fetus in the womb to complete an abortion.”

The legal matter is not whether the state legislature’s dismemberment ban was justified, but on the argument that abortion advocates will likely win at trial, when they can assert  a Court ratified state right to abortion as fundamental to women’s liberty interest.

Planned Parenthood had this pat comment yesterday, “We’re hopeful the court will see this for what it is, which is politicians attempting to practice medicine and endangering women in the process.”

Pro-lifers are hoping the Court sees what is always very much overlooked in these reports — the innocent, fully-formed little human beings facing a torturous and unjustifiable death.

What are  the “liberty interests” of those little boys and girls?

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thumb_008

Now-closed Kansas City “Affordable Abortions”  lab specimen prep room in 2003 (photos by staff whistle-blower)

The U.S. Supreme Court 5-3 Whole Women’s Health v Hellerstedt ruling June 27th is not the huge victory abortion supporters claim. However, there is no question that “Hellerstedt” is a truly troublesome ruling, as it:

  • undermines the Court’s former support for the compelling interests of state legislatures,
  • makes the Supreme Court the nation’s medical board, and
  • encourages activist courts to indulge in subjective judgment of abortion regulations.

Ultimately, it’s a setback for the pro-life movement both nationally and in Kansas. However, looking at the long game, Supreme Court decisions are not set in stone.

As a reminder,  the Court struck down a ban on partial-birth abortions in 2000 and then in 2007 upheld the ban. Why? The language of the ban was tweaked, the public became educated (and outraged) and the composition of the Supreme Court changed. This is why presidential elections matter.

HORRIBLE RULING
Hellerstedt
has abandoned any pretext that the Court is only involved to guarantee “safe and legal” abortion. They have overruled protection for women in order to protect abortion business profits. The Court has reinforced its schizophrenia that demands abortion be treated as a medical procedure, but not be subject to the ordinary state oversight other medical facilities must obey.

Kansas City "Affordable Abortions"

“Affordable Abortions” unsterile surgical bedside with open trash and dirty carpet

Kansas has had plenty of abortion horror stories. A staff whistle-blower took photos in 2003 at the inner city “Affordable Abortions” clinic of Krishna Rajanna (now closed). She was so worried about the filth there she would wipe down the surgical bed with rubbing alcohol whenever she could.

Kansas had a duty to enact abortion clinic regulations, and it took ten years to get a licensure and inspection law— passed when we had a pro-life governor in 2011.
(Read more here and here.)

The abominable majority opinion last Monday, written by Justice Breyer, absurdly tries to justify striking down Texas’ clinic regulations, asserting that having such laws in place would not stop the “very bad behavior” of “determined wrong-doers” like Kansas had  at the “Affordable Abortions” clinic and elsewhere. With that logic, no laws would ever be passed.

The Hellerstedt ruling is harshly criticized by the dissenting justices (Thomas, Alito and Roberts) for breaking procedural rules and being so riddled with special exceptions for special rights” that it violates “the promise of a judiciary bound by the rule of law.”

Planned Parenthood has announced now they’ll fight abortion regulations in eight states: Arizona, Florida, Michigan, Missouri, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia– “with more to come” against similar laws across the country. National Right to Life Committee president, Carol Tobias, expects only measures identical to those blocked by the Supreme Court will be vulnerable to appeal.

HOW IS KANSAS AFFECTED?
The office of Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt has so far announced that the legal team is studying the Hellerstedt ruling with respect to three ongoing lawsuits filed by Kansas abortionists. The A.G. team has prevailed in all other concluded abortion litigation since 2011.  (Read more about Kansas abortion clinics and lawsuits here.)

"Affordable Abortions" had blocked back exit with lawn mower in the mess as a "back-up generator"

“Affordable Abortions” fire-hazard blocked back exit with lawn mower (by door) as a “back-up generator”

Most directly related to Hellerstedt is the 2011 Kansas comprehensive abortion clinic licensure & inspection law which has never been in effect due to a “temporary” injunction and to an unjustifiable 4 1/2 year delay from Shawnee District Court Judge Franklin Theis.

That law includes building safety standards, injury & death incident reporting, abortion-specific protocols and a requirement that abortions be performed by Kansas-licensed physicians. Relative to Hellerstedt, it

  1. does mandate hospital privileges for abortionists within 30 miles of the abortion site, but
  2. does not require an abortion facility to be licensed as an ambulatory surgical center (ASC).

The admitting privilege (#1)  does mirror that of Texas, but the context in Kansas is not the same. All four Kansas abortion businesses  (2 in Wichita and 2 in Overland Park) claim to have access to abortionists with hospital privileges.

As for #2, although some of the Kansas facility requirements do resemble those of ASCs,  those provisions would not automatically need to be struck down. Also, two Kansas abortion businesses(Planned Parenthood and SouthWind) are already licensed as ASCs.

However, following Hellerstedt, activist courts will be more encouraged to subjectively critique –and potentially reject–duly-passed medical oversight laws.

 

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"the Hand of Hope" photo by Michael Clancy, 1999

“the Hand of Hope”by Michael Clancy, 1999

Six states have now banned brutal and inhumane abortions that dismember fully formed unborn children.

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards signed into law “the Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act” last Friday, joining — in order– Kansas, Oklahoma, West Virginia, Mississippi, and Alabama, whose citizens embraced the necessity of passing this model legislation provided by the National Right to Life Committee.

In coverage of this law, most outlets, particularly  the Associated Press, refuse to even use the term “dismemberment” which is defined in this legislation.  Also unsurprisingly, the media  never challenge abortion supporters to defend the appalling savagery of slicing a living unborn baby to pieces.

Yet, even with biased media coverage, the public understood the gruesomeness of sharp metal tools tearing apart the tiny limbs of well-developed children while in their mothers’ wombs.

A majority of Americans who increasingly describe themselves as pro-life know that abortion is not done on a blob of tissue. Many of them confirmed that understanding after seeing a famous photo of a little hand reaching out of his mother’s womb.

That milestone photograph is called  “The Hand of Hope” taken Aug. 19, 1999 by Michael Clancy. The photo took the world by storm when it first appeared in USA Today on Sept. 7, 1999. The tiny hand of Samuel Armas, at 21weeks gestation, is captured grasping the skilled hand of the doctor performing innovative surgery to correct spina bifida. All this occurs while Samuel was still in his mother’s womb.

“I could see the uterus shake violently and then this little fist came out of the surgical opening,” Clancy recalls. “It came out under its own power. When Dr. Bruner lifted the little hand, I fired my camera and the tighter Samuel squeezed, the harder Dr. Bruner shook his hand.”

Gov. Brownback

Gov. Brownback

Gov. Sam Brownback remarked about that photograph in his May 5, 2015 letter commemorating the signing of the Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act in Kansas:

“What a visually impactful moment: the delicate, miniscule hand with each finger and nail, trustingly holding on to the doctor. There is little debate over whether the child in utero is alive; the debate is over whether or not the child is a life worthy of protection.

Clancy’s lens encapsulates so much meaning in that one shot: a vulnerable, functioning, unborn child, not yet ready to survive outside of his mother who nevertheless lies completely at the mercy of the physician’s medical talent—and ethics.

Clancy says he was “pro-choice” before the snapshot, but not afterwards.

He recognized in that one critical moment what was actually at stake in abortion—not a “choice” but a unique and unrepeatable human individual connected to the human community.

Truly, the unborn child developing in the safety of his mother’s womb is absolutely at the mercy of the laws regulating physicians. Preserving the dignity of that relationship between the mother, child and physician dictated that six states prohibit barbaric dismemberment method abortions.

All pro-lifers who have worked so hard to enact the Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act —and those in other states yet to do so– would no doubt agree with this thought from Gov. Brownback’s letter:

“Protection is at the heart of this law. Protection of an actively developing baby with his or her unique DNA, and who can be seen thumb-sucking, hand-waving, and smiling in routine sonography. A defenseless child with so much potential.”

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

Last April, Kansas became the first state to pass legislation barring the barbaric dismemberment method abortions. Now, under challenge  by pro-abortionists, that first-of-its-kind law, which is on hold, is about to be reviewed by the Kansas Supreme Court.

This ban prohibits the gruesome abortion method of tearing apart fully-formed, living babies– limb by limb– until they bleed to death.

The Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act, model legislation drafted by the National Right to Life Committee, has since been enacted by Oklahoma, West Virginia, and (soon) Mississippi. This vital legislation has also been introduced in Pennsylvania, Minnesota, Idaho, Nebraska, Missouri, Louisiana, Rhode Island, and Utah.

Thus the impact of the ruling by our Supreme Court will extend beyond our state borders.

The premise of the Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act comes from the U.S. Supreme Court Gonzales ruling. In that 2007 decision, the justices upheld a ban on partial-birth abortions by acknowledging that,

“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.”

Abortion supporters have thus sought to find and secure in state constitutions a broader and more unassailable “right” to abortion.

pro-abortion judgesThat’s what happened in Kansas last June, when Shawnee District Court Judge Larry Hendricks blocked the ban on dismemberment abortions from going into effect.  Hendricks adopted abortion attorney arguments–literally–asserting that the Kansas state Constitution protects abortion even more fundamentally than the standard established by the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision.

The temporary injunction was obtained by the New York-based Center for Reproductive Rights on behalf of Kansas’ father-daughter abortionists at the Center for Women’s Health in suburban Kansas City.

The injunction allows three Kansas abortion businesses to continue to perform these grisly procedures — 629 last year–at a cost of up to $2,000 each.

That activist ruling by Judge Hendricks was left standing when the full Kansas Court of Appeals reviewed it and announced on January 22 that they were divided, 7-7.

However, pro-life Attorney General Derek Schmidt appealed the appellate decision to the state’s highest court. Schmidt argued that the appellate ruling does not make precedent and current abortion lawsuits remain in limbo without clear guidance. Yesterday, it was announced the appeal will be heard. (documents here) Here are the three questions that the state of Kansas has posed for the state Supreme Court to rule on:

  1. Does the Kansas Constitution create a right to abortion?
  2. If that right exists, does it clearly prevent government from regulating dismemberment abortions?
  3. Did the Court of Appeals wrongly accept the lower court’s facts and legal standard?

Our state Constitution was enacted in 1859, when abortion was illegal in Kansas and across the nation. Yet one radical judge of the Kansas Court of Appeals, G. Gordon Atcheson (writing to concur with the injunction against the dismemberment abortion ban) believes that the state Constitution is an “evolving” document with an “ever more enlightened understanding of humanity” and women’s “self-determination.”

Mary Kay Culp, KFL executive director commented, “The challenge we face is whether a majority of the Kansas Supreme Court will follow the U.S. Supreme Court’s holding that allows states to ban barbaric abortion methods, or whether it will follow Appellate Judge Atcheson’s opinion that the dismembering of unborn children comports with an ‘enlightened understanding of humanity’.”

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