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Archive for the ‘Kansas legislation’ Category

"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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pp money (2)The Kansas Legislature adjourned for the year in the wee hours of Monday morning, with two big victories in the area of pro-life healthcare. UPDATE, May 13: Gov. Brownback signed both measures into law this week.

Disappointingly, the time clock hurt us on achieving Simon’s Law, which will be explained further on in this post.

Senate Bill 248, formerly SB 436 (KFL testimony here) was enacted late Sunday evening. It enacts, as permanent law, the “Huelskamp-Kinzer” language prioritizing Title X federal reproductive health money to full-service public health clinics.

Planned Parenthood hates this mechanism because they do not qualify as full-service and it’s a big chunk of Kansas money they no longer get. Planned Parenthood filed a legal challenge against the prioritization but lost in federal appeals court. Title X Kansas funding now surpasses the pre-litigation level.

Sen. Masterson, Sen. Tyson

Sen. Masterson, Sen. Tyson

Huelskamp-Kinzer language is a model way for states to improve healthcare for the indigent, by funneling Title X money to comprehensive services at “safety net” clinics and public hospitals.

State Sen. Caryn Tyson (R- Parker) carried the bill and Sen. Ty Masterson (R-Andover) shepherded it to completion. The vote was 87-34 in the House and 32-8 in the Senate.

MIDWIVES’ ROLE IN ABORTION STOPPED
Kansas passed a large bill, HB 2615, with a number of sections regulating health care services and providers. The section governing the independent practice of midwives includes pro-life language:
            Nothing in the independent practice of midwifery act should be call midwifeconstrued to authorize a certified nurse-midwife engaging in the independent practice of midwifery under such act to perform, induce or prescribe drugs for an abortion.”

There was quite a bit of educating to do on this subject as some legislators just didn’t want to believe that nurse midwives– those most intimately dedicated to nurturing labor and delivery– would actually do abortions.  Yet the National Abortion Federation has long had a strategy for increasing “access to abortion” (i.e. more babies aborted) by expanding the scope of practice of lower level health care professionals. Read more on this topic, including a memo from National Right to Life Director of State Legislation, Mary Spaulding Balch, J.D. here.

Sen. O'Donnell, Sen. Pilcher Cook

Sen. O’Donnell, Sen. Pilcher Cook

Sen. Sen. Michael O’Donnell (R-Wichita) and Sen. Mary Pilcher Cook (R-Shawnee) were real champions on insuring the abortion ban stayed with the midwives’ regulation. The House passed the final healthcare bill 115-7, but only after Senators voted 26-12 to insure that the final version kept the pro-life language.

TIME CRUNCH HURT SIMON’s LAW
This year’s Kansas legislature was dominated by a budget crisis, and in an unprecedented move, leadership cancelled two weeks of legislative session time.  This really doomed House consideration of Simon’s Law, despite heroic

Sen. Laturner, Rep. Pauls

Sen. LaTurner, Rep. Pauls

attempts by bill sponsor, Sen. Jacob LaTurner (R-Pittsburg), vice-chair of the Senate Federal & State Affairs committee, and Rep. Jan Pauls (R-Hutchinson), Chair of the House Federal & State Affairs committee, to maneuver it to get a House vote.

Simon’s Law is a vital bill to protect parental rights in preventing the unilateral issuance of Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) for minors. The measure has gained tremendous public enthusiasm, and secured an amazing 37-3 bipartisan vote in the Kansas Senate. With support of pediatric specialists across the country and four pro-life medical groups, Kansas ought to be enacting Simon’s Law next year.

baby SImon Crosier died to a secret DNR

baby Simon Crosier died due to a secret DNR

Lest too rosy a picture be painted about Simon’s Law, however, it must be noted that not one Kansas medical facility or physician group officially testified about the measure—pro, con or neutral—and many well-paid medical lobbyists out of the public eye pushed to kill the bill. Apparently, the current ability to issue DNRs unilaterally is sadly a power that too many medical entities do not want brokered by parents.

The movement to educate the public about discrimination in life-sustaining procedures has just begun and the entire nation needs Simon’s Law.

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leg alertKansas legislation to regulate the independent practice of midwives currently includes pro-life language to prevent them from being able “to perform, induce or prescribe drugs for an abortion.”

It has been wrongly stated by some legislators that this ban is unnecessary because the scope of practice does not allow the provision of abortions. However, the rule of thumb when it comes to abortion, is that what is not specifically excluded, will be included.

Here is a letter to Kansas legislators from Mary Spaulding Balch, J.D., Director of State Legislation at the National Right to Life Committee, outlining in detail why this ban is vital and verifying that the idea of midwives doing abortions is actually part of the abortion movement’s plan:

“The National Right to Life Committee and Kansans for Life oppose passage of any bill dealing with the ‘scope of practice’ or ‘independent practice’ of any health care professional which doesn’t include language excluding abortion. We take this position because it has long been the strategy of the pro-abortion movement to use a broad definition of that ‘scope’ as a means to increase the number of lower health care professionals licensed to provide abortion services.

Scope or independence of Practice typically describes the procedures, actions, and processes that a healthcare practitioner is permitted to undertake in keeping with the terms of their professional license. If the health care professional is given the authority to provide ‘pregnancy related services,’ it will be argued by pro-abortion advocates that since abortion deals with a pregnancy and delivery (even though the baby is delivered dead), it is, therefore, within the scope of practice. Thus, an explicit exception is needed to avoid this from happening.

midwifeThe House Substitute for Senate Bill 402 (now folded into HB 2615) raises these concerns. It defines (on pg 152) the ‘Independent practice of midwifery’ to mean ‘the provision of clinical services by a certified nurse-midwife without the requirement of a collaborative practice agreement with a person licensed to practice medicine and surgery when such clinical services are limited to those associated with a normal, uncomplicated pregnancy and delivery, including:
(1) The prescription of drugs and diagnostic tests;
(2) the performance of episiotomy or repair of a minor vaginal laceration;
(3) the initial care of the normal newborn; and
(4) family planning services, including treatment or referral of male
partners for sexually transmitted infections.’

The language about services ‘associated with a normal, uncomplicated pregnancy’ can be argued to include the ability to perform an abortion of a normal, uncomplicated pregnancy which covers the vast majority of abortions performed.

As stated, the National Abortion Federation has long had a strategy for increasing access to abortion by expanding the scope of practice of lower health care professionals. For example, in December 1996, the National Abortion Federation (NAF), with funding from the Kaiser Family Foundation, convened a national symposium to explore how CNMs, NPs, and PAs could participate more fully in abortion service delivery nationwide. In 1997 they presented a symposium entitled, “The role of physician assistants, nurse practitioners, and nurse–midwives in providing abortions: strategies for expanding abortion access.” (National symposium, Atlanta, GA, 13-14 December 1996. Washington, DC: National Abortion Federation; 1997).

They even have a timeline illustrating some of the successful expansion: http://prochoice.org/health-care-professionals/clinicians-for-choice/resource-center/

There is even a ‘tool kit’ entitled “Providing Abortion Care: A Professional Tool Kit for Nurse-Midwives, Nurse Practitioners and Physician Assistants” (2009). It was developed as a guide for health care professionals who want to include abortion as being within their scope of practice.

Expanding the number of people who can provide abortion will increase the number of unborn children being killed. We strongly urge you to prevent this from happening by making it clear that it is not within the scope or independence of practice of lower health care professionals to provide abortion.”

Kansas legislators should heed this instruction and keep the pro-life language (on page 160 of HB 2615) in the midwife legislation.

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Heart stethPro-lifers across the nation have been reading our series of articles on the “Faces & Facts of Simon’s Law,” and are urging Kansas to protect children and empower parents by enacting this vital measure.

The state legislature returns to work Wednesday following a short recess. The Kansas Senate has already passed SB 437, Simon’s Law, by a notable bipartisan 37-3 vote last month. The bill will prevent minors from being denied life-sustaining treatment without parental permission and will require, upon request, disclosure of hospital policies on “futile care.”

Recently, four medical associations have published their strong support for Simon’s Law, see here. The following are some excerpts from their endorsements:

  • ACPEDSThe American College of Pediatricians informs that, “Once inconceivable, the practice of hospital staff placing a do not resuscitate (DNR) order on a child’s chart without the informed consent of the child’s parents or legal guardian is on the rise… increasingly predicated upon the ill-defined and subjective concept of ‘quality of life’ with one or more disabilities considered intolerable.”
  • AAPSThe Association of American Physicians & Surgeons writes, “care judged by some to be ‘futile’ is often life-saving, even if it does not restore full function… [When] there is a time when medical intervention provides no benefit, it is unethical and should be unlawful for a medical facility to determine that point unilaterally.”
  • NAPNThe National Association of Prolife Nurses asserts that parents have “a right to full disclosure and participation in the healthcare decisions of their disabled or severely ill children.”
  • The Kansas City (Kansas/Missouri) Guild of the Catholic Medical Association believes Simon’s Law “recognizes the right practice of medicine… the sacredness of life and the primary role Cath guildparents have in caring for a child. [F]acilities or practitioners cannot and should not determine that a patient’s life is no longer deserving of medical care.”

These medical group endorsements acknowledge that DNRs are very often being issued due to negative judgments about the kind of life the child will live—not upon a medical assessment of impending death. In shorthand, such judgments about ‘futility’ are qualitative, not physiological.

The families that submitted testimony for Simon’s Law recounted that too many medical personnel clearly viewed their child as a victim of disabilities, without a rewarding life–a view that the family vigorously disputed.

Neonatologist McCaffrey

Dr. McCaffrey

Neonatologist Martin McCaffrey regularly treats severely ill infants and counsels many families about Trisomy 18 and other related chromosomal conditions. He advises:

“ A medical team using its subjective prediction of future quality of life as criteria to make life and death decisions,and  forcing that determination is a tyrannical enforcement of prejudice towards children with disabilities.

The case which prompted Simon’s Law legislation is a prime example of such bias.

It is my sincere hope that Simon’s Law will pass. The only physicians and hospitals that would be impacted by this legislation are those employing unilateral [orders not to resuscitate].”

Knowledgeable medical groups and individuals agree that Simon’s Law is a necessary corrective measure.

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Krissy Krotzer

Krissy Krotzer

Simon’s Law insures that life-sustaining treatment (resuscitation, nutrition, medicine) will not be denied to minors without parental consent. This bill has already passed the Kansas Senate 37-3 and work on its passage in the House will continue when legislators return April 27.

The testimony for Simon’s Law in Kansas documented a consistent medical bias toward children with chromosomal disorders. Researchers and parents described how these children were denied scheduled surgeries after their genetic conditions were verified. Furthermore, they were denied treatment to save their lives after DNR (Do Not Resuscitate) orders were secretly placed on their medical charts.

The prevailing medical viewpoint on children with trisomy conditions is almost uniformly negative, essentially recommending provision of comfort care only. Kansas legislators learned that families of these children often had to fight for their child’s life both before birth, when being urged to abort, and after delivery, when physicians refused requested interventions.

Dr. Martin McCaffrey is a pro-life neonatologist with over 20 years in this arena. He supports Simon’s Law with this perspective: It is shocking that the neonatal community in the United States has reached a point where a significant number of providers feel it is justified to place a unilateral Do Not Resuscitate [or attempt resuscitation] order on a child’s chart, based on a neurologic prognosis which parents are perfectly willing to accept, but the medical team does not.”

Consider the stresses imposed by the medical community on the family of Kristina (Krissy) Krotzer. Her mother, Terre, writes:

“Our daughter Kristina was diagnosed prenatally with Trisomy 18. At the time they confirmed the diagnosis via amniocentesis they let us know that although we were at 22 weeks it would still be acceptable to “interrupt” the pregnancy, i.e., terminate, because the fetus was still smaller than a typical “20 week fetus” but we would need to decide quickly. We declined.

Later in our pregnancy we began preparing for our daughter’s birth. In our discussion with the doctors we were very clear that we would do whatever it took to get our daughter into this world alive. We didn’t know how much time we would get but it was important to us to give her life if at all possible.

The doctor refused to consider c-section as she said it was a non-viable pregnancy and even refused to monitor my daughter during labor because, and I quote, “I don’t want you to know if she dies or not.” 

This doctor was fired.

A new doctor agreed to the c-section if necessary. We scheduled a day to induce (at 39 weeks) so that this doctor would be guaranteed to be there as he was the only one we trusted to give our daughter a chance.

We were very clear that our birth plan was to get her into this world alive and from there decide –based on her actual overall health and medical needs– what to do each step of the way. Never could anyone have interpreted our desires to include a Do Not Resuscitate order.

Labor began and our baby’s heart rate dropped with each contraction. It was decided a C-section was necessary. Our daughter was born soon after. She presented with Apgar scores of 5 and 8 and needed only a small amount of “blow by” oxygen. We spent time together and she was taken to the intermediate care NICU for more evaluation and monitoring. She did fine, and we went home 5 days later with our tiny 3lb. 8oz. little girl.

Krissy 16th bday

Krissy’s 16th birthday

Today Krissy is 16 years old and a sophomore in high school. While she’s had a handful of medical issues, Kristina has done well.

Four years ago I was looking through the medical records from Kristina’s birth and found that– unbeknownst to us– the hospital had placed a DNR on Kristina prior to her birth.

This DNR was not our choice or decision and if I hadn’t looked back at the  records, we never would have known. To this day, every time Kristina is hospitalized we get challenged over the fact that we have her listed as a full  code.

We were once told by a physician, ‘you’ve had 10 good years with her, isn’t that enough?’

Krissy has a happy, healthy, full quality of life. When that changes, our decisions might change. But either way it should always be our choice.”

Terre Krotzer expresses the sentiment of many families who testified in support of Simon’s Law. Just imagine how you’d react to doctors who think your child has lived long enough. Imagine having to constantly fear that medical personnel might refuse to sustain the life of your child.

That’s the fear and apprehension that Simon’s Law will allay.

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Simon napping with his father, Scott Crosier

Scott Crosier napped with baby Simon

Recent posts have revealed the facts surrounding secretly placed “Do Not Resuscitate” (DNR) orders without parental notice or consent that resulted in the deaths of Simon Crosier and Megan Barnes. (see here and here)

Testimonies from both families, as well as detailed testimonies from other families and supportive physicians and researchers, were submitted to the Kansas Senate Public Health and Welfare committee urging enactment of ‘Simon’s Law.’ (see here)

By an overwhelming bipartisan vote of 37-3 on March 22, the Kansas Senate passed Simon’s Law to

  1. insure no DNR order can be issued to a minor without consent of parents/guardians, and
  2. require that a hospital/medical facility, upon patient request, disclose any ‘futility policies’ in place.

The House can take action on the bill when the Kansas legislature reconvenes April 27.

There was no opposition presented against Simon’s Law in committee. While not one medical group or facility testified at the Senate hearing, a stealth campaign to kill this bill is now being waged by lobbyists for various hospitals.

Their position is that Simon’s Law is unneeded (or even harmful!) and that reasoning was encapsulated in an unsigned March 29 editorial by the Topeka Capital Journal (TCJ), a prominent Kansas newspaper.

Neither proponents of the bill, nor Kansans for Life, were contacted by TCJ to explain the need for Simon’s Law within the current climate in which certain newborns, and children of other ages, are labeled “unworthy” of life-sustaining care.

BAD FACTS= BAD EDITORIAL
The TCJ editorial asserted that, currently, DNR “orders aren’t to be placed in a minor’s chart without full disclosure to the parent or guardian.” 

However– in fact– disclosure does NOT always occur, as the cases brought to the Senate Health committee illustrate. In these instances, later verified by researchers, children lost their lives and necessary medical services, because negative value judgments were made about the children with chromosomal abnormalities.

Furthermore, “disclosing” a DNR is just stating that a DNR is being imposed; it is not seeking permission.

The TCJ editorial tries to claim the high ground by asserting Simon’s Law could “inflict unnecessary suffering upon children.” And as the final kicker, the editorial scolds –in the identical manner pro-abortionists do– that legislators are “primarily untrained in the area of medicine” and “shouldn’t play God.”

Scott Crosier, the father of Simon Crosier, for whom the Simon’s Law legislation is named, rebutted the editorial in a letter published April 9. “Unfortunately, hospitals’ secretive futility policies DO give them the ability to place DNRs [on minors] without [parental] knowledge or consent despite the rhetoric presented.”

Simon’s dad painfully experienced what the TCJ editorial seems ignorant of: that denial of life-sustaining treatment is being applied based on value chromosome sloganjudgments, specifically by those “with medical training.”

FUTILITY JUDGMENT BASED ON OPINION
Mr. Crosier wrote, “For clarification, a futility policy allows a hospital and its physicians to make any decision regarding the treatment of a patient they deem to be futile without any input from the patient or family. Bottom line is, hospitals are making business decisions when the lives of our children are at stake. Our physician’s favorite statements when Simon was in the NICU were, ‘I don’t know,’ ‘Not for Simon,’ and ‘Incompatible with life.’  Cold harsh comments to hear regularly when you are pleading with them to do everything they can to help your son.”

Mr. Crosier fundamentally disagrees that legislators need any medical training to recognize the need for Simon’s Law:

If the hospitals are not going to be completely open and transparent concerning their policies, then we clearly need our government to step in and protect our rights as parents.”

TCJ did not include this last relevant paragraph from the letter they published from Simon’s dad: “The physicians and hospitals have government protections through many federal and state laws but for some reason Simon’s Law would be a burden for them to get written consent from a parent for a DNR? This makes NO SENSE! If you want to protect your child’s human rights and your parental rights, supporting ‘Simon’s Law’ really is a no-brainer.”

Anyone with even limited experience with being hospitalized knows that the facilities and doctors do indeed insist on signed permission, often multiple times in just one stay. The hospital lobbyists really have no credible excuse for not getting written parental permission, which is presumably why they never came to a public podium to testify about Simon’s Law.

Crosier’s unpublished paragraph completely undercuts the entire TCJ editorial. Is that why it was omitted?

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