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Archive for the ‘Kansas legislation’ Category

 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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Lt. Gov Colyer

Lt. Gov Colyer

The Kansas Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act, SB 95, passed out of the House Federal and State Affairs committee this morning.

The committee rejected a disingenuous 19 page amendment from pro-abortion Rep. John Wilson (D- Lawrence) and passed the bill 14-6 with two absent.

The House will take up the measure for a floor vote, possibly next week. The Senate has already passed the bill and Gov. Sam Brownback has promised to sign it.

Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer offered testimony in support of SB 95 on Monday, saying no issue in the 2015 session was more important than adhering to the sanctity of life.

“It is remarkable to think anyone could oppose prohibiting a tortuous act that literally dismembers an unborn child limb-by-limb. …just as in the case of partial birth abortion, even many of those who may consider themselves “pro-choice” cannot allow a gruesome procedure like dismemberment abortions to occur in our state.”

SB 95 bars the inhumane and nearly inconceivably painful D&E method of abortion in which the abortionist tears apart a living unborn child in the womb with sharp metal tools.

The legislation was provided by the National Right to Life Committee and tailored for Kansas. It takes into consideration some of the reasoning the U.S. Supreme Court used in 2007 in upholding a ban on partial-birth abortions. In Gonzales v. Carhart, the High Court said,
” 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)

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Michael Schuttloffel

Michael Schuttloffel challenged SB 95 opponents

Senate Bill 95, the “Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act,” was the topic of the Kansas House Federal State Affairs committee this morning. But only pro-life proponents actually discussed the dismemberment abortion procedure in clear language while testimony from opponents neither mentioned the procedure by name or explained what takes place.

The measure has already passed the state Senate on a vote of 31-9.  Pro-life Gov. Sam Brownback (R) has promised to sign this bill. Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer, M.D. testified in person in support of SB 95.

Speaking in opposition to SB 95 were essentially the same few abortion defenders who came to the first hearing on the bill in the Senate. They were utterly bereft of meaningful testimony, including Elise Higgins, the lobbyist for Planned Parenthood and Julie Burkhart, Wichita abortion business owner.

Rather than talking  about what happens in a dismemberment abortion–  arms, legs, and other body parts are torn off a baby until she dies–the message of opponents was to allege that the bill tied abortionists’ hands from using the safest method and could lead to costly legal fees when the law is challenged in court.

They noted that Kansas has already paid over a million dollars defending pro-life laws but opponents of SB 95 failed to mention that Kansas has won all completed lawsuits and is narrowing the final two still in progress.

But there were two individuals today whose attitudes did not likely win the hearts and minds of committee members.

One wrote that she had needed to undergo repeated “D&C” procedures years ago.  (A D&C  is when a gynecologist scrapes the uterine walls.)

In oral testimony, she incorrectly charged that SB 95 would have prevented her from getting the treatment she needed. But a D&C is not an “D& E” which is an intentional grasping and ripping of body parts of the unborn child.

She wagged her finger at the committee, accused them of oppressing one gender (women), and lectured  them that the issue is too “private” for their consideration.

Actually, the U.S. Supreme Court, in consideration of the methods of partial-birth and dismemberment abortions,  has said that legislatures are the appropriate factfinders– and that if clear language is not used, the public is disserved!

Another witness told the committee that the state had no business creating laws that restricted abortion because “For some women, happiness and even basic survival is dependent on not having a child.”

The eugenic flavor of her comments prompted Rep. Jan Pauls (R-Hutchinson) to gently probe whether the witness was really advocating that babies were better off being aborted than being born into poverty?  The witness basically answered yes.

She also asserted that “this bill caters to a specific religious perspective on when life begins.” This dodge was predicted (and answered) in earlier comments that morning from Michael Schuttloffel, director of the Kansas Catholic Conference:

“[Abortion supporters regularly assert in these hearings that the humanity of the unborn] is a philosophical or religious question, not a scientific question. So I want someone to explain to us today the science of how this is NOT a human being. This unborn child is alive. She has arms, legs, her own heartbeat, her own brainwaves, her own blood, often a different blood type from the mother, and her own human DNA What is this– if it is not a human being?

I really think [opposing] legislators–before they vote against this bill –should go visit an abortion clinic and see the results of a dismemberment abortion. [After] the [abortionist] removes all of the pieces of the baby to make sure they haven’t left anything behind…”

At the close of her testimony, Burkhart did invite legislators to visit “her” clinic, saying she is “very proud of it.” Do you want to bet she shows visitors the facility and not the tray with dismembered baby parts?

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asst suicide not safe“Physician-assisted” suicide in now legal in Washington & Vermont, and by court fiat in Montana. Supporters like Compassion & Choices (the old Hemlock Society) are using the Brittany Maynard case to fuel their agenda in many states.

However, their pleas are not gaining traction in Kansas, despite the filing of identical bills HB 2068 / HB 2108 last year and HB 2150 this year.

Kansas enacted a ban on assisted suicide in 1998 and it is the correct public policy.

Assisted suicide is opposed by the AMA and the Kansas Medical Society and vehemently opposed by disability rights groups such as the Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund  and Not Dead Yet.

Kansans for Life opposes assisted suicide, whether renamed “Death with Dignity” or “physician-assisted death.” Once a society agrees some suicides are good, the categories of the “disposable” never stops expanding;

the “right” to die inevitably becomes the duty to die for the most vulnerable: the chronically ill, the elderly and the medically expensive.

In Oregon, legalization of assisted suicide in 1994 has empowered the Oregon Health Plan (Medicaid) to steer patients to suicide.  Specifically, the Plan denies coverage for treatment and offers to pay for suicide instead. (see affidavit of Ken Stevens, MD ¶¶ 8 to 12, here.)

PREDICTING “TERMINAL”
Oregon is now seeing a proposal to expand the current terminal diagnosis needed for assisted suicide to one year, instead of six months. Predictions of life expectancy, however, can be wrong and treatment can lead to recovery.

Consider Oregon resident, Jeanette Hall, who was diagnosed with cancer and adamant that she would “do” Oregon’s law.  Her doctor convinced her to be treated instead.  Now, twelve years later, “she is thrilled to be alive.” Legal assisted suicide encourages people with many quality years left to throw away their lives. (see affidavit of Kenneth Stevens, MD, ¶¶ 3 to 7 here.)

ELDER ABUSE
The Oregon and Washington assisted suicide laws have significant gaps so that people who use these laws are unprotected from abuse.  The most obvious gap is a complete lack of oversight when the lethal drug is administered.

This creates the opportunity for an heir, or for someone else who will benefit from the patient’s death, to administer the drug to the patient without his consent.   Even if the patient struggled, who would know?  These laws create the opportunity for the perfect crime.

Pro-assisted suicide groups tout Oregon as a model to follow. However the assisted suicide law “is rife with dangers and flaws,” according to Gayle Atteberry, Executive Director, Oregon Right to Life. The remainder of this post is excerpted from her excellent article, published today in National Right to Life News.

DEPRESSION
“While Oregon’s law requires that patients who are thought to be depressed have a psychiatric exam, only three percent of patients in 2014 were actually seen by a psychiatrist. This low percentage has remained consistent through the years despite a study which showed that 26% of patients seeking physician assisted suicide are depressed.

Depression is the number one factor in people seeking to kill themselves. Clearly Oregon’s law is failing to protect patients who could be treated for clinical depression and possibly miss many treasured times with family and friends.”

SECRECY
“Some who were first to use Oregon’s law, as well as Brittany Maynard, used their deaths to promote physician assisted suicide, and went to the press to “tell all.” However, other than those highly publicized deaths, we know very little about the other hundreds of assisted deaths.

Oregon’s law shrouds all physician-assisted suicides in secrecy. There is no peer or state review to see if deaths were carried out according to the law, and after a year all reports by physicians are destroyed. We have a few raw numbers garnered from physicians who self-reported the deaths. There is no way to know if all deaths are reported.

Each year since the law’s passage, deaths from physician assisted suicide have steadily climbed. The number of reported deaths in 2014 skyrocketed 44% over 2013 numbers. One hundred and five patients killed themselves using the law in 2014. Deaths have increased 556% since the law was implemented in 1998.”

PAIN
“Contrary to the mantra of pro-assisted suicide folks that unrelenting pain is the reason assisted suicide needs to be legalized, the three most common reasons given for using the deadly potion were “losing autonomy” (96%), “less able to enjoy activities” (91%) and “loss of dignity” (75%).

Those who promote assisted suicide pretend they want a very limited law. We knew back in 1994 that was not their goal. Their real agenda can be seen in Belgium and the Netherlands, where they now are legally euthanizing people with “mental anguish.” Even children can legally “request” euthanasia.  It is also legal to have parents request euthanasia for their infants Their goal, it appears, is ‘death on demand’.”

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