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Archive for the ‘Kansas legislation’ Category

abortion lawToday, the Iowa state Supreme Court by a 6-0 vote (with one abstention) ruled in favor of Planned Parenthood’s “webcam” abortion protocol. In so doing, the Court overturned a lower court ruling and their own state medical board.

In this “innovation” (meant to maneuver around a dwindling supply of physicians wanting to perform abortions) pregnant women can obtain chemical abortion drugs without an “in-person” contact with a licensed physician.

The Iowa Supreme Court can only be commended for not claiming to “discover” a right to abortion in the state Constitution–a right that Planned Parenthood argued existed and was even broader than the abortion right created by Roe.

But the pro-abortion bent of this court is clear, in reaching its conclusion that a physician onsite exam created an “undue burden” (which, as a federal “standard” has been variously interpreted since 1992 to practically the breaking point). The Court even cited some oft-repeated abortion industry talking points about the burden of returning for medical checkups, including that repeat trips can aggravate domestic abuse for some women!

The Iowa Solicitor General pressed the point that Planned Parenthood’s own survey could not prove that women’s “access” to abortion was improved after introduction of the webcam protocol.

The Court ruled that, “based on 2013 medical standards and practices in Iowa,” the overturned law supplies only “minimal medical justification.” However, what the Iowa state lawyers wrote on behalf of the  medical board was:

“Abortion-inducing drugs are not over the counter medications. Unless and until such a time when abortion-inducing drugs are no longer required to be dispensed by physicians, physicians must do so within the confines of the standard of care. The Board of Medicine determined the standard of care requires a physical examination prior to dispensing abortion-inducing drugs.”

19 states have passed anti-webcam laws; 15 are in effect, two go into effect in July and Iowa’s has now been overturned.

Kansas’ anti-webcam provision from 2011 is under injunction, but the 2015 legislature enacted a clarification on medical emergencies, now in effect, aimed at getting the injunction removed. (Read more here.)

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"Webcam" delivers abortion pills

Kansas doesn’t want abortion pills dispensed by “webcam”

The Kansas House Saturday afternoon passed a modest tweak to an abortion law insuring that abortion pills will not be accessed by “webcam” without the onsite interaction of a Kansas-licensed physician.

Senate Sub for HB 2228 passed the House with only 2 dissents, mirroring the Senate’s 39-0 support for the bill last week.

The measure is a technical clarification, affirming that medical emergencies and hospital abortions are exceptions to the abortion pill “in-person-physician” mandate.

The anti-webcam language was enacted in 2011 as part of a comprehensive Abortion Clinic Licensure Act. All of the Act has been blocked due to an injunction obtained by the Overland Park abortion business, Center for Women’s Health (CWH).

A non-surgical abortion actually involves two different drugs: mifepristone given initially, followed within 2 days by misoprostol. Abortions “by pills” comprised 46% of total Kansas abortions in 2014, and pose serious risks, including death. (see NRLC report here)

The “in-person-physician” mandate was driven by Iowa’s experience in which multiple Planned Parenthood clinics dispensed abortion pills without any in-person-physician exam. Instead, women had only a remote “contact” with a distant physician via computer screen.

19 states have enacted anti-webcam laws; 15 are in effect, two go into effect in July and Iowa and Kansas laws are under injunction.

Today’s bill passed 109-2 with one “pass” and 13 members absent. It is expected to be signed without delay by Gov. Brownback and will go into effect upon publication. This way, the Attorney General’s office can ask the district Court to allow the original 2011 anti-webcam provision to go into effect while the snail-paced lawsuit proceeds.

Last year, the Kansas legislature similarly passed clarifications to the abortion medical emergency definition and the mandated informed consent weblink. The desired result was achieved when distinct legal challenges in separate courts from CWH and Planned Parenthood were dropped due to the clarifications.

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Sen. Jake LaTurner

Sen. Jacob LaTurner

This afternoon, the Kansas Senate passed a “technical clarification”  [S Sub HB 2228] that aims to get a 2011 ban on “webcam abortions” into effect in Kansas.

So-called “webcam abortions” are premised on the abortionist never being in the same room as the woman obtaining abortion pills.

15 other states have such bans already in place, with 2 more going into effect in July.

The Overland Park, Kansas father-daughter abortion duo at the Center for Women’s Health had sued the entire Kansas 2011 Abortion Clinic Licensure law and obtained a block against it before it was scheduled to go into effect. The law included language governing abortions “by pill.”

CWH attorneys had complained that the original abortion pill provision potentially interfered with medication-induced abortions in hospitals. Today’s language should satisfy them of legislative intent. This would allow the Kansas Attorney General to petition the Shawnee County District Court to grant a motion allowing the abortion pill provision it to go into effect while litigation proceeds.

Sen. Jacob LaTurner (R-Pittsburg) carried the measure, which passed 39-0 without debate. The House is expected to take up the measure next week after the holiday break.

The new language clarifies that, except in the case of labor induction abortions at hospitals, the RU 486 (mifepristone) abortion drug

shall initially be administered by or in the same room and in the physical presence of the physician who prescribed, dispensed or otherwise provided the drug to the patient.”

The new language also grants an exception for a medical emergency posing a threat to the mother’s life or physical health. As updated last year, “medical emergency” applies uniformly to all Kansas abortion statutes and satisfies the past concerns of the abortion clinic attorneys suing this 2011 law.

S Sub HB 2228 clearly governs abortion pills– not “morning after,” “Plan B,” “Ella,” or other so–called emergency contraception governed under K.S.A. 67-6502.

BACKGROUND
The RU486 abortion pill protocol used in Kansas and nationally, typically involves a woman taking an initial dose of RU486 (mifepristone) followed within 2 days by a second drug,, misoprostol, generally taken at home.

These abortions “by pill” cause excessive bleeding– four times as much as surgical abortions– and pose serious risks to women. As of 2011, the FDA reported abortion pills resulted in at least 14 reported deaths and over 2,200 “adverse” events including 612 hospitalizations, 340 transfusions and 58 undetected (and life-threatening) ectopic pregnancies.

Despite the risky nature of this protocol, abortionists in Iowa implemented “webcam” abortions that excluded an in-person exam or consultation with a physician. In a “webcam” abortion, the pills are dispensed via a drawer beneath a computer screen, activated after on-screen contact with a long-distance physician.

Of note, the Iowa medical board opposes the substitution of a webcam contact for an in-person abortion exam and consult. The Iowa webcam ban, after being upheld in district court, is being appealed by Planned Parenthood to their state Supreme Court.

Webcam abortions eliminate the expense of hiring onsite abortionists, and might especially appeal to abortion clinics that currently rely on non-resident “fly-in” practitioners, as does the South Wind Women’s Center in Wichita, Kansas.

Frankly, pro-lifers do not support abortion by any method but the legislature has the minimum duty to insure that the mother’s life isn’t going to be put at even greater risk for some economic benefit of abortion businesses.

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 Gov. Brownback signs SB 95, with (l-r) the Kansans for Life Legislative team: Jeanne Gawdun, Kathy Ostrowski and Jessica  Basgall, J.D and conferees Michael Schuttloffel, Executive Director  Kansas Catholic Conference, and Barbara Saldivar, State Director for  Concerned Women for America.

Gov. Brownback signs SB 95, with (l-r) the Kansans for Life Legislative team: Jeanne Gawdun, Kathy Ostrowski and Jessica Basgall, J.D., and Barbara Saldivar, State Director, Concerned Women for America  and Michael Schuttloffel, Executive Director, Kansas Catholic Conference.

This morning, Gov. Sam Brownback signed into law the historic “Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act,”  SB 95. It will go into effect July 1.

Gov. Brownback commented, “This is a horrific procedure and we are pleased to ban it in Kansas and we hope it will be banned nationally.”

To commemorate this ground-breaking and first-in-the-nation measure, Gov. Brownback will travel across Kansas for ceremonial signings of the bill on April 28. (Locations will be announced in the near future.)

The Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act generated immediate grassroots support after introduction in January by lead sponsor, Sen. Garrett Love (R-Montezuma), who remarked, “In visiting with my constituents, many have been stunned that this practice (dismemberment) is going on in Kansas and have demanded that it be stopped.”

Records released on April 1 by the Kansas Health & Environment Dept. show that in 2014 this D&E method was used in 637 abortions, or 8.8% of the total 7,263 Kansas abortions reported.

SB 95 bans a particularly gruesome abortion method in which a living unborn child in her mother’s womb is ripped apart into pieces by an abortionist using sharp metal tools. Abortionist LeRoy Carhart testified under oath that the unborn child is alive because he is watching him/her on ultrasound during the procedure. In the words of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, the unborn child in a D&E/ Dismemberment abortion, “dies just as a human adult or child would: It bleeds to death as it is torn limb from limb.”

Testimony provided by Kansans for Life emphasized that the U.S. Supreme Court upheld a ban on the partial-birth method of abortion in 2007 after two cases, Stenberg v Carhart and Gonzales v Carhart. In both cases, the Court closely examined both the partial-birth and D&E/ Dismemberment abortion methods and found them to be “brutal.” The Court noted

 “[it’s] necessary at the outset to set forth what may happen during an abortion.” … and,  “States also have an interest in forbidding medical procedures which, in the State’s reasonable determination, might cause the medical profession or society as a whole to become insensitive, even disdainful, to life, including life in the human fetus.” Stenberg, 958 & 961

On March 25, the House overwhelmingly passed SB 95 by 98-26 after the Senate had easily passed the measure, 31-9, on Feb 20. (see here and here)

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KFL senior lobbyist Jeanne Gawdun congratulates Rep. Brunk, Hutchins & Rubin

KFL senior lobbyist Jeanne Gawdun congratulates Reps. Brunk, Hutchins & Rubin after SB 95 passage

Today by a vote of  98 -26, the Kansas House passed landmark pro-life legislation, Senate Bill 95,”The Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act.”

KFL Executive Director, Mary Kay Culp, thanked legislators for their diligence in tackling the issue and enacting a sound law crafted to withstand constitutional scrutiny that will stop a horrific procedure.

After the introduction of the bill in January by lead sponsor, Sen. Garrett Love (R-Montezuma), and 24 Senate co-sponsors, the bill generated immediate grass-roots support and passed the Kansas Senate, 31-9. SB 95 now heads to Gov. Sam Brownback, who has promised his signature.

SB 95 bans a particularly gruesome abortion method in which a living unborn child in her mother’s womb is ripped apart by an abortionist using sharp metal tools. In the words of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, the unborn child, “dies just as a human adult or child would: It bleeds to death as it is torn limb from limb.”[Stenberg v. Carhart, 530 U.S. 914, 958-959]

Model language for SB 95 was provided by the National Right to Life Committee, which made this bill its top state legislative priority. (see their press release here)

SB 95 was carried on the House floor by seasoned pro-lifer, Rep. Steve Brunk (R-Wichita), chair of the Federal & State Affairs committee which held the hearing on the measure. He was assisted on legal questions by another pro-life leader, Rep. John Rubin (R-Shawnee), chair of the Corrections & Juvenile Justice committee.

Pro-life Rep. Becky Hutchins (R-Holton) spoke up for the victim of dismemberment abortion, the “living” unborn child. Then she talked about the “three D’s” associated with such abortions, (depravity, devaluation, and desensitization) as admitted by former abortionist George Flesh:

“Tearing a developed fetus apart, limb by limb, is an act of depravity that society should not permit. We cannot afford such a devaluation of human life, nor the desensitization of medical personnel it requires.”

Once again, opponents of SB 95 talked about anything other than the contents of the bill, mostly complaining that more money should be spent on pregnancy prevention.

Perennial abortion supporter, Rep. Barb Bollier (R-Mission Hills), offered a poorly-worded and unneeded medical exception for “ruptured membranes before 24 weeks.” SB 95 already includes exceptions for the life-of–the-mother and substantial and irreversible physical emergencies.

BACKGROUND
In the 42 years since Roe v. Wade was handed down, the Supreme Court has consistently asserted that States have compelling interests in regulating abortion to preserve the integrity of the medical profession and show respect for the unborn child.

“States also have an interest in forbidding medical procedures which, in the State’s reasonable determination, might cause the medical profession or society as a whole to become insensitive, even disdainful, to life, including life in the human fetus.” [Stenberg v. Carhart, 530 U.S. 914, 961]

Although the Court (in the 2000 Stenberg v Carhart ruling) did not uphold Nebraska’s ban on partial-birth abortions, in 2007 it did uphold the federal ban on partial-birth abortions in Gonzales v. Carhart. In both Stenberg and Gonzales, the justices closely examined the gruesome methods of both partial-birth and D&E/ dismemberment abortions.

“Those who oppose abortion would agree, indeed would insist, that both procedures [partial-birth and D&E] are subject to the most severe moral condemnation, condemnation reserved for the most repulsive human conduct” [Stenberg v. Carhart, 530 U.S. 914, 963

In Stenberg Justice John Paul Stevens, an abortion supporter, compared partial-birth abortion to dismemberment abortion—not to oppose either but to make the case that if the state had an interest in preventing one, it also did in preventing the other. He wrote “that the State furthers any legitimate interest by banning one but not the other, is simply irrational.” [Stenberg v. Carhart, 530 U.S. 914, 946-947]

Justice Ruth Bader-Ginsburg, also an abortion supporter, said in Gonzales that both methods “could equally be characterized as ‘brutal,’involving as it does ‘tear[ing] [a fetus] apart’ and ‘rip[ping] off’ its limbs.” [Gonzales v. Carhart, 550 U.S. 124, 181, 182]

The simple truth is D&E dismemberment abortions are as brutal as the partial-birth abortion method, which is now illegal in the United States.

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Unborn child. 16 wks

Unborn child. 16 wks

Kansas is days away from a House vote on Senate Bill 95, the Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act. The bill has already passed the Kansas Senate, 31-9, where pro-abortion senators refused to discuss the particulars of the abortion method (see here) which kills a baby by tearing her apart, limb from limb.

Looking ahead to see how the law might fare at the highest court, of great relevance to SB 95 are the two U.S. Supreme Court partial-birth abortion rulingsStenberg v Carhart (2000) and Gonzales v Carhart (2007).

Stenberg struck down Nebraska’s partial-birth abortion ban. Gonzales upheld the federal partial-birth abortion ban. Justice Anthony Kennedy was on the losing side in 2000 and the winning side in 2007.

In both cases, Justice Kennedy consistently blasted avoidance of describing what was actually occurring during both partial-birth and D&E /dismemberment abortions. Writing for the dissent in Stenberg, Kennedy asserted it was

necessary at the outset to set forth what may happen during an abortion… citizens [should examine] these grave and serious issues, as they must if we are to progress in knowledge and understanding and in the attainment of some degree of consensus.”

Kennedy faulted the Stenberg majority for exalting abortionists’ preferences and omitting

“the perspective of a society shocked when confronted with a new method of ending human life… The State’s constitutional authority is a vital means for citizens to address these grave and serious issues.

Kennedy also exposed the gruesome details of the D&E/ dismemberment method in his Stenberg dissent:

“As described by Dr. Carhart, the D&E procedure requires the abortionist to use instruments to grasp a portion (such as a foot or hand) of a developed and living fetus and drag the grasped portion out of the uterus into the vagina. Dr. Carhart uses the traction created by the opening between the uterus and vagina to dismember the fetus, tearing the grasped portion away from the remainder of the body…. [until the unborn baby] ‘bleeds to death as it is torn limb from limb… In Dr. Carhart’s words, the abortionist is left with ‘a tray full of pieces.’” 

Abortionist Carhart, retains a Kansas medical license

Abortionist Carhart, retains a Kansas medical license

It is precisely this inhumane D&E/ dismemberment method which Kansas wants banned with SB 95.

Seven years later, writing for the majority Gonzales opinion that upheld the federal partial-birth abortion ban, Justice Kennedy penned,

[abortionists] acknowledged that they do not describe to their patients what [the D&E and partial-birth] procedures entail in clear and precise terms’) …[yet] “it is precisely the way in which the fetus will be killed that is of legitimate concern to the State.”

While the Court called abortion details important for public consideration, long-time abortion promoters David Grimes and Carol Joffe praised the suppression of that information Feb. 19 (see here). They wrote

“D&E shifts the emotional burden of the procedure from the woman to the physician, and that is entirely appropriate. One of our most important roles as physicians is to ease suffering, both physical and emotional. The specifics of abortion methods can be unpleasant…”

This is a stunning rebuke of the “choice” slogan! It praises a paternalistic denial of facts as “appropriate” for women considering D&E/ dismemberment abortion—something physicians wouldn’t dare do with patients facing other invasive medical procedures.

SHOCK FOR POST-ABORTIVE WOMEN
Hiding what happens in abortion is harmful to public policy-making. But also consider how shocking and profoundly disturbing the truth would be for women who have already obtained a D&E/ dismemberment abortion—no matter how long ago. It is likely the case that most of these women are only now learning what a horrible, painful death was inflicted on their unborn child!

Modern science makes that realization more palpable and more undeniable. Ultrasound technology and fetal medicine confirm how very developed is the unborn child in the second trimester– which is the age when many D&E/ dismemberment abortions are obtained. Excerpts (see here) from the Kansas Health Department “Woman’s Right to Know” handbook  explain:

Unborn child, 20 weeks

Unborn child, 20 weeks

At 14 weeks, the unborn child now produces a wide variety of hormones. Also, the arms reach final proportion to body size.
By 15 weeks, the entire unborn child, except for parts of the scalp, responds to light touch, and tooth development is
underway.
By 18 weeks, the unborn child will release stress hormones in response to
being poked with a needle.
By 20 weeks,
the larynx, or voice box, moves in a way similar to movement seen during crying after birth.

Did women know these gestational development facts before assenting to a D&E/ dismemberment abortion? Unlikely–since abortionists themselves have admitted in federal trials that they hid the gruesome details of the procedure, and current abortion supporters approve of that suppression.

When it comes to exposing that the action of D&E/ dismemberment abortion is to rip limbs and tear organs from living, unborn children, Justice Kennedy was correct to claim (in Gonzales) that “D&E is a procedure itself laden with the power to devalue human life.”

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Rep. Couture-Lovelady

Rep. Couture-Lovelady

Rep. Steve Brunk

Rep. Steve Brunk

As grassroots support swells, Kansas is moving quickly to enact the Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act (SB 95). The bill has already passed in the Senate, 31-9, and a House committee, 14-6.

In a D&E/dismemberment abortion, a living unborn child bleeds to death as she is ripped apart by metal tools inserted inside her mother’s womb.

SB 95 takes into consideration some of the reasoning the U.S. Supreme Court used in 2007 in upholding a ban on partial-birth abortions, including this statement:

“Congress stated as follows: ‘Implicitly approving such a brutal and inhumane procedure by choosing not to prohibit it will further coarsen society to the humanity of not only newborns, but all vulnerable and innocent human life, making it increasingly difficult to protect such life.’ The Act expresses respect for the dignity of human life.” [Gonzales v. Carhart, 550 U.S. 124, 156-157]

What appears to be the all-but-inevitable passage of SB 95 has produced such a terror among abortion supporters that they are alleging the bill impinges on OB-GYN healthcare– which is demonstrably untrue.

Unable to defend the indefensible, a new low in cynical politics was observed Wednesday. An unwavering pro-abortion Representative tried to use pro-life language as a “poison pill.”

In the Kansas House Federal State Affairs committee debate on SB 95, Rep. John Wilson (D-Lawrence), tried –and failed–to sabotage the bill with language drafted to “ban abortions after a heartbeat is detected.”

The Planned Parenthood spokeswoman Elise Higgins, was asked to weigh in by the committee vice-chair, Travis Couture-Lovelady (R-Palco). But she refused to endorse the “Wilson Heartbeat amendment” language.

Couture-Lovelady later told the press , ”[Wilson is] a pro-choice representative and he said so, his motive was to kill the bill.”

The media labeled Wilson’s action as “provocative.” It was evident that he wanted pro-life representatives to feel conflicted.

Chairman Steve Brunk (R-Wichita) clarified the “politics” at play, particularly for the freshmen members of the committee. He reminded that legalized abortion is a creation of the Court and even though he was personally supportive of reaching a new benchmark under a Heartbeat ban, such legislation deserved its own hearing as a stand-alone bill after future input from national pro-life legal advisors.

Rep. Joe Scapa (R-Wichita) asked whether Wilson would support a stand alone Heartbeat bill, but Wilson dodged a direct response.  After his insincerity was clarified, the committee voted down the amendment, with some members re-iterating their support for the goal of maximum protection for the unborn.

Rep. Bud Estes (R-Dodge City) pointed out how the debate had strayed from the content of the bill–the inhumane treatment of the unborn child. Of course, this is exactly the aim of abortion advocates who revel in press coverage that replays side issues and ignores talking about what abortionists are doing to unborn children.

SB 95 passed out of the Fed-State committee 14-6 with 2 pro-life committee members absent, and awaits scheduling for debate on the House floor.

Legislators are well supported in focusing on the actual cruelty of dismemberment abortion. Speaking on behalf of the majority of the U.S Supreme Court, Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote:

“It is, however, precisely this lack of information concerning the way in which the fetus will be killed that is of legitimate concern to the State…the State may use its regulatory power to bar certain procedures and substitute others, all in furtherance of its legitimate interests in regulating the medical profession in order to promote respect for life, including life of the unborn.” [Gonzales v. Carhart, 550 U.S. 124, 158,159]

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