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Now-closed Kansas City “Affordable Abortions”  lab specimen prep room in 2003 (photos by staff whistle-blower)

The U.S. Supreme Court 5-3 Whole Women’s Health v Hellerstedt ruling June 27th is not the huge victory abortion supporters claim. However, there is no question that “Hellerstedt” is a truly troublesome ruling, as it:

  • undermines the Court’s former support for the compelling interests of state legislatures,
  • makes the Supreme Court the nation’s medical board, and
  • encourages activist courts to indulge in subjective judgment of abortion regulations.

Ultimately, it’s a setback for the pro-life movement both nationally and in Kansas. However, looking at the long game, Supreme Court decisions are not set in stone.

As a reminder,  the Court struck down a ban on partial-birth abortions in 2000 and then in 2007 upheld the ban. Why? The language of the ban was tweaked, the public became educated (and outraged) and the composition of the Supreme Court changed. This is why presidential elections matter.

HORRIBLE RULING
Hellerstedt
has abandoned any pretext that the Court is only involved to guarantee “safe and legal” abortion. They have overruled protection for women in order to protect abortion business profits. The Court has reinforced its schizophrenia that demands abortion be treated as a medical procedure, but not be subject to the ordinary state oversight other medical facilities must obey.

Kansas City "Affordable Abortions"

“Affordable Abortions” unsterile surgical bedside with open trash and dirty carpet

Kansas has had plenty of abortion horror stories. A staff whistle-blower took photos in 2003 at the inner city “Affordable Abortions” clinic of Krishna Rajanna (now closed). She was so worried about the filth there she would wipe down the surgical bed with rubbing alcohol whenever she could.

Kansas had a duty to enact abortion clinic regulations, and it took ten years to get a licensure and inspection law— passed when we had a pro-life governor in 2011.
(Read more here and here.)

The abominable majority opinion last Monday, written by Justice Breyer, absurdly tries to justify striking down Texas’ clinic regulations, asserting that having such laws in place would not stop the “very bad behavior” of “determined wrong-doers” like Kansas had  at the “Affordable Abortions” clinic and elsewhere. With that logic, no laws would ever be passed.

The Hellerstedt ruling is harshly criticized by the dissenting justices (Thomas, Alito and Roberts) for breaking procedural rules and being so riddled with special exceptions for special rights” that it violates “the promise of a judiciary bound by the rule of law.”

Planned Parenthood has announced now they’ll fight abortion regulations in eight states: Arizona, Florida, Michigan, Missouri, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia– “with more to come” against similar laws across the country. National Right to Life Committee president, Carol Tobias, expects only measures identical to those blocked by the Supreme Court will be vulnerable to appeal.

HOW IS KANSAS AFFECTED?
The office of Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt has so far announced that the legal team is studying the Hellerstedt ruling with respect to three ongoing lawsuits filed by Kansas abortionists. The A.G. team has prevailed in all other concluded abortion litigation since 2011.  (Read more about Kansas abortion clinics and lawsuits here.)

"Affordable Abortions" had blocked back exit with lawn mower in the mess as a "back-up generator"

“Affordable Abortions” fire-hazard blocked back exit with lawn mower (by door) as a “back-up generator”

Most directly related to Hellerstedt is the 2011 Kansas comprehensive abortion clinic licensure & inspection law which has never been in effect due to a “temporary” injunction and to an unjustifiable 4 1/2 year delay from Shawnee District Court Judge Franklin Theis.

That law includes building safety standards, injury & death incident reporting, abortion-specific protocols and a requirement that abortions be performed by Kansas-licensed physicians. Relative to Hellerstedt, it

  1. does mandate hospital privileges for abortionists within 30 miles of the abortion site, but
  2. does not require an abortion facility to be licensed as an ambulatory surgical center (ASC).

The admitting privilege (#1)  does mirror that of Texas, but the context in Kansas is not the same. All four Kansas abortion businesses  (2 in Wichita and 2 in Overland Park) claim to have access to abortionists with hospital privileges.

As for #2, although some of the Kansas facility requirements do resemble those of ASCs,  those provisions would not automatically need to be struck down. Also, two Kansas abortion businesses(Planned Parenthood and SouthWind) are already licensed as ASCs.

However, following Hellerstedt, activist courts will be more encouraged to subjectively critique –and potentially reject–duly-passed medical oversight laws.

 

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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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U.S. Senators Roberts & Moran

U.S. Senators Roberts & Moran

Although the major TV networks didn’t tell the public, Thursday night was historic for pro-lifers. That was when, for the first time ever, the United States Senate passed a bill to defund Planned Parenthood. HR 3762 also dismantles large chunks of Obamacare.

HR 3762 passed 52-47 under a process called “reconciliation,” allowing a bill to pass by a simple 51-vote majority, without the possibility of a filibuster requiring 60 votes for passage.

Kansas U.S. Senators Pat Roberts and Jerry Moran supported the bill and did not vote for either of two hostile amendments, which were narrowly averted.

National Right to Life, the nation’s largest pro-life organization, applauded approval of the bill,

which will block approximately 89% of all federal funding to Planned Parenthood – about $400 million in the next year. The amounts denied to Planned Parenthood are reallocated to community health centers.

Because of changes made by the Senate, the House of Representatives must approve the bill before it reaches the desk of President Barack Obama, who will undoubtedly veto it.

Legislative director for National Right to Life, Douglas Johnson said, “While this bill faces the implacable opposition of President Barack Obama, it blazes a trail that can be followed to victory in the future – once we have a pro-life president.”

The bill would close the largest pipeline for federal funding of Planned Parenthood, Medicaid, and apply as well to the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and the Title V and Title XX block grant programs.

Based on data from their own annual report from 2013-2014, nearly one in eight women walking through the door of a Planned Parenthood clinic has an abortion. A background memo from National Right to Life is available here, which addresses the fallacious claim that abortion comprises only 3% of Planned Parenthood business.

KANSAS BEATS PLANNED PARENTHOOD
In Kansas, Planned Parenthood of Kansas- Mid Missouri (PPKMM) no longer receives federal reproductive health grants under Title X—which (in 2011) amounted to more than one third of a million dollars annually. Kansas instead sends those funds to full-service clinics and hospitals, under a pro-life state budget provision that was repeatedly vetoed until Sam Brownback became governor.

After three years in litigation, Planned Parenthood lost its court challenge to the measure at the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals. Following that blow, they closed their Hays clinic, which referred for–but did not perform– abortions. Currently, PPKMM operates one Wichita abortion-referring clinic and an Overland Park abortion-performing clinic.

Planned Parenthood also lost its legal challenge in federal district court to a KFL-sponsored bill passed in 2013, the Pro-Life Protections Act. Under the law, all Kansas abortion clinics must feature a live link on their website homepage that offers fetal development information from the Kansas health department, KDHE.

More and more, citizens—through their elected officials– are refusing to partner with the nation’s largest abortion business.

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Teens at workshop

Rapt Teens for Life audience at KFL convention workshop

For a long time, Kansas was on the map as an abortion-friendly state. But the persistence of pro-life Kansans reversed that, and that indomitable spirit was on display Saturday at Kansans for Life’s state convention.

A big turnout at the Wichita Hyatt Regency began with a prayer breakfast and closed with a concert. In between, convention-goers were the beneficiaries of intense tutorials, workshops, panel discussions, and camaraderie.

There were three different program tracks throughout the day—General Audience, Latinos for Life, and Teens for Life.

close in teens

Teens at KFL convention

“Latinos and Teens,” said Convention organizer, KFL’s Development Director David Gittrich, “were especially energized to get equipped to educate and involve their peers in the effort to defend innocent human life.”

Comments from participants in all three tracks were extremely positive and many expressed their gratitude for the event.

The opening general session featured two of NRLC’s top talents: Burke Balch, director of the Robert Powell Center for Medical Ethics, and Mary Spaulding Balch, director of state legislation. The husband and wife team offered a joint exposition on “Pro-Life Lessons from Lincoln.”

This was a riveting explanation of the role the courts played in the civil rights movement, and how we can match those successes in the courts today using NRLC-supported legislation. One attendee said, “This is an absolutely remarkable defense of a strategy that will succeed!”

The afternoon general session featured international stem-cell expert, Dr. David Prentice, now at the Charlotte Lozier Institute, presenting an update on the successes of ethical stem cell therapies. Dr. Prentice is a founding member of the first-of-its-kind Midwest Stem Cell Therapy Center at the University of Kansas Medical Center, now in its third year of operation.

Gov. Brownback, NRLC's Mary & Burke Balch, Lt. Gov. Colyer

Gov. Sam Brownback, Mary & Burke Balch, Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer

The audience was enthralled with the amount of stem cell clinical trials that are helping patients, including Kansans, and the medical marvels now occurring.

There was a broad selection of workshops available, including The Unborn Child’s Pain Capability, Why Judicial Reform is a Pro-life Issue, Threats to Receiving Life-sustaining Care in Kansas, and An Obamacare Alternative.

Latino and Teen tracks included topics tailored to their viewpoints and strengths.

Latinos for Life workshop

Latinos for Life workshop

Kate Gruver, from Pure and Simple, was a convention presenter and facilitated the Teens for Life track.  She said she was gratified to have so many people — including attendees from another state! “The teens were full of passion in their ‘standing for life,‘ and enjoyed learning from new perspectives,” she said.

Mary Spaulding Balch, did the “lifeboat” rationing exercise with the Teen track, and was very impressed to see so many young people who are passionate about protecting the lives of unborn children and the medically dependent.

“Their zeal is contagious,” she said. “Their participation is encouraging. The future looks bright.”

The Latinos for Life events “were very well received, with enthusiastic interaction,” reported Anna Myers, KFL’s Director of Hispanic Outreach.  The entire Latinos for Life track was in Spanish and attendees came from the far west to east end of the state.

It was Myers’ inspiration to close the convention with a highly successful Rondalla concert/rally featuring a variety of stringed musicians, and gospel singers.convention, Latinos for Life rondalla

Closing remarks for the day were delivered by Wichita Mayor Jeff Longwell, Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer, and Gov. Sam Brownback. The Governor detailed 15 pro-life measures he had signed into law and told the happy crowd, “Kansas is pro-life and we are not going back!”

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stop dismembering posterKansans for Life today submitted an amicus (“friend of the court”) brief, supporting Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt’s position in the matter of the ground-breaking Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act.

The A.G. is appealing a lower court block on the law with a hearing scheduled Dec. 9 in front of the full, fourteen-member state Court of Appeals. The fact that this appeal is being expedited to the full court, instead of a 3-member panel, is extremely unusual and shows the high stakes involved.

The Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act was enacted in Kansas this April (followed within days by Oklahoma). The Act is model legislation developed by the National Right to Life Committee that is designed to pass U. S. Supreme Court scrutiny and would prohibit the brutal shredding of unborn children while still alive inside their mothers.

According to state reporting data, Kansas has seen a rise in such horrific abortions, from 584 in 2013 to 637 in 2014. All three abortion businesses in Kansas offer such procedures, with one admitting on national television they cost around $2,000.00 apiece.

THE TRUTH OF DISMEMBERMENT
Abortions by dismemberment are done mainly after the first trimester, when the unborn baby is too large to pass through the suction tubing of the abortion machine. In a dismemberment abortion, the abortionist continually reaches into the mother’s womb with a variety of sharp-edged metal clamps and tools, yanking off parts of the child and pulling them out onto a tray.

Infamous abortionist LeRoy Carhart (who still holds a medical license in Kansas) has described this procedure in court as “dismembering” and recounts how he uses ultrasound guidance so he knows that these unborn victims are still alive, with hearts beating, as the procedure unfolds.

medical arm with abortion toolAlthough pro-abortionists (and nearly every media outlet) refer to these abortions as D&E abortions, D&E is actually a broader term, encompassing the removal of baby body parts—whether parts are torn off of still-alive unborn children or taken off unborn children already dead through the intentional administration of a feticide or by the snipping of the umbilical cord. The Kansas and Oklahoma Acts only bar dismemberment abortions performed on a still-living unborn child.

Abortion attorneys are claiming that women’s health demands this barbaric procedure. This was also their claim when it came to partial-birth abortions, which the U. S. Supreme Court rejected in their 2007 Gonzales ruling. In that decision, the Court upheld that the federal ban on partial-birth abortions — forbidding an inhumane abortion procedure in order to show respect for the developing unborn child and to regulate medicine — was a proper exercise of legislatures.

The impetus for a ban on dismemberment abortion was the actual written comments by the Justices in the Gonzales decision, and in an earlier partial-birth ruling, Stenberg, that acknowledged the horrific abortion procedures.

Ginsburg

Justice Ginsburg

Justice John Paul Stevens, an abortion supporter, in comparing partial-birth abortion to dismemberment abortion, said, “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, an abortion supporter, said 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 Court essentially encouraged states to bar abortion methods that, ”might cause the medical profession or society as a whole to become insensitive, even disdainful, to life…” Stenberg v. Carhart, 530 U.S. 914, 961

Barbarism is exactly what the Kansas and Oklahoma legislature intended to stop when enacting the Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act, yet both states have been blocked by court injunctions from allowing this law to go into effect.

LOWER COURT ADOPTS ABORTION POSITION
Shawnee District Court Judge Larry Hendricks has apparently not read the relevant U.S. Supreme Court rulings. His decision to issue an injunction in June (read more here) blocking the Act declared that it:

  • would be an unacceptable limitation (“undue burden”) on the so-called right to abortion created by Roe in 1973 (as the abortion attorneys interpret it) and
  • violates an even broader “right” to abortion that the judge says exists in our 1859-adopted Kansas Constitution.
Judge Hendricks

Judge Hendricks

The argument that Kansas has any right to abortion enshrined in our state Constitution has repeatedly been rebutted and called “a fantasy” in filings from the Attorney General.

Furthermore, the U.S. Supreme Court said in Gonzales that abortionists do not have any right to demand certain procedures: Physicians are not entitled to ignore regulations that direct them to use reasonable alternative procedures. The law need not give abortion doctors unfettered choice in the course of their medical practice.” [Gonzales v. Carhart, 550 U.S. 124, 163]

The abortionists’ argument that the Dismemberment Abortion ban restricts a “common” method is actually a plea that they be allowed to keep methods that are more expeditious and profitable for them.

Kansans for Life’s amicus brief amplifies why this Act conforms to the U.S. Supreme Court’s position that some abortion methods are unacceptable and “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.’ “[Gonzales v. Carhart, 550 U.S. 124, 156-157]

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stop pp baby partsThe U.S. Senate will vote as early as Monday, August 3, on a bill — strongly backed by National Right to Life — that would cut off all federal funds to the Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) and all of its affiliates. 

Please act immediately to convey your strong support for this bill here.

Kansans for Life is pleased that Sens. Pat Roberts and Jerry Moran are co-sponsors of S. 1881, which provides that “no Federal funds may be made available to Planned Parenthood Federation of America, or to any of its affiliates, subsidiaries, successors, or clinics.”  The bill also contains a finding that states, “All funds no longer available to Planned Parenthood will continue to be made available to other eligible entities to provide women’s health care services.” 

Pro-lifers must stay informed and share on social networking these horrific revelations at Planned Parenthood. Mainstream media sources have practically blocked this story, read more here.

  • PPFA is the nation’s largest provider of abortions — about one-third of all abortions in the U.S. are performed at PPFA-affiliated facilities.
  • PPFA also receives at least $528 million annually from the federal government or other levels of government.
  • PPFA affiliates and senior physician-executive have been caught on undercover video as trafficking in organs from aborted babies, triggering Congressional and state investigations.

See the latest undercover expose by the Center for Medical Progress here (warning: contains  image of dismembered unborn child). An overview of the video revelations is here.

Kansans for Life applauds pro-life Gov. Sam Brownback for asking for a probe into potential baby body part trafficking in Kansas. See video excerpts of the Governor’s most recent press conference on this breaking scandal here and here.

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slogan dismembermtAmanda Marcotte is a strident abortion proponent who is in abject misery about the passage of the Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act in Kansas and Oklahoma.

Her headline reads “Anti-Choicers Are Going to Take Away Second-Trimester Abortion Without Much Notice” and though the actual content of her piece is all over the place, her message is clear; she is

  1. distressed that a significant abortion restriction is now available to reach the Supreme Court, and
  2. frustrated that her side not only has no defense, it can’t even discuss the law’s content for PR reasons.

They have no defense because there is no defense for dismemberment abortions which crush, tear and pulverize living unborn human beings. Marcotte dares not even mention the unborn baby, which is the focus of this new law.

By necessity all state pro-life measures attempt to navigate the landscape and boundaries set out by the U.S. Supreme Court. That includes understanding that with the 1992 Casey decision, the justices have left the door ajar for additional limitations.

Marcotte recognizes that the authors of various pro-life bills over the past decade have taken different approaches. Why wouldn’t they probe and prod, looking to see what the justices will accept?  That only makes sense.

Marcotte tries to dismiss these laws, which is her prerogative, but it is simply foolish to dismiss the fact that there is a  public receptivity to them.

Marcotte does recognize that this dismemberment ban (with language provided by the top experts at the National Right to Life Committee) is a genuine threat to the abortion status quo. The law is a natural follow-up to the ban on partial-birth abortion, upheld in the 2007 Gonzales v Carhart ruling. Let me explain.

The Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act has several purposes

  • to educate the public about the gruesome torture inflicted on the living, unborn child in a D&E dismemberment abortion;
  • to stop such abortions; and
  • to present the Supreme Court with a bill that is consonant with what a majority of the High Court held in the partial-birth abortion ruling.

Abortion attorneys themselves anticipated–with dread, of course– this ban on dismemberment abortions after Gonzales. In Gonzales, the justices upheld the public’s right, through duly passed laws, to halt a barbaric abortion method, despite the protests of abortionists that this partial-birth method was “safer” for women and needed.

States have provided a variety of significant pro-life measures that the Court may indeed soon chose to weigh in on, including conflicting rulings on the woman’s full access to viewing her unborn child’s ultrasound prior to abortion.

However, this ban on dismemberment abortions would present the Court with a direct follow up to their last abortion ruling. That is what scares Marcotte.

And it should.

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