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Archive for the ‘Kansas legislation’ Category

The governors and attorneys general of 22 states (including Kansas) have joined together to file an amicus curiae (friend of the court) brief to support Alabama’s ban on dismemberment abortions.

A temporary restraining order against Alabama’s Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act was issued in July 2016, one year after Kansas’ identical ban also was blocked, although the Kansas challenge is taking place in state, not federal, court.

Last Friday, the U.S. Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals received the joint “amicus” brief organized by Louisiana’s Attorney General. Included are six states which have passed this ban [Arkansas, Louisiana, Kansas, Mississippi, Oklahoma and West Virginia] and sixteen which have not [Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, Ohio, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, and Wisconsin].

Gov. Sam Brownback signs ‘first-in-nation” ban on
dismemberment abortion

This filing reminds that –as noted in the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2007 Gonzales ruling upholding the federal ban on partial-birth abortions– states have the right to pass abortion restrictions that (1) protect and foster respect for the unborn, and (2) regulate the medical profession as to judgment and ethics. Moreover, the amicus continues,

“the abortion method involved in this case is an exceptionally gruesome one, potentially even more so than the ‘partial-birth’ procedure at issue in Gonzales.”

ABORTION METHOD MISREPRESENTED
One method of abortion after the first trimester is induced labor abortions, done mostly in hospital settings. The child is prematurely delivered and dies.

Most other abortions obtained at that gestation are done surgically by “D&E,” in which the birth canal is dilated and the unborn child extracted.

The abortion industry defense of dismemberment abortions has been the claim that “D&E” is safe and used for 95% of second trimester abortions.

However, all D&E abortions are not being banned under the Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act, model legislation supported by NRLC and first enacted in Kansas.

Dismemberment abortions of still-living unborn children are a subset of D&E method

By design, this law bans only one specific method used upon a still-alive unborn baby. The law is defined as the tearing apart of an unborn child while still alive in the mother; a child who, in the words of U.S, Justice Anthony Kennedy, “dies just as a human adult or child would: It bleeds to death as it is torn limb from limb.” [Stenberg v. Carhart, dissent, 530 U.S. 914, 958-959]

To explain defending a law “requiring fetal demise before dismemberment,” the states authoring this brief insist they

do not intend to sanction abortion generally. They also regret being placed in the incongruous position as advocating for fetal death as a humane alternative to a procedure that should have no place in civilized society.”

ABORTIONISTS NOT FREE TO CHOOSE
States like Kansas that have enacted the dismemberment ban, have heard abortionists rely on the claim that because D&E abortions are “the most common,” that the state dare not ban them. But the state is not banning all D&E abortions, as noted above, a distinction that most media accounts resolutely miss. The multi-state amicus brief notes,

Kansas A.G. Derek Schmidt

“Even when some abortion providers consider a forbidden procedure to be medically preferable, the State’s reasonable resolution of the tradeoffs prevails. Abortion providers instead must work to find abortion methods that are more consistent with respect for life.”

Of course, the ultimate goal is for the Roe regime, and abortions, to end.

In the interim, it is promising that Kansas has emboldened 21 other states in supporting the federal appeal of the block on Alabama’s Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act. According to the amicus,

“By limiting the use of particularly ‘brutal’ abortion procedures, States further respect for life, both in society at large and in the medical profession in particular. They also protect women from the deep grief many of them are likely to feel if and when they later discover exactly how their unborn children were killed.

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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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Sheryl & Scott Crosier treasured their son, Simon

Sheryl & Scott Crosier lost their son, Simon, to a secret DNR placement

“Simon’s Law” is named for a medically fragile baby born with Trisomy 18 and apnea (breathing difficulty), who died when resuscitation was denied.

His devastated parents, Sheryl and Scott Crosier, only learned later that Simon’s hospital chart contained a DNR [Do Not Resuscitate] that was never discussed, much less permitted by them. They have mounted a grassroots crusade to alert parents and enact this law to protect parents’ rights.

Simon’s Law has the support of numerous pro-life medical groups and professionals, as well as other families who discovered (after the fact) that they also lost a child to a secretly-placed DNR. (see here)

Unfortunately, the medical climate is not tilted in the Crosiers’ favor. A survey of pediatricians last year found that up to 73% of them would issue DNRs without parental permission to children with severe, life-limiting conditions.

Sheryl was recently contacted by a Texas mom with the disturbing account that her 18-month-old son went to the hospital with RSV (a rather common illness) and the hospital tried to place a DNR in the toddler’s chart! The child had no other medical problem or condition but the RSV.

Simon’s Law will insure that DNRs will not be issued unilaterally by physicians and hospitals. All parents need this law–and not only those whose children might be medically discriminated against as lacking “quality of life.”

Brenda Spurlock & Son Zach with Sheryl Crosier

Brenda & Zach Spurlock with Sheryl Crosier(r) support Simon’s Law

KANSAS TESTIMONY
The following is the story of a Kansas mom, with special needs children, who came to testify in favor of Simon’s Law.

Seven and a half years ago, a medically fragile baby boy, Zachariah, was born in a Kansas hospital.

He lacked a significant portion of his skull, and a portion of his brain had developed into a separate sack attached to the back of his head.

Due to those challenges, his hospital chart contained a do-not-resuscitate order (DNR).

A few days after his birth, Zach suffered a long period of apnea and because of the DNR, he was removed from monitors, wrapped in a blanket, and handed to his biological mother to die.

Several minutes into the episode, baby Zach self-resuscitated. At that point his young parents asked medical personnel to do all they could for him.

Zach was alive, but needed to remain hospitalized. His unmarried mom had been matched by the perinatal experts at Alexandra’s House in Kansas City with a “mentor,” Brenda Spurlock, to support her during the pregnancy and afterwards.

Brenda had experience navigating a complicated NICU situation as her own daughter, Tatum, had also been born with a sac bulging from the back of her head. In addition, Tatum had been given a “fatal” diagnosis of Trisomy 18, which included neurological and physiological defects.

As Zach approached one month of age, his birth mom felt increasingly unequipped to care for him. Brenda and her husband Jack adopted Zach, welcoming him into their family of seven children.

Zach & Tatum Spurlock

Zach & Tatum Spurlock

CHILDREN EXCEED DIRE DIAGNOSES
Brenda Spurlock came to the Kansas Capitol Feb.16th to testify in support of Simon’s Law. She told the Senate Federal & State Affairs Committee:

     “We were warned Zach’s life would be very short. In fact, we were told he would likely not live out the month and that the best case scenario was a 3-5 year life span, fraught with life threatening seizures and bouts of pneumonia. We were also warned he would exist in a semi-vegetative state.

Yet he has never suffered a single seizure, nor has he ever experienced a bout of pneumonia. 

The portion of his brain that was removed was thought to contain his visual cortex and we were told he would be blind, but he sees! 

He has cerebral palsy, autism, profound global delays, and hemiplegia on the right side of his body. But he is a delight. He does not know a bad day, only a bad moment, and then he puts that award winning smile back on his face and marches on! 

Our daughter, Tatum, has had full genetic testing and her particular chromosomal tripling has never before been documented or journaled. Her life was judged by an unknown…and they were wrong! Tatum has far surpassed any of the prenatal and postnatal prognoses that were given to us, and on February 10 she celebrated her 9th birthday.

When we adopted Zach, we removed the DNR that had been placed in his medical records. 

I think every parent of a medically-fragile child should be aware of the choice to sign a DNR for their child, and I would hope that choice could be offered tactfully. But I stand firmly against medical professionals making a life choice for an infant or child based on a prenatal diagnosis, or set of tests.”

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Sen. Jacob LaTurner, chair of Senate Federal & State Affairs committee, with Zach & Brenda Spurlock

Today’s hearing on “Simon’s Law” in the Kansas Senate Federal & State Affairs committee room was a tale of two little boys.

One dear boy, Simon, was alive only in cherished memories detailed to the committee. Another, Zach, –whom medical experts claimed would never be more than a “vegetable”—jiggled and squirmed in his seat and would smile at various people in the room, and say “Hi!”

Baby Simon

Baby Simon

Today, Sheryl Crosier was the key witness as Kansas renews consideration of Simon’s Law, SB 85. Simon’s Law passed the Senate 37-3 last spring but didn’t get through the House process in time to become law. Thus hearings started anew this year. Simon’s Law preserves the rights of parents in the issuance of “Do Not Resuscitate ”(DNR) orders to minors.

Sheryl very poignantly recounted (or, perhaps more accurately, relived) how her baby son, Simon, died six years ago in front of her and her husband, Scott, at the hospital where he had lived his entire young, three months of life.

Simon & family

Simon Crosier with family

After the heartbreak of burying their child, the Crosiers discovered that the reason baby Simon was dead was because, without their permission, a “Do Not Resuscitate” (DNR) order had been placed in his medical chart.  The bad news mounted: the hospital had a written “futility” policy concerning when life-sustaining procedures would not be given.

Simon had been diagnosed with Trisomy 18 disorder three days after birth. For many years, such children were immediately labeled as having a lethal condition, and were not treated. The medical community is slowly starting to abandon labeling children like Simon as “incompatible with life,”  according to a brand new article this week that appears in JAMA (the Journal of the American Medical Association.)

Thus began the Crosiers’ crusade to alert parents, especially those with medically fragile children, that a death by secret DNR could happen to them.

Along the way, other parents, researchers and doctors have joined in the crusade to pass Simon’s Law.

The case was strongly made in committee today with a large number of proponents, including Kansas Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer, who is a surgeon. Four medical groups have supported Simon’s Law since last year. The committee will “work” the bill for passage as early as this coming Monday.

tatum-and-zach

Tatum & Zach Spurlock outstripped “expectations”

The truly beautiful side note to the hearing was the presence of a boy who has far outstripped his “expectations.” Kansans Jack & Brenda Spurlock, whose nine- year-old daughter Tatum has outlived her “fatal” diagnosis of Trisomy 18, came to the Capitol to testify for Simon’s Law.

Tatum was not present today, due to the flu, but her brother, 7 1/2 year-old Zach, melted the hearts of the whole room.

Zach was born without a significant portion of his skull, and with a large occipital encephalocele that contained a portion of his brain. He was predicted to have seizures and other afflictions his whole life. Not so! Zach stayed throughout the one-hour hearing, exhibiting “best behavior.” 

The committee truly witnessed the joy of  a life that has too often been labeled as not worth sustaining, and the tragedy of taking a life due to preconceived “quality of life” judgments.

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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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pp-bkgd-obamaThe Obama administration is slapping down every state that has acted on the idea that the federal Title X reproductive healthcare program was NOT created to bankroll Planned Parenthood.

A proposed new Health & Human Services(HHS) rule announced last week would nullify state eligibility thresholds (such as Kansas has) that prioritizes Title X grants to full-service medical facilities.

Created in 1970 to help the indigent and uninsured, Title X is federally-dispersed money designed to assist low income-qualifying women for non-abortion reproductive health services, including contraceptives and health screenings. In Kansas, Title X is distributed by the Kansas Department of Health & Environment (KDHE).

It is good stewardship for the state to allocate financial support to full-service public clinics and hospitals to provide the poor with the full range of well-woman care (not just gynecological services, but nutritional, cardio, mental health, etc.) as well as pediatric and geriatric care for women and men.

Beginning in 2007, Kansas legislators did just that. They annually passed the Huelskamp-Kinzer proviso, directing KDHE to prioritize Title X reproductive health care grants to full-service public clinics and hospitals.

Planned Parenthood cannot meet that criteria. It only offers a narrow range of exams and screenings and cannot provide mammograms, chest X-rays, and other essential medical evaluations.

The Huelskamp-Kinzer proviso was repeatedly vetoed by pro-abortion Kansas governors Sebelius and Parkinson until Gov. Sam Brownback’s first year in office, 2011, when it was approved. Planned Parenthood immediately sued.

A district court judge blocked the Huelskamp-Kinzer proviso and forced KDHE to continue to pay Planned Parenthood and another clinic roughly one million dollars during litigation. At the time of the ruling, Dr. Robert Moser, who was KDHE head in 2011, said

 “Title X was not intended to be an entitlement program for Planned Parenthood. Other providers are already offering a fuller spectrum of health care   for Kansas patients. This highly unusual ruling implies a private organization has a right to taxpayer subsidy. The people of Kansas disagree.” 

However, after Planned Parenthood lost its legal appeal in the Tenth Circuit  Court of Appeals, the Huelskamp-Kinzer proviso went into effect in mid-2014. (It was made a permanent law this spring.) The ruling held:

  1. that Planned Parenthood’s claim of a First Amendment violation lacked merit, and
  2. that Kansas could select mainstream, full-service health care providers as preferred grantees.

If the aim of Title X is truly to help the uninsured and indigent get disease screenings and full reproductive health care, Kansas’ priority of one-stop access at local comprehensive-care medical centers is the right model.

The new HHS proposal eliminates state authority. It should be opposed as an unabashed power play to send our tax-funded Title X money to the nation’s largest abortion business.

HHS is open to public input on the proposal through Oct. 7. Sign the KFL petition  to HHS today.

 

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