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Archive for the ‘Kansas legislators’ Category

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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rally dismemberment signPro-life Gov. Sam Brownback, with a backdrop of 40 pro-life legislators at Kansans for Life’s annual Rally for Life Thursday, said he was anxious to sign the newly proposed Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act.

Approximately 1,500 rally attendees welcomed the news, having marched one half mile together to the Capitol in Topeka with a variety of pro-life posters and banners, including

the newest sign, ‘Stop dismembering unborn babies.’

The crowd was dominated by students, some local, but most bussed in from Hays, Dodge City, Great Bend, Wichita, Leavenworth, Pittsburg, and Kansas City.

Simultaneous with the Rally for Life, President Obama was speaking at the University of Kansas (KU) in Lawrence.  Gage Shirley, part of Rally attendees from the St. Lawrence Catholic Center at KU, told KSNT News reporter, Tyler Carter, “Regardless of him being at our campus or not, we are still coming on the anniversary of Roe v Wade to be fighting for the right to life for the unborn.”

Also speaking at the Rally was Kansas Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer, urging protection for unborn children targeted for abortion because they have been diagnosed in the womb with grave medical disabilities. Dr. Colyer is a plastic surgeon who has used his medical skills to correct many different physical disfigurements. Despite the existence of medical challenges in the womb or at at the end of life, Dr. Colyer said,”we need to tell the world that life rocks,” and he led the crowd in rousing chants of, “Life rocks, Life rocks!”

State Sen. Garrett Love, R-Montezuma, addressed the Rally as lead sponsor of the new bill to ban dismemberment. He was introduced as having the title of the youngest Kansan ever elected to the state Senate, but he said his favorite title now is that of ‘dad’. He recounted viewing 11-week and 18-week ultrasounds of his new daughter, Abigail, and seeing her fingers and toes and how she was so active even then.

Dismemberment abortions are the standard method of abortion between 13-22 weeks gestation in Kansas. 578 such abortions were recorded as performed in this state in 2013.

Sen. Love told attendees, “Protecting the most defenseless among us has always been a passion for me, and dismemberment is a particularly gruesome type of abortion.”

The Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act will be formally introduced next week with numerous cosponsors.

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Huelskamp

Huelskamp

Jenkins

Jenkins

Yoder

Yoder

Kansas pro-lifers no doubt truly relished this Thanksgiving holiday after the unusually hard-fought election season. Kansas strengthened and increased its pro-life representation. No Kansas candidates supported by Planned Parenthood’s political action group won any federal or state-wide offices and all of those offices are held by pro-lifers. Returning to Congress to battle abortion and health-care rationing in Obamacare are pro-life Republicans Tim Huelskamp (#1), Lynn Jenkins (#2), Kevin Yoder (#3), and Mike Pompeo (#4).

Pompeo

Pompeo

Roberts

Roberts

The nation was especially focused on the U.S. Senate race, where incumbent pro-life leader Pat Roberts surprised the pundits with a come-from-behind 10-point win over upstart multi-millionaire “independent” Greg Orman. In debate, Orman said we need to “get past” the abortion issue and apparently Kansans don’t respond well to that sentiment!

Schmidt

Schmidt

Kobach

Kobach

Estes

Estes

Selzer

Selzer

All state-wide office holders are also pro-life Republicans. Attorney General Derek Schmidt, Secretary of State Kris Kobach, and Treasurer Ron Estes were returned to office handily. After winning the primary among 4 pro-life candidates, political newcomer Ken Selzer won the general election race for Insurance Commissioner.

Brownback & Colyer

Brownback & Colyer

In the governor’s race, the largest factor at play was the attempt of pro-abortion Republican politicians to take down the pro-life Brownback administration. Some national commentators seemed surprised that a group of ex-GOP politicians publicly supported Democrat challenger, Paul Davis, but we weren’t. Nearly all of these “republicans for Davis” claiming to be “traditional” and to espouse “Kansas values” were pro-abortion.

Authentic Kansans wouldn’t support, as Governor, a politician like Davis who had voted EIGHTY times against pro-life measures as a state rep! Though pollsters largely predicted the incumbents would lose,  the Sam Brownback / Jeff Colyer team pulled off a sweet victory, beating the Paul Davis / Jill Docking challengers by 4 points.

HOUSE ADDS PRO-LIFERS
The Kansas Senate was not up for re-election and the Kansas House strengthened its pro-life super majority. The GOP holds 97 seats, of which 91 (94%) are pro-life. Democrats have 28 seats and only 3 (11%) are pro-life.

In the general election, 49 House reps faced no challenger.  KFL-backed candidates won 94 of 125 House rep races, including 3 races with a vote difference under 60.

Planned Parenthood’s candidates lost 25 Kansas House races, including three incumbents.

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Rep. Steve Brunk, lead sponsor of Alexa's Law

Rep. Steve Brunk (R-Wichita) lead sponsor, Alexa’s Law

It has been well documented for decades that pregnant women have been attacked and murdered in order to kill their unborn children. The development of abortion-inducing drugs, however, has produced an increasing crime wave of abortion by trickery.

There was nationwide news coverage of the trial and conviction this month of Floridian John Andrew Welden for committing abortion by secretly swapping his pregnant girlfriend’s medication with abortifacient pills that killed their unborn child.

Now comes the indictment of a Kansas man for allegedly sneaking crushed abortion pills into his girlfriend’s pancakes, killing their unborn child.

On Tuesday, the office of Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt issued this criminal complaint against Scott Robert Bollig for first degree murder, attempted first degree murder, aggravated battery and distributing adulterated food, causing the death of an unborn child at 8-10 weeks estimated gestation.

Part of the pro-life agenda has been to pass laws that uphold the full humanity of the unborn child, including prosecution for both victims following crimes committed against pregnant women and their unborn children.

The criminal complaint against Bollig is based on just such a law– “Alexa’s Law,”– passed in Kansas in 2007, read more here and here.

Kansas was the 35th state (of now 37) to pass such a law, modeled on the 2003 federal “Unborn Victim of Violence Act” designed by the National Right to Life Committee. (see this NRLC list)

Alexa’s Law protects unborn children from fertilization through full term, while some states have enacted limited protection after viability.

Within six months of passage of Alexa’s Law, two pregnant women and their unborn children were murdered in Kansas, and their murderers convicted under this law. Here are the cases known to Kansans for Life that have since utilized Alexa’s Law for charging and convictions:

  1. Sedale Fox was convicted of two first degree murders for shooting his girlfriend to death and the death of their unborn child on Jan. 8, 2008. Read more here.
  2. Andrew Guerrero was convicted for three murders by shooting, committed on Feb.3, 2008—his ex-wife, her 8-month-old infant and an additional unborn child detected in autopsy. Read more here.
  3. Jason Cott was convicted of two counts of first degree murder for the Jan. 20, 2010 strangulation of his wife and death of their unborn child. Read more here.
  4. Ricardo Barnhart was convicted of two counts of aggravated battery for the beating of his wife and injury to their 38-week gestation unborn child on March 19, 2013; mother and child survived. Read more here.
  5. Richard Bennet was charged with 2 counts of attempted murder for the stabbing of his pregnant ex-girlfriend on June 18, 2013. she and the unborn child survived the attack. Bennet was sentenced to parole on lesser charges after the girlfriend later died in a freak accident before his trial. Read more here.
  6. Bryant Seba has been charged with two counts of first degree murder after he allegedly shot and killed his pregnant neighbor and unborn child on July 24, 2013. Read more here.
  7. Scott Bollig has been charged with first degree murder for the premeditated murder of his unborn child, Jan. 26, 2014; the mother survived, after allegedly being tricked into eating abortion-causing medication. Read more here.

“Alexa’s Law”—a tool enacted to uphold the value of any human victim of crime– is being utilized in crimes of abortion “by deceit” not even envisioned when the law was passed.

Pro-lifers are working diligently on all fronts to overturn the unjustifiable legalization of abortion, including building a cache of laws that recognize the humanity of the unborn and protect the unborn whenever possible.

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Rep. Lance Kinzer

Rep. Lance Kinzer

Rep. Arlen Siegfried

Rep. Arlen Siegfreid

Late Friday evening, as the legislative session was ending, the Kansas legislature passed three pro-life bills that Kansans for Life is confident pro-life Gov. Sam Brownback will sign.

Due to late amendments, all the measures were procedurally re-affirmed by both chambers as “conference committee recommendations” and passed by large margins.

House Judiciary chair, Lance Kinzer (R-Olathe), drafted the lead bill for the last two sessions, the Pro-Life Protections Act. He commented,

 “These measures represent a significant step forward in our ongoing effort to advance thoughtful and targeted legislation that both defends innocent human life and protects women who are so often exploited by the abortion industry.”

The Pro-life Protections Act of 2013, HB 2253, was carried by Rep. Arlen Siegfreid (R- Olathe) and passed 90-30 in the House and 28-10 in the Senate. HB 2253 codifies abortion informed consent materials authorized by the state health department, and removes all tax streams that pay for abortion and give advantages to abortion businesses.

The informed consent section has an added mandate for the state department to facilitate medical information access and community support for families facing pre-birth and post-birth diagnoses of Down Syndrome and other conditions.

HB 2253 assures taxpayers are not directly funding abortion or abortion training at the state university, and forbids state discrimination against pro-life citizens and entities.

Rep.David Crum

Rep. David Crum

Rep.John Rubin

Rep. John Rubin

As of this week, HB 2253 now includes SB 141, the ban on abortions done solely for the gender of the unborn child. This ban was passed earlier in the session by the Senate, and passed last year in the House as a provision in another bill. Kansas will join Illinois, Pennsylvania, Oklahoma and Arizona, in banning sex selection abortions.

The second measure secured Friday was SB 199, with votes of 90-30 in the House, 31-8 in the Senate. It establishes a unique Midwest Center for Stem Cell Therapy at University of Kansas Medical Center (KUMC) in collaboration with the Blood and Marrow Transplant Center of Kansas and the Via Christi Cancer Institute in Wichita. Rep. David Crum (R-Augusta) carried the bill.

The Center will expand ongoing “adult” and “cord blood” treatments and become a global clinical and educational resource for cures and treatments that do not use embryonic or fetal tissues. The Center will fill a void by producing clinical grade stem cells, increasing clinical trials in this region, maintaining a comprehensive stem cell database, and creating educational training modules.

The third bill that passed (which Kansans for Life supported) is HB 2164, by a vote count of  92- 28 in the House and 26-12 in the Senate. Under this bill, grand juries summoned by citizen petitions will be better protected from being undermined by local district attorneys.  A citizen-petitioned grand jury is an important watchdog tool, which has been used in Kansas to challenge government agencies not upholding pro-life and pro-family laws.

Last month, Kansas passed SB 142, “Unborn Civil Rights for the Unborn,” which outlaws civil actions of “wrongful birth” and “wrongful life” on behalf of disabled children. It was carried by House Corrections chair, John Rubin (R-Shawnee).

OPPONENTS’ TALKING POINTS CORRECTED:

Abortion supporters continue to mischaracterize these bills—even during debate in both chambers Friday night–so here are some needed corrections. Under these pro-life bills:

  • only abortions done solely for sex selection are banned, otherwise abortions for any reason, including rape, remain legal until the 22nd week of pregnancy, and after that time, can be obtained to preserve the life of the mother or prevent irreversible and substantial physical damage to her;
  • hospitals suffer no penalties for treating life-of-the-mother crises including both ectopic pregnancies and emergencies throughout 9 months;
  • the updated informed consent materials (created by KDHE since 1997) do not contain misinformation, do not say abortion causes breast cancer, and do not force any abortion provider to tell women ANYTHING because the materials are written and online;
  • the acknowledgment that ‘life begins at fertilization’ is language approved in 1989 by the U.S. Supreme Court, and adopted by 13 other states–it does not challenge abortion decisions at the federal or state level;
  • there was no money “taken” from the KUMC budget for the adult stem center, and the center is not hostage to politics, but is expanding on successful medical treatments ALREADY under way at KUMC and across the state.

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Sen. Mary Pilcher-Cook

Sen. Mary Pilcher-Cook

The Kansas Pro-Life Protections Act (HB 2253) passed the Senate by a vote of 29-11, after a nearly 3-hour debate Monday that focused on extraneous amendments offered by pro-abortion Democrat Senators.

Only one amendment (tweaking the tax code) was adopted. Because of that, HB 2253 must procedurally be “re-passed” in the House before heading to Gov. Sam Brownback’s desk.

The Pro-Life Protections Act actually enacts no new restrictions on abortion, rather it:

  • recognizes that life begins at fertilization for purposes of public policy decisions;
  • prevents state discrimination against pro-life entities;
  • restricts tax-payer funding for abortion;
  • defunds abortion training at the state university medical school;
  • keeps abortion businesses out of public school sex-ed;
  • codifies informed consent topics already used by the state health department;
  • strengthens medical and community support for Down Syndrome & other conditions.

Sen. Mary Pilcher-Cook (R-Shawnee), Chair of the Health committee, introduced and defended HB 2253 as positive and protective legislation. She had her hands full explaining what the bill didn’t contain when rebutting senators repeating the spin that liberal pro-abortion forums like the Huffington Post have spewed for two years.

Sen. David Haley (D-Kansas City), who ordinarily causes pro-lifers to groan, really startled observers Monday by first complaining that abortion opponents “impose narrow Taliban-like philosophies” and then with his repeated–and bizarre– claim that “this bill would empower rapists.” Haley twice admitted in debate that “he didn’t know what was in the bill,” even though he was in the committee that took testimony and ‘worked’ the bill!

Haley offered three hostile amendments that failed; the first one was identical to the Wilson amendment which was offered and failed 2 weeks ago during House debate on this same bill.  Though described as limiting three abortion laws for women pregnant by assault, the language actually would invalidate ALL Kansas abortion statutes, including—just to name a few– informed consent, parental involvement, physician penalties, and protection of unborn children who feel pain.

Haley’s  second amendment was described as keeping birth control legal, which is already in Kansas statute, and his third motion was to table the bill.

Sen. Marci Francisco (D-Lawrence) introduced four amendments, one of which would overturn our 2011 law that excludes elective abortion coverage in private health plans. The ACLU took this law to court (a law which other states have had on the books for decades), forcing Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt to defend it. As the trial neared, the ACLU dropped the suit.

Francisco also made a motion to expand abortion deductions and a motion to add domestic partner language to the bill; those amendments failed. Her tax-tweaking amendment succeeded.

Senate Minority leader, Anthony Hensley (D-Topeka), heartily endorsed every defeated motion.

The third abortion supporter to offer an amendment was freshman Sen. Pat Pettey (D-Kansas City). She wanted breast cancer and pre-term birth topics removed from the bill’s informed consent provisions.

KDHE (the state health department) has determined for 15 years that these topics are relevant to provide legally acceptable informed consent.

KDHE cites the Institute of Medicine and a 2009 international meta-analysis in their exposition of possible future pre-term birth risk.

As for breast cancer, KDHE has a modest section citing that there are studies for and against what is known as “the independent” risk factor of abortion. What is pre-eminent is the incontrovertible biological evidence that the risk of breast cancer is reduced with a full-term delivery. An already-pregnant woman deserves that information.

In fact, a national Planned Parenthood fact sheet (submitted by the Kansas City affiliate in opposition to HB 2253) actually reinforces this fact in their breast cancer section:

“reproductive factors have been associated with risk for the disease since the seventeenth century…it is known that having a full-term pregnancy early in a woman’s childbearing years is protective against breast cancer.”

Now compare Planned Parenthood’s statement above with the first 3 sentences in the KDHE abortion informed consent booklet, under breast cancer risk:

 Your chances of getting breast cancer are affected by your pregnancy history. If you have carried a pregnancy to term as a young woman, you may be less likely to get breast cancer in the future. However, your risk is not reduced if your pregnancy is ended by an abortion.

The language is nearly identical! Sen. Pettey’s amendment failed. The challengers sought headlines, not improvements for the bill. Kansans can be proud of this legislation.

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Rep. Jan Pauls

Rep. Jan Pauls

Kansas passed three pro-life measures Tuesday. Two of them (SB 142 and SCR 1606) are headed to Gov. Sam Brownback’s desk, the third (SB 199, creating a stem cell center) is temporarily stalled in conference due to the addition of a friendly amendment.

Pro-lifers are acutely aware that over 55 million unborn children have been denied the right to life because of Roe v. Wade. However Roe’s interior logic has also infiltrated courtrooms increasingly in the form of ‘wrongful birth’ and ‘wrongful life’ lawsuits. These are suits brought under the claim that money damages are owed the parents because the baby—most often one with some significant disability—should not be alive.

Kansas passed SB 142 ‘Civil Rights for the Unborn’ by a vote Tuesday of 89-33 in the House, following earlier Senate passage by a vote of 34-5. Currently, thirteen states bar wrongful birth claims by statute or case law and 34 bar wrongful life suits by statute or case law.

This bill does not interfere with the proper filing of malpractice for obstetric negligence and incompetence. However, this simple truth did not deter abortion supporters from telling the nation that Kansas doctors will be free under this bill to “lie to women.” After making that claim at the bill’s hearing in the House Corrections & Juvenile Justice committee, and

when challenged directly by pro-life Rep. Jan Pauls, the Kansas N.O.W. lobbyist reasserted that only pro-choice doctors will not lie to women.

Additionally noteworthy is the provision in SB 142 that allows civil causes of action for wrongful death of an unborn child (outside of the abortion context) to be filed throughout the entire nine months of gestation, not just after viability. SB 142 is the civil counterpart of Kansas’ 2007 “Alexa’s Law,” allowing criminal prosecution when the unborn is a victim of crime.

Also on Tuesday, SCR 1606, a joint chamber resolution recognizing the work of pregnancy maintenance centers in Kansas and across the nation, passed the House 122-0 after having passed the Senate.

Kansas has eighty pregnancy maintenance help centers. (If you divide the estimated 2,000 national centers by 50 states that would yield an average of 40 per state.) These centers are a vital component of the pro-life movement. Recent testimony from one center in the Kansans City area indicated 95% of their clients are being pressured to abort by the father of the unborn child. (See this.)

Finally on Tuesday, SB 199 passed the House by a vote of 90-32, having previously passed the Senate with a vote of 33-7. Procedurally, the bill had to return to the Senate for re-passage because of a small technical addition.

SB 199 establishes the Midwest Adult Stem Cell Therapy Center at the University of Kansas Medical Center in collaboration with the Blood and Marrow Transplant Center of Kansas and the Via Christi Cancer Institute in Wichita.  “All funds and facilities shall be dedicated to treatments and research with adult, cord blood and related stem cells and non-embryonic stem cells.

No funds or facilities shall involve embryonic stem cells or fetal tissue cells.”

 The Center will:
  • serve as a core facility to produce clinical grade stem cells;
  • create and maintain a database resource for physicians and patients that provides a comprehensive global list of available stem cell clinical trials and therapies;
  • initiate clinical trials with adult, cord blood and related stem cells;
  • create education modules to train and educate physicians and research scientists.

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