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Archive for the ‘Kansas legislators’ Category

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

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

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

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

Sen. Masterson, Sen. Tyson

Sen. Masterson, Sen. Tyson

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

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

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

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

Sen. O'Donnell, Sen. Pilcher Cook

Sen. O’Donnell, Sen. Pilcher Cook

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

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

Sen. Laturner, Rep. Pauls

Sen. LaTurner, Rep. Pauls

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

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

baby SImon Crosier died to a secret DNR

baby Simon Crosier died due to a secret DNR

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

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

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Simon & family

baby Simon Crosier with family

It very rarely happens, but the vote count on 2 pro-life bills was misrecorded by the official Kansas legislative website and has now been corrected.

An even higher pro-life vote resulted with the correction. The Senate vote for SB 437, Simon’s Law, appears to be the highest in many years for a substantive pro-life measure.

Simon’s Law will insure a parent gives permission before any DNR  (Do Not Resuscitate) order is put on a minor’s medical chart, and that a request to disclose the existence of any hospital “futility” policy is honored.

Simon Crosier’s parents, Sheryl and Scott, have advocated for this bill to protect parental rights, and to warn about medical discrimination against children with chromosomal conditions labeled as “incompatible with life.”

As of Tuesday, 7p.m. the official final tally for SB 437, Simon’ s Law, for the vote taken today in the Senate is 37-3:

Yea – (37):
Abrams, Arpke, Baumgardner, Bowers, Bruce, Denning, Donovan, Faust-Goudeau, Fitzgerald, Haley, Hawk, Hensley, Holland, Holmes, Kerschen, King, Knox, LaTurner, Longbine, Love, Lynn, Masterson, McGinn, Melcher, O’Donnell, Olson, Ostmeyer, Petersen, Pilcher-Cook, Powell, Pyle, V. Schmidt, Smith, Tyson, Wagle, Wilborn, Wolf.
Nay – (3)
:
Francisco, Kelly, Pettey.PP wrong way

SB 436 will make permanent a KDHE selection priority for full-service public health clinics and hospitals to receive Title X federal reproductive health money.

This issue of state budget authority to make this priority was sued by Planned Parenthood in 2011 on behalf of over 1/3 million dollars that they claimed “belonged” to them.  Planned Parenthood lost and Kansas won in March 2014 with a ruling from the federal Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals.

SB 436 passed today on purely partisan lines, with all Democrats opposing the measure. The official final tally for the Senate vote is 32-8:

Yea – (32):

Abrams, Arpke, Baumgardner, Bowers, Bruce, Denning, Donovan, Fitzgerald, Holmes, Kerschen, King, Knox, LaTurner, Longbine, Love, Lynn, Masterson, McGinn, Melcher, O’Donnell, Olson, Ostmeyer, Petersen, Pilcher-Cook, Powell, Pyle, V. Schmidt, Smith, Tyson, Wagle, Wilborn, Wolf.
Nay – (8):
Faust-Goudeau, Francisco, Haley, Hawk, Hensley, Holland, Kelly, Pettey.

To contact your Senator about these votes, use the roster here.

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baby SImon Crosier died to a secret DNR

Baby Simon died due to a secret DNR order

The Kansas Senate has approved two pro-life bills: SB 437, Simon’s Law, and SB 436, prioritizing public clinics for Title X money that Planned Parenthood had claimed in 2011 was “theirs.”

The Senate passed both bills provisionally Monday with a final vote tally for both scheduled for Tuesday.UPDATE, State Legislative website error corrected Tues. 7pm: Final tally: SB 437,Simon’ s Law, passed 37-3 and SB 436 passed 32-8.

Sen. Jacob LaTurner (R-Pittsburg) was bill carrier for Simon’s Law, adopted from a measure originally filed in Missouri. Simon’s Law would:

  • prevent children from being denied life-sustaining care through DNR (Do Not Resuscitate) orders issued without parental knowledge or permission; and
  • require hospitals and medical facilities with policies about withholding life-sustaining treatment to disclose such policies upon request.
Sen. LaTurner

Sen. LaTurner, pro-life bill carrier

“I think this is a very good piece of legislation, very necessary to make sure that this doesn’t happen to any children in the future in the state of Kansas,” LaTurner said, after detailing the in-hospital death of baby Simon Crosier, using the words of his mother, Sheryl Crosier.

Kansans for Life had presented a collection of tragic accounts of how medically-fragile children were harmed –or  had died!– due to “secret” DNRs.  See personal testimonies and blog posts, here and here.

Simon’s Law does not criminalize any actions of doctors or hospitals; it merely sets in law the same process already in state statute for guardians when life-sustaining care is threatened to be denied to their wards.

During Monday’s floor debate, consternation about the bill came only from pro-abortion regulars, Sen. Vicki Schmidt (R-Topeka) and Sen. Laura Kelly (D-Topeka) who are each married to Kansas physicians. (No current Kansas senators are physicians or nurses by profession.)

Sen. Schmidt opened her comments on the floor by asking if, under Simon’s Law, a child in an emergency room must be kept alive if he/she had arrived without a parent. The answer was, certainly, yes! And isn’t that what every parent should be able to assume will happen? Yet Sen. Schmidt found it troubling!

Sen. Schmidt

anti-life Sen. Vicki Schmidt

Schmidt also tried to raise fears that foster parents or the state family agency would be unworkable as petitioners. However. the protocol to petition the court on behalf of a child in need of treatment, applies smoothly for those “acting in the place of” parents. Thus was the sum of her objection to Simon’s Law

To explain why no entity opposed Simon’s Law, Sen. Kelly made a false claim that “the process for it was too rushed,” with only one day’s notice given for the March 3rd hearing –thus prohibiting all stakeholders from testifying. That was both absurd and provably false!

  1. There’s a myriad of medical interest lobbyists at the Capitol who learned on Feb 10 that Simon’s Law was in process and had plenty of time to prepare testimony.
  2. Moreover, KFL records show the Senate Health committee secretary specifically notified all committee members (including Kelly) and 50 other interested parties on Feb 23–not March 2 as Kelly claimed–about the Simon’s Law hearing.

HOSPITALS HIDING
Sen. Kelly said that Children’s Mercy Hospitals in Kansas City, MO and St. Louis. MO, as well as the SMS Missouri health network had opposed the Missouri version of Simon’s Law, and had discussed their concerns with her. However, the superficial medical opposition to the Missouri version has seemed to evaporate toward the Kansas version, perhaps due to clarifying definitions and conflict protocols from KFL not in the original Missouri version.

On the Senate floor, Health & Public Welfare chairman, Sen. Michael O’Donnell (R-Wichita), rebutted Sen. Kelly’s claims of “committee process abuse”and said none of her named entities–or any other party– has ever yet to contact him with concerns. Most observers realized Kelly’s claim of abuse of process was a weak attempt to excuse why she will be passing on tomorrow’s final vote.

The unique situation in which a Kansas pro-life bill has gone unchallenged in committee may actually reflect reluctance by physicians and hospitals to state openly:

  • their unwillingness to relinquish sole control over DNRs, as well as
  • prove that a pernicious medical elitism and bias exists toward patients they believe are not “worthy” of living.
Sen. Ostmeyer

pro-life Sen. Ostmeyer

Pro-life Sen. Ralph Ostmeyer (R-Grinnell) alluded to physicians who issue DNRs in order to “put parents (not the child) out of their misery.” Sen. Ostmeyer insisted parents deserve to make the final call, adding,”Don’t let the doctor play God.”

PLANNED PARENTHOOD FUNDING ATTEMPT
The second bill passed is SB 436, which targets Title X contracts to provide comprehensive care to the indigent.  (see KFL blogs here and here and KFL testimony)

Kansas’s right to prioritize full-service providers was upheld in 2014 by federal appellate court after Planned Parenthood sued the budget allotment —and lost.

In Kansas, federal Title X reproductive health funds go first to full-service facilities, mainly public health clinics, and then public hospitals. The Kansas legislature has annually budgeted for this since 2011 (after 4 years of pro-abortion governor vetoes).

The point of SB 436 is to make permanent in statute what has been an annual budget item. On behalf of her 26 Senate co-sponsors, Sen. Caryn Tyson (R-Parker) was the bill carrier.

As she had attempted in committee, abortion supporter, Sen. Marci Francisco (D-Lawrence) once again tried to amend SB 436 to create a new revenue stream for Planned Parenthood. The amendment failed.

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Senate committee chairmen O’Donnell & Masterson expedited pro-life bill hearings

Pro-life Senate chairmen,  O’Donnell & Masterson

Pro-life Senate Public Health & Welfare chair, Mike O’Donnell (R-Wichita) and Senate Ways & Means chair, Ty Masterson (R-Andover) expedited committee passage of 2 pro-life Kansas bills this week.

On Wednesday, March 9, the Senate Public Health & Welfare committee passed Simon’s Law, SB 437, a bill addressing parental rights and life-sustaining treatment for minors.

Only one committee member, Sen, Laura Kelly (D-Topeka), voted against passage. Sen. Kelly complained that medical opposition had NOT come forward to oppose this eminently reasonable and protective bill!

Simon’s Law was named for a baby, Simon Crosier, who was allowed to die due to a DNR (Do Not Resuscitate) medical order issued without knowledge or permission of his parents; they believe Simon was discriminated against due to his Trisomy 18 condition.

Simon Crosier & parents

Simon Crosier & parents

Kansans for Life brought the committee many compelling testimonials from other families whose medically fragile children were harmed and/or denied medical resuscitation– due to negative “quality of life” value judgments from physicians and hospitals. Simon’s Law will do two important things:

  1.  prevent any medical facility or practitioner from secretly placing a DNR order for children under 18 years of age without written consent of at least one parent or guardian.
  2. require that, upon request, a facility must disclose any existing written policy on denial of life-sustaining treatment.

The Senate Public Health & Welfare committee added clarifying language defining futile care and a process for DNR conflict resolution. The full Senate is expected to vote on Simon’s Law within days.

BILL THAT PLANNED PARENTHOOD HATES

Anti-life Senators Kelly & Francisco

Anti-life Senators Kelly & Francisco

On Tuesday, March 8, the Senate Ways & Means Committee passed out a pro-life bill that would make permanent the way the state health department, KDHE, assigns grants using Title X federal funding.

SB 436 codifies the original 2007 Huelskamp-Kinzer proviso, prioritizing comprehensive care facilities as Title X recipients. The proviso was annually passed– but line-item vetoed– until signed into law in 2011 under Gov. Sam Brownback.

Planned Parenthood sued in 2011 to get that Title X money which it no longer qualified for. The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals denied their claim in 2014. The ruling vindicated Kansas, and what former KDHE secretary, Robert Moser, had maintained: “Title X was not intended to be an entitlement program for Planned Parenthood.

SB 436 prioritizes that full-service public clinics and hospitals are first in line for Title X reproductive-services money. Remaining money is secondarily prioritized to private, full-service clinics and hospitals. The measure strengthens local ‘safety net’ health clinics.

The Senate Ways & Means committee passed SB 436 with Senator Marci Francisco (D-Lawrence) as the only no vote. This bill is also expected to get a vote from the full Senate in short order.

During committee action, Sen. Francisco, with support from Sen. Laura Kelly (D-Topeka), had offered an amendment to SB 436 that would have created a brand new KDHE funding stream for Planned Parenthood! The committee soundly defeated that amendment.

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Simon's Law hearing Sheryl Crosier

Sheryl Crosier, Simon’s Law

The Kansas legislature reconvened for the second half of the session and Kansans for Life testified in hearings for two pro-life bills.

On Thursday, the Senate Public Health & Welfare committee held a hearing on SB 437, Simon’s Law, a bill to insure that the issuance of any Do Not Resuscitate order (DNR) for a minor has parental consent.

Since baby Simon’s death five years ago due to unjustifiable denial of care, Sheryl Crosier, his mother, has been in touch with a myriad of other families whose

medically fragile children were harmed and/or denied medical resuscitation– due to negative “quality of life” value judgments from physicians and hospitals.

Simon’s Law, SB 437, was introduced by Sen. Jacob LaTurner (R-Pittsburg), who thanked Crosier for her commitment to the issue and her bravery in describing for the committee the events involved in her son’s death.

Sen LaTurner

Sen. Jacob LaTurner

Her testimony was indeed both shocking and gut-wrenching for those in the packed committee room: Sheryl and her husband discovered–after Simon’s demise– that life-sustaining care had been denied to him due to a secretly-placed DNR based on his status as an infant with Trisomy 18. (See details here and read more in her book: I am Not a Syndrome, My name is Simon.)

Crosier’s experience triggered the production of a 2014 film  called Labeled,” on the topic of the medical discrimination against children with Trisomy 18, Trisomy 13 and related chromosomal disorders. (See info on these conditions here.)

Kansans for Life is promoting Simon’s Law, on behalf of these families– as well as physicians and researchers– who want parents assured of “an environment that allows medical decisions to be made in an ethical and transparent way.”  (Read KFL testimony here, and numerous heart-breaking actual accounts submitted to the committee here.)

The committee will likely work on the bill next week.  Contact info is here for Senate Health committee members, so you can urge them to pass Simon’s Law, SB 437.

U.S. Rep. Tim Huelskamp

U.S. Rep. Tim Huelskamp

BILL THAT PLANNED PARENTHOOD HATES
On Wednesday, March 2, the Senate Ways & Means Committee heard testimony from Kansans for Life supporting SB 436. This measure would make permanent the way the state health department, KDHE, assigns grants using Title X federal funding.

First passed in 2007 as the Huelskamp-Kinzer amendment, SB 436 prioritizes that full-service public clinics and hospitals are first in line for Title X ‘reproductive-services’ money. Remaining money is secondarily prioritized to private, full-service clinics and hospitals.

The emphasis is on providing comprehensive health care for Kansans who qualify for Title X, and for strengthening ‘safety net’ health clinics.

The legislature annually passed the Huelskamp-Kinzer amendment only to have it vetoed by pro-abortion governors, until pro-life Gov. Sam Brownback took office in 2011.  It has been approved in the budget every year since.

Planned Parenthood of Kansas Mid-Missouri (PPKMM) sued the Title X prioritization because they cannot provide the comprehensive care now required. During litigation, however, PPKMM continued to receive over a million dollars when Kansas was forced by an activist court to continue contracting with them.

The Kansas Attorney Generals’ office strongly defended the measure in federal district court, and on appeal. Dr. Robert Moser, then-KDHE Secretary who was named in the lawsuit, justified the state’s position, stating,

“Title X was not intended to be an entitlement program for Planned Parenthood.”

Sen. Caryn Tyson

Sen. Caryn Tyson

The Title X prioritization of the Huelskamp-Kinzer amendment was finally upheld in a ruling from the federal Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals in March 2014. After PPKMM’s loss, they dropped further appeals. Read more here.

With 26 Senate co-sponsors, Sen. Caryn Tyson (R-Parker) introduced SB 436, in which the Title X budget prioritization is put permanently into statute.

KFL testimony supporting SB 436 is here. Contact info is here for Senate Ways & Means committee members to encourage passage of SB 436.

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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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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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