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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.

KFL press conferees Jean Gawdun, bill sponsor Sen. Garrett Love and KFL counsel, Jessica Basgall

“Dismemberment ban” introduction featured (L-R) KFL senior lobbyist, Jeanne Gawdun;  bill sponsor, Sen. Garrett Love; and KFL counsel, Jessica Basgall.

Kansans for Life held a press conference Wednesday morning to introduce “The Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act.” See TV coverage,  here and here.

The public is largely unaware that the standard method for second-trimester abortions involves the brutal limb-by-limb dismemberment of living unborn children.

According to the KDHE (Kansas Department of Health & Environment) in 2013, 578 such abortions were performed using what is termed the “D & E” abortion (Dilation and extraction) method. (see Table 42, pg 101, here)

D & E “remains the most prevalent and cost-effective method of second-trimester pregnancy termination in the USA,” according to the National Abortion Federation Abortion Training Textbook. A medical illustration of a D&E dismemberment abortion is available here.

Kansans will recoil when they actually comprehend this horrific abortion method, as they did when they learned about the gruesome Partial-Birth Abortion method. Bill sponsor, Senate Majority Whip, Garrett Love (R-Montezuma) said,

“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. I am proud to sponsor this ground-breaking legislation,”

The Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act was crafted by the National Right to Life Committee, and defines dismemberment as:

“extracting him or her one piece at a time from the uterus through use of clamps, grasping forceps, tongs, scissors or similar instruments that, through the convergence of two rigid levers, slice, crush, and /or grasp a portion of the unborn child’s body to cut or rip it off. This definition does not include an abortion which uses suction to dismember the body of the developing unborn child by sucking fetal parts into a collection container.”

LITIGATION STRATEGY
Dismemberment abortion is one of six recognized abortion methods used after the first trimester.

In 2007, the U.S. Supreme Court Gonzales v Carhart ruling upheld a federal ban on the gruesome Partial Birth method of abortion– which, arguably, may even be less barbaric than dismemberment abortion– because other methods were available.

The Court said that states had the right to ban a method of abortion in order to preserve the integrity of the medical profession and express profound respect for the developing unborn child. In that ruling, Justice Anthony Kennedy (considered the ‘swing’ abortion vote on the Court) described the dismemberment method:

“The fetus, in many cases, dies just as a human adult or child would: It bleeds to death as it is torn apart limb by limb. The fetus can be alive at the beginning of the dismemberment process and can survive for a time while its limbs are being torn off. The process of dismembering the fetus continues until it has been completely removed. A doctor may make 10 to 15 passes with the forceps to evacuate the fetus in its entirety…”

This new legislation includes a strict emergency exception, criminal and civil penalties, and privacy protection for court proceedings. It will be introduced in the Kansas Senate next week.

Since  2011, Kansas has barred abortion after 22 weeks gestation (20 weeks post-fertilization) due to the research-confirmed pain-capability of the unborn child. In 1998, Kansas barred Partial Birth Abortions.

Kris Neuhaus

Neuhaus at Board

Late Friday, the Kansas Board of Healing Arts issued a final order of license revocation for abortionist Kris Neuhaus, calling her “incapable of successful rehabilitation.”  Kansans for Life applauds the resolve of the Board in protecting the public from her.

Neuhaus’ license had been revoked in 2012 for her failure to follow both standard of care and record-keeping protocols when providing the legally-required “second  independent medical opinion ” that enabled 11 teens in 2003 to obtain third-trimester abortions at the Wichita abortion clinic of George Tiller.

Neuhaus challenged that revocation in state district court. While upholding the Board’s findings that Neuhaus repeatedly failed to document patient histories properly, Judge Franklin Theis vacated the standard of care charge and sent the matter back to the Board for a “do-over.” on Dec. 11  (see here).

The Board upheld using the sanction of revocation for record-keeping misconduct, because this was Neuhaus’ “third strike ” in this arena.

She had been involved in two prior disciplinary actions from the Board between 1999-2001 and as part of retaining her medical license then, she had legally PROMISED to correct her admitted record-keeping failures in the future.

Creating and maintaining proper medical records is not a trivial matter. The Board asserted that the “the interest of the patient is paramount…Failure to properly document denies the patient of the opportunity to receive proper follow up care and treatment.”

The Board particularly cited the youth, inexperience and vulnerability of the 11 patients, “who may have had a unique need for follow up because [Neuhaus] testified that some exhibited suicidal ideation or other indicators of mental illness or psychiatric problems.”

The Board found that Neuhaus:

  • intentionally, willfully and knowingly committed multiple violations of the Kansas Healing Arts Act;
  • “has not learned from prior disciplinary actions [and] fails to express contrition or otherwise acknowledge the wrongful nature of her conduct”;
  • feels”justified in her actions and showed no signs of remorse”.

Neuhaus’ attorney, Bob Eye, had pressed that Neuhaus had already suffered a sufficient penalty of not having had her Kansas medical license for the past years during litigation. However, the Board disagreed, and cited continued revocation and court costs were warranted under their sanctioning guidelines.

In the earlier revocation, the state lost the $93,000.00 in court costs charged to Neuhaus which Judge Theis dismissed. Neuhaus has fifteen days to file a new appeal.

new year baby2014 saw many pro-life victories for Kansas, the fruit of decades of efforts by pro-lifers to fight a culture of death through education, legislation and providing loving help to women feeling abandoned during pregnancy. Kansans for Life played a key role in these efforts, with exciting new developments in the works.

Pro-lifers can proudly claim credit for the fact that pro-life candidates won all of Kansas’ statewide offices, along with 94 of the 125 seats in the Kansas House of Representatives in the 2014 elections. Notably, pro-life stalwarts Governor Sam Brownback and U.S. Senator Pat Roberts won re-election over their radically pro-abortion challengers.

As officially reported by the Kansas Department of Health & Environment, the number of Kansas abortions dropped to 7,485 in 2013, from 7,598 in 2012 (2014 numbers aren’t available until March 2015). Many reasons can be attributed to the continued drop,  including the improved availability of informed consent information online and increased utilization of pregnancy care centers statewide.

  • No late-term abortions (after 22 weeks pregnancy) are allowed in Kansas due to a 2011 pro-life law acknowledging the unborn child’s ability to feel pain.
  • Abortions for sex-selection reasons are illegal.
  • Minors must secure two-parent consent to abortion.

Kansas is now down to three abortion clinics. The Kansas City Aid for Women abortion clinic closed abruptly at the end of July. It claimed the reason for the sudden closure was the retirement of its 73-year-old abortionist but this clinic was notorious for its string of abortionists with lengthy histories of malpractice cases and disciplinary actions issued by the state medical board. Not surprisingly, Aid for Women failed to attain a state-issued license in June 2011 after passage of the Kansas clinic licensure and regulation law– a pro-life law currently under legal challenge. The clinic admitted it would “have to gut the place” to be in compliance and thus Kansas women and unborn children are safer with the closing of this substandard clinic.

Kansas continues to successfully defend pro-life laws promoted by Kansans for Life.

A major pro-life legal win occurred in early May when Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri dropped its 2011 lawsuit in federal court. They had sued against the Kansas budget provision that prioritized federal family planning funds be given to public full-service clinics rather than “specialty” clinics like Planned Parenthood. After the state’s budget authority was upheld, Planned Parenthood’s already-failing “abortion-feeder”clinic in Hays closed its doors – showing that this clinic relied on government money to survive.

Just weeks ago, Planned Parenthood also backed out of another lawsuit, in federal court, just days before it was headed to trial.  At issue was their past refusal to obey a provision of the 2013 Pro-Life Protections Act that required that every abortion clinic website have a live link on their home page that connected to the state’s Woman’s Right to Know website. The law intends that there be “one-click access” to sonogram images and information about the development of the unborn child to anyone remotely, or directly, considering abortion.

This year the Hodes-Nauser abortion clinic also lost its legal block (an injunction in state district court) of the same weblink provision. All three abortion clinics are now compliant with that live link. Thus, the fourth success for defense attorneys under Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt in defending sound pro-life laws promoted by Kansans for Life.

ksbha logoAfter presentations Thursday from attorneys on both sides, the Kansas State Board of Healing Arts deferred a ruling on the matter of abortionist Kris Neuhaus, whose license they had revoked in 2012. Neuhaus wants to regain her license and not pay the original $93,000 in assessed court costs.

From 1999-2006, Neuhaus provided the legally-required “second-physician approval” for post-viability abortions performed by the now-deceased Wichita abortionist, George Tiller.

At issue were 11 such abortions in 2003, performed on teens in the third trimester. The Board issued license revocation for her failure to follow the standard of care in those cases.

Neuhaus won a reprieve of that revocation from Shawnee District Court Judge Franklin Theis, who ruled that –although her record-keeping was deficient–the revocation was too severe a penalty and the Board must revisit the case.

The Board met Thursday and allowed the public to hear the presentations from Neuhaus’ attorney, Bob Eye, and their own counsel, Reese Hays, as well as questions from Board members. At a few points, Neuhaus called out from the audience that she wanted to address the Board, and they permitted her a few  statements– which were promptly struck from the record as improper and irrelevant.

The Board then recessed to conference in private and then announced their decision would not be issued today.

Hays’ recommendation to the Board is that

Neuhaus is defiant, and cannot be rehabilitated.

He reminded that the 2003 case is Neuhaus’ “third strike” as the Board had disciplined her in 1999 and 2001 for similar record-keeping failures.

By her own admission, Neuhaus’ omission of essential information and assessments in the teen abortion files was intentional. It was even more egregious because, due to earlier misconduct, she was bound by a legal agreement with the Board to faithfully execute state regulations for patient charting.

Hays urged the Board to follow their own disciplinary guidelines, and include the “aggravating” factors that justified license revocation. That included the vulnerability of inexperienced and immature teens diagnosed with mental health problems but left without accurate medical files necessary to obtain proper follow-up medical care.

Neuhaus’ attorney, Bob Eye, hammered on the idea that Neuhaus wants to continue in the medical field and that her actions in 2003 were described as not “nefarious” by Judge Theis.

Board member, Anne Hodgdon, objected, asserting that the matter at hand was Neuhaus’ willful disobedience of the law and the Board.

plannedparenthood7As reported last Friday, Planned Parenthood of Kansas & Mid Missouri dropped the last of a three-part legal challenge to informed consent provisions of the 2013 Pro-life Protections Act. The Kansas Attorney General’s office issued a short statement today confirming the lawsuit had been dismissed.

In the “late Friday news dump”—the traditional method for circumventing news coverage of yet another failed abortion challenge—the first takeaway was that  there’d been a settlement.

After the news cycle was mostly finished on Friday, the Associated Press updated an earlier story to include that Elise Higgins, PPKMM spokeswoman, had said, “We voluntarily dismissed the case, and there was no settlement.” In addition, Laura McQuade, PPKMM president & CEO, stated, “We made the decision to focus our resources on expanding access to care for our patients in 2015.”

This famous “refocus our resources” line conveniently glosses over the truth that PPKMM was in the losing legal position and knew it.

Let’s remind ourselves of PPKMM’s typical bluster when they filed suit. Their June 20, 2013 press release huffed and puffed with outrage. The headline read, “Planned Parenthood Challenges Requirement that it Publicly Endorse State’s Anti-Abortion Ideology” and here were some talking points:

  • “Overreaching Law Undermines Doctor-Patient Relationship, Threatens Freedom of Speech for All Kansans”
  • “Governor [Sam] Brownback’s attempt to again inject politics into the relationship between a woman and her doctor will not stand.”
  • “vital state services are being slashed…while $759,000 [thus far] in taxpayer money [is spent to] defend anti-abortion bills”

Seems pretty extreme, if they could be believed. But what was the actual law they opposed?

Basically, it was an update to informational materials that Kansas enacted in 1997, following the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1992 Casey ruling recognizing the state’s right to provide “objective, nonjudgmental, and scientifically accurate” information to women considering an abortion. PPKMM’s suit was brought on three objections:

  1. the section of state pre-abortion materials that reads,”the abortion will terminate the life of a whole, separate, unique, living human being,”
  2. the section of state pre-abortion materials that includes a short paragraph about the unborn child’s pain-capability at 22 weeks gestation, and
  3. the requirement that a live link to pre-natal sonography (part of the state’s informed consent website) be positioned on the homepage of the clinic website.

The first two objections were quickly dropped within weeks, as they had been part of state materials in use for several years by all Kansas abortion clinics.

PPKMM’s resistance to placing a state weblink on their homepage, however, continued for well over another year, until the Friday before the big hearing was scheduled.

So why not battle it out in court? I think they knew they’d lose, and a court win [for the state] would have serious ramifications, i.e., it would propel similar pro-life protective laws in other states.

The fact is that case law upholds the right of government to regulate commerce. In the interest of consumer protection, the government already mandates warnings on toys, cigarette packs and takeoff instructions for airplane passengers. The list goes on. The required abortion clinic link for at issue is commercial regulation, not interference with free speech.

Planned Parenthood is a business. PPKMM admitted its primary business is abortion. The state of Kansas’ legal brief argued that the required link was “sensible commercial-disclosure requirements” aimed at “ensuring a decision that is mature and informed.”

Crucially, the state demolished PPKMM’s key defense — that they ALREADY had the link elsewhere on the website and that (horrors!) non-abortion clients would see the link if it were on the website home page. In response the state wrote:

“Links…that are planted deeper in the company’s website either will be missed or only will be seen by women once they have committed to going forward with the abortion procedure.
The homepage requirement aims to have the materials available while a woman is considering the question, “What should I do?”—not merely,“What do I need to bring to my abortion appointment?”

A.G.Schmidt

A.G. Schmidt

Great news! Planned Parenthood of Kansas & Mid-Missouri has withdrawn its challenge in federal court to a Kansas law requiring that its website homepage contain a live link to the Kansas Health Department “informed consent” information.

This concession happened at the eleventh hour, as a hearing was scheduled Monday in the court of Judge Kathryn Vratil. PPKMM technically has until Monday to refile, which is extremely unlikely.

PPKMM had refused to comply with the weblink law even after all other Kansas abortion clinics had complied and despite the fact that a separate challenge from the Hodes & Nauser abortion clinic collapsed in state district court this spring.

This is the fourth win for the legal team under Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt in defending sound pro-life laws promoted by Kansans for Life.

Kansas has required abortion clinics to provide access to state materials on prenatal development, abortion information and assistance for unplanned pregnancies since 1997. The required weblink at issue reads:

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment maintains a website containing information about the development of the unborn child, as well as video of sonogram images of the unborn child at various stages of development, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment`s website can be accessed here[womansrighttoknow.org].

The state’s defense was rock solid against PPKMM’s argument that the weblink was:

  1. a free speech infringement of PPKMM’s preferred narrative about pregnancy, and
  2. it didn’t belong on the homepage where other non-abortion clients might see it.

The state rebutted that the required link was a form of consumer protection and that the state had a right to alert women before they committed to abortion. From the state’s most recent filing (emphasis added):

“In the 1980s and 1990s, public access to the Internet was extremely limited. Few businesses or public institutions had websites. …In the face of these changes in technology and access, and in order to more effectively reach women as they are contemplating the weighty decision of whether to undergo an abortion, the Kansas Legislature enacted a law in 2013…that when a company is in the business of performing abortions and that company maintains a website, it must include a link on its homepage.”

More on Monday!

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