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Archive for the ‘Kansas legislation’ Category

Votes in both chambers are imminent for the Disclose Act– an update of the 1997 Kansas “Woman’s Right to Know Act.”

The Disclose Act addresses the reality that 65% of Kansas abortions are “first-time” events, with the great majority of women knowing NOTHING about the procedure or the abortionist—much less his/her training, skill, or access to hospital facilities for a mishap.

Women are unaware of the following situations in Kansas:

  1. One clinic has had 100% turnover of their abortionist staff in 3 years; their current Kansas-resident practitioner agreed not to practice ob/gyn, under a State Board of Healing Arts disciplinary action.
  2. One clinic has recently hired a 76-year-old neurologist without ob/gyn formal training to do abortions.
  3. One clinic requires an overnight hotel visit for “2-day abortion procedures” and falsely labels the stay as “required under Kansas law.”

Kansans for Life has been told that, notwithstanding the state Board of Healing Arts’ “appreciating” our concerns for women, they will take no action for the above situations.

Yet abortion attorney Bob Eye told House and Senate committees this year that the Board insures abortionists meet rigorous standards and women therefore need not be told any professional data about them!

ABORTIONS ARRANGED ONLINE
All Kansas abortion businesses have individualized “informed consent” documents required to be downloaded 24 hours prior to the woman’s trip to the abortion clinic. The great majority of women obtaining Kansas abortions will be in the facility only on the day of the abortion, and nearly half of them are residents of another state.

The current abortion online consent documents fail to fully meet what the legislature has decreed for informed consent; instead, the clinics are:

  • using various formatting and fonts to downplay important state-required information and
  • undermining the requirement that each woman is giving consent to ONE specific practitioner –not a list of possibles.

KFL’s priority, the Disclose Act , (now renumbered as S sub SB 83) will help remedy these deficiencies; abortion business compliance will merely require a few minutes of one-time data entry. (see post here)

The Disclose Act will require

  1. the Kansas informed consent provisions be printed out in 12pt. black ink, Times Roman font, which is nationally recognized for readability, and
  2. seven “bullet points” of information be given for each listed abortionist.

Kansas “Voices for Choice” current abortion lobbying materials characterize the Disclose Act as “intended to undermine the confidence” in the abortionists whom the women can “get to know…when they meet with him/her 30 minutes before the abortion.”

Are they serious? (Pause for eye-rolling.)

Women contemplating elective abortion assume that Kansas regulators protect them from disqualified and/or untrained abortionists. Since that isn’t the case, women deserve passage of the Disclose Act.

On Thursday afternoon, the Disclose Act became part of a “conference committee report” process headed for votes in both chambers over the next few days.

ACTION ITEM: Contact your State Rep and Senator TODAY to urge passage of the Disclose Act, S sub SB 83. (Use this link if you don’t remember who your legislators are.)

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Sheryl Crosier and Gov. Brownback share a spontaneous hug after the official signing of Simon’s Law.

Appreciative parents, legislators and pro-life /pro-family advocates surrounded Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback this morning as he formally signed Simon’s Law.

Simon’s Law passed the Kansas Senate 29-9 on March 16 and the House by 121-3 on March 31. The victory culminated a grassroots campaign among families whose children with chromosomal disorders were denied life-saving care.

Simon’s Law is a very significant pro-life measure in the area of selectively “rationed” care and medical discrimination against children with life-limiting diagnoses. Simon’s Law:

  • validates both the medical advisory role and parental rights;
  • ends “secret” DNRs based on “quality of life” judgments;
  • buttresses dignity for children with disabilities;
  • exposes policies denying life-saving care; and
  • combats erosion of the Sanctity of Life ethic in our culture.

As catalogued in an award-winning 2014 short documentary, “Labeled,” a frightening number of children with chromosomal disorders are denied life-saving medical treatment.

Trisomy 18, Trisomy 13, and related genetic disorders have been routinely labeled “lethal” and “incompatible with life.” As a result, children with these conditions almost automatically receive DNR (Do Not Resuscitate) orders without parental consent.

That was the experience of Sheryl and Scott Crosier, who lost their infant son, Simon, six years ago.

Kansas pro-life legislators surround the Crosier family (left) as Gov. Brownback officially signs Simon’s Law with Frank & Ann Barnes at far right.

Simon had a diagnosis of Trisomy 18. At age three months, he had what proved to be a fatal apnea attack in the hospital.  While his parents held him, they waited in numbing shock as no emergency aid came to the rescue.

Later, Sheryl and Scott found that a DNR order was in Simon’s chart, which neither parent knew about nor approved.

After Simon’s death, Sheryl and Scott reviewed his chart and discovered Simon had only been given “comfort feeds” which are not sufficient for growth and development. He had also been given medications incompatible with his apnea. These revelations fueled their anger and their resolve to do something.

A LAW TO ALERT PARENTS
The Crosiers believed legislation was needed to

  1. stop the issuance of unilaterally-issued DNRs, and
  2. expose the practice of hospital futile care policies dictating scenarios in which life-saving treatment is withheld or withdrawn.

They began in Missouri in 2014, but certain medical interests were opposed and the measure has not yet been able to secure committee passage.

Kansans for Life  took up the original bill last year, and redrafted it with aid from NRLC’s Robert Powell Department for Medical Ethics. After an impressive win in the Kansas Senate, there was insufficient time for action in the House in the 2016 legislative session.

This year, the bill was refiled amid delicate negotiations between Kansans for Life  and hospital staff and hospital ethicists. The result was a more narrowly focused bill that was able to bridge entrenched medical objections.

The Crosiers approved the revisions and came to testify at the Statehouse with 12-year-old son Sean. The sadness and sense of betrayal of Simon’s death is still very real for them. Sean testified about how his excitement at being a “big brother” tuned into “pain and heartache” that still endures.

Parents of Trisomy kids rejoice in the signing of Simon’s Law

NATIONAL IMPACT
Frank and Ann Barnes from North Carolina also traveled to Topeka to celebrate the bill signing today. Their daughter Megan, was profiled last year in the NRLC News Today

Yes, Megan had limitations, but her mother described her as “content” and “knew she was loved.” At age nineteen, Megan was hospitalized for virus-caused dehydration, in a pediatric intensive care unit at a major teaching hospital. She was never to return home.

Due to her Trisomy 18 condition, a DNR had been verbally ordered into her chart by an “attending” physician without parental notice or consent. Megan was dead four days later.

Ann and Frank are actively involved with S.O.F.T., a nationwide family support group for Trisomy 13, Trisomy18, and related disorders. At today’s signing and press conference, Gov. Brownback invited them to talk about their daughter and the impact of her death.

As of July 1, Simon‘s Law in Kansas will mandate:

  1. Parents receive both written and verbal notification before a Do Not Resuscitate Order (DNR) is placed in a child’s medical file. Parents can then allow the order– or refuse it orally or in writing. Court access for disputes is delineated and the child remains safe during resolution.
  2. Parents and prospective patients of any age have the right to request and receive hospital policies concerning “denial of life-saving care” (sometimes referred to as medical futility policies). There is no mandate that hospitals have such policies.

See KFL Simon’s Law video here and more on the KFL youtube channel.

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Crosier family before Simon’s death

Kansans for Life’s top priority pro-life bill, Simon’s Law, has been sent to a receptive Gov. Sam Brownback for his signature.

Kudos goes to the tireless efforts of the Scott and Sheryl Crosier family for launching the grassroots campaign, in their infant son’s name, to enact a law which will save lives and solidify parental rights.

In final action Thursday, the Kansas House voted 121-3 in favor of Sub SB 85, Simon’s Law. The measure had already been approved 29-9 by the Senate two weeks ago, and requires:

  • Parents receive both written and verbal notification before a Do Not Resuscitate Order (DNR) is placed in a child’s medical file. Parents can then allow or refuse the order.
  • Parents and patients of any age, upon request, have the right to receive hospital policies concerning “denial of life-saving care” (sometimes referred to as medical futility policies). There is no mandate that hospitals have such policies.

Rep. John Whitmer (R-Wichita) carried Simon’s Law on the House floor with precision and in a heartfelt manner.  He recapped that Simon Crosier was a medically-fragile infant with Trisomy 18 whose death was caused by denial of resuscitation because a DNR was placed in his medical file –without his parents’ knowledge or consent.

Rep. Brim

Rep. Shelee Brim (R-Shawnee) was first up to speak in support of Sub SB 85 during House debate Wednesday. She referenced a close friend who had been urged to abort a child due to a “dire” diagnosis of anencephaly and spina bifida. Her friend refused and that ‘child’ is now twenty. In remarks committed to the House Journal, Rep. Brim said,

Little blessings like Simon may be on Earth for a matter of minutes, hours, or years. These vulnerable babies are not yet able to speak for themselves and I feel that their parents are their voices– NOT the doctors. We may not know the reason for the brevity of a baby’s life, but there is a reason. Simon’s life taught an important lesson and my hope is that we learn from this.”

Rep Dan Hawkins (R-Wichita), chairman of the House Health and Human Services Committee, commended the efforts to negotiate the final language with medical and disability experts and produce what is “not only a good bill, but a great one.”

Special thanks goes out to Representatives Kevin Jones (R-Wellsville) [see video] and Randy Powell (R-Olathe) [see video] who were the chief sponsors of the House bill, joining with 28 co-sponsors, including three practicing physicians. (See more Simon’s Law support videos here.)

Rep. Jacobs

Rep. Trevor Jacobs (R- Fort Scott) explained his vote in support of Simon’s Law,

I sincerely believe that one of government’s most essential and valuable responsibilities is to protect the life of its weakest and most vulnerable citizens, and that is the life of a child. In the Hebrew language, “Simon” means “to listen or to hear.” I have heard the cry for help and for justice [and] stand for the sanctity of life.”

Kansas stands alongside the Crosier family and other families who testified about victimization by medical discrimination and unilateral DNR placements. We hope other states are now encouraged to enact Simon’s Law.

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For Kansas pro-lifers, being at the state capital today was better than a double-header at Royals stadium: two priority pro-life bills were passed on provisional votes.

First, the House gave unanimous approval to Simon’s Law, which had already passed the Senate, 29-9-2, and is gliding toward Gov. Sam Brownback’s signature.

State reps then turned to debate and provisionally passed the Disclose Act, HB 2319, by a vote of 85-38-2. An identical version of the Disclose Act (SB 98) has awaited Senate floor action for a month.

Rep. Susan Humphries

Rep. Susan Humphries (R-Wichita) expertly explained that informed consent for abortion is controlled by the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1992 Casey ruling. Kansas’ response was enacting the  1997 informed consent statutes, called the Woman’s Right to Know Act.

The Disclose Act is a very narrowly tailored update that advances “transparency” in decision-making for non-emergency, elective abortions.

Since the great majority of abortions in Kansas are now transacted with a single phone call or email, the Disclose Act requires seven basic “bullet points” of information about each abortionist be listed on the consent form.

Kansas abortion businesses are playing fast and loose with their online forms as far as “fine print.” Humphries stated the context of this bill is the “poor performance” of Kansas clinics when implementing simple state mandates, as when they publish a required link to the Kansas Health Department–but do so in reduced type in light grey ink.

OPPONENTS WEAK
Two hostile amendments by perennial abortion supporters were offered and failed. The first, by Rep. John Wilson (D-Lawrence) wanted to remove the typeface, ink and background requirement, which the clinics have brought on themselves by their past bad acts. The amendment failed on voice vote.

The second amendment, by Rep. Annie Kuether (D-Topeka), claimed that all state-licensed physicians should also have these disclosures on various surgery consent forms. She ignored the reality that with abortion there is almost never any existing patient/physician relationship.

Abortion is not just “another medical procedure” like knee surgery or skin biopsy, as Rep. Kuether portrayed.

Rep. Eric Smith

Rep. Eric Smith (R-Burlington) pointed out that what abortion supporters try to gloss over is that a second life, the baby, is involved in each abortion.

The Kuether amendment failed 41-84.

Supporting the pro-abortion amendment were five Republicans [Stephanie Clayton (Overland Park), Linda Gallagher (Lenexa) Melissa Rooker (Fairway) Tom Sloan (Lawrence), Susie Swanson (Clay Center)] and all Democrats except four.

The four Democrats who voted pro-life were: John Alcala (Topeka), Henry Helgerson (Eastborough), Adam Lusker (Frontenac), and Vic Miller (Topeka).

During debate, assistance for defense of the Disclose Act came from Shelee Brim (R-Shawnee), Pete DeGraaf (R-Mulvane), John Eplee, M.D. (R-Atchison), Greg Lakin, D.O. (R-Wichita), Les Osterman (R-Wichita), Abraham Rafie, M.D. (R-Overland Park), Scott Schwab (R-Olathe), and Chuck Weber (R-Wichita).

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Simon Crosier & parents

The weather outside in the capital city of Kansas today was dreary and rainy, but a raft of sunshine could be felt under the capitol dome this morning when the Kansas House passed Simon’s Law with a unanimous voice vote.

Tomorrow,  in “final action,” the individualized vote tally will be recorded. Simon’s Law, Sub SB 85, already passed the Senate 29-9-2 March 16, and it will be heading for signing to a receptive Gov. Sam Brownback.

The importance of this measure for restoring dignity to, and protection for, medically marginalized infants and children should not be understated.

Testimonies in support of Simon’s Law came from numerous families whose children were treated disrespectfully and even denied life-sustaining care due to being “labeled” as “incompatible with life.”

The bill was named for Simon Crosier, whose parents have been conducting a grass roots campaign against the imposition of DNR (Do Not Resuscitate) orders without parental consent. His story was part of the introductory remarks given by the bill-carrier of Sub SB 85, Rep. John Whitmer (R-Wichita).

Rep. Whitmer

“Simon Crosier was born on September 7, 2010. On his 3rd day of life he was diagnosed with full Trisomy 18, a chromosomal disorder, and his life –and sadly the quality of his medical care and treatment– changed dramatically after that diagnosis. You see, many doctors declare Trisomy 18 as “incompatible with life,” despite evidence of the contrary and of course those who survive for months, years and even decades.

Simon drew his last strained breath at 10:45am on December 3rd, 2010. Imagine watching your child take his last breaths, his oxygen saturation levels plummeting and the medical professionals doing nothing to intervene. It wasn’t until AFTER Simon’s death that his parents discovered there was a Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) order in his medical file which explains why the medical professionals stood around and did nothing.

His parents did not know about, nor did they consent or even discuss this with ANY of the medical personnel prior to the execution of that DNR order. Passage of Senate bill 85 would prevent any other family from having to go through what the Crosier family has had to endure.

Specifically, Senate bill 85 addresses: instituting DNRs and similar physician’s orders; petitions to enjoin; resolution of parental disagreements; required disclosures of policies by medical facilities and physicians; and existing law concerning emergency health care. Simon’s Law goes a long way toward ensuring that medically fragile children are not discriminated against because of a diagnosis.”

Kansans for Life congratulates the expert presentation and management of debate by Rep. Whitmer and was edified at the variety of legislators speaking in defense of this bill. More tomorrow.

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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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