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Archive for the ‘Kansas legislation’ Category

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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"third world" conditions of inner-city abortion clinic

“sterilization room” of now-closed Kansas City abortion clinic

By a vote of 5-3 today, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a  ruling protecting abortion profits above state health protocols.  Struck down are two provisions of HB2, a Texas law requiring abortion clinics to meet the same safety standards as ambulatory surgical centers and requiring abortionists to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital in case of medical emergencies.

Similar provisions are part of a larger pro-life bill under injunction in Kansas.

This ruling was not unexpected because the majority of the nation’s highest Court supports abortion and will go to any lengths to preserve it—even self-contradiction. The Court both affirmed and then undermined this holding (from Roe): “the State has a legitimate interest in seeing to it that abortion . . . is performed under circumstances that insure maximum safety for the patient.”

In its pretzel logic the Court now dictates that state regulation must be subject to interpretation of how it might present an “obstacle” to abortion. The same standards any state uses to insure safe medical facilities —under today’s rulings—cannot routinely apply to surgical abortion facilities.

This is ridiculous.

Even disgusting, filthy hole-in the-wall clinics that won’t upgrade their facilities are now –in the Court’s eyes—protected by a veritable “necessity” exemption. Yet the existence of at least two such clinics in Kansas City were a main impetus for the Kansas abortion clinic licensure law passed in 2011.

That Kansas law was ten years in the making, including testimony of patient abuse, abortion malpractice and “third-world” caliber clinics. (read more)

Today’s ruling now guarantees more judges at every level will be involved in scrutinizing duly-passed pro-life laws to decipher whether they will pass muster with the U.S. Supreme Court’s subjective notion of what constitutes an “obstacle” to abortion.

Statement from KFL Executive Director, Mary Kay Culp:

“No one should applaud today’s decision. It shows in the starkest terms the so-called ‘safe and legal’ fantasy for what it always has been: a cover for abortion at all costs. Today’s decision is a real tragedy for mothers and as always, for their unborn children–something most women realize eventually.”

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CNM PPKMMJust days ago, Planned Parenthood filed suit in federal court to stop Kansas from barring them as Medicaid providers following an executive order by Gov. Sam Brownback to the state health department.

This issue is similar to, but different from, the lawsuit Planned Parenthood lost in 2014 to regain Kansas funding as federal Title X providers. The latter– Title X prioritization of full-service public clinics and hospitals –was put permanently into statute last week in the waning days of the Kansas legislative session.

The plaintiffs of the new lawsuit included three Medicaid-eligible women, two distinct Planned Parenthood entities (the Kansas &Mid- Missouri business and the St. Louis Missouri business) and—wait for it– two midwives who were on staff until recently.

Yes, midwives.

Midwives Victoria Zadoyan and Justine Flory (currently employed in Topeka and Lawrence according to online information) were described in the lawsuit as working at Planned Parenthood of Kansas & Mid-Missouri up until a year or so ago. The lawsuit makes a ridiculous claim that those two midwives’ reputations will be harmed if their Planned Parenthood Medicaid identification numbers are associated with state disqualification for Medicaid provision—even though neither is currently employed by Planned Parenthood.

These midwives should be more worried about how their “reputation” is sullied by their work for Planned Parenthood and their willingness to sue Kansas on behalf of the abortion giant.

ex-PPKMM midwives Flory & Zadoyan

PPKMM past midwives     Flory & Zadoyan

While pro-life readers may be shocked to learn that midwives who espouse a natural childbirth experience could work at abortion clinics, I am not.

I first personally encountered the concept that midwives could be pro-abortion 24 years ago. This was when I was one of a group of pro-life moms doing volunteer counseling outside a Topeka abortion clinic (no longer in operation). We had made a “save,” i.e. had successfully convinced a pregnant woman (call her Jane) not to choose abortion. We helped Jane with her needs until she delivered and held the baby shower for her at my home.

It was at this occasion when Jane shared with us that after we had first dissuaded her from abortion and sent her to medical assistance in town, the nurse there had tried to push her back into choosing abortion. More shocking and horrifying to me was that the “nurse” she named was the midwife who attended one of my children’s births!

The abortion industry has long been pushing to have “mid-level” providers supplant the ever-decreasing number of physician abortionists.

In 1990 a symposium held by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the National Abortion Federation recommended nurse-midwives be trained to perform first-trimester legal abortions under physician supervision. One-half of the nurse-midwives who were members of the American College of Nurse-Midwives were polled, and 1,208 questionnaires (71.1%) were returned with these results:

  • 79% opposed federal and state efforts to limit access to abortion;
  • 91% would be willing to refer for abortion;
  • 52% would vote in a secret ballot to permit the performance of abortion by certified nurse-midwives;
  • 57% would be willing to prescribe RU 486;
  • 24% would, or possibly would, incorporate abortion procedures into their practice; and
  • 19% would, or possibly would, perform abortions in an abortion clinic.

That was over 25 years ago and yet some legislators were shocked when Kansans for Life insisted during the closing days of session that new regulations for the independent practice of midwives include a ban on abortion.  The ban was passed.

The “scope of practice” of midwives is intentionally written so broadly that it could be interpreted to include abortion, or it could specifically include abortion.

Adding to that, leading medical groups have been cheer leading their provision of abortion since 1994, including the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, American Academy of Physician Assistants, the American College of Nurse-Midwives, the National Association of Nurse Practitioners in Women’s Health, and the International Confederation of Midwives.

Kansas legislators have successfully shut the door on more abortions by midwives and the latest Planned Parenthood lawsuit shows they were correct to do so.

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