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Posts Tagged ‘A.G. Derek Schmidt’

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.

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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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Kansas wants PP defundedOn May 9th, Planned Parenthood of Kansas & Mid-Missouri (PPKMM) withdrew its litigation against the state of Kansas, challenging the state’s decision to send federal family planning funds to public full-service clinics.

This lawsuit was originally filed in June 2011 by PPKMM and landed in the court of U.S. District Judge Thomas Marten. It targeted a budget mandate that directs the state health department to award Federal Title X family planning contracts primarily to full service public health clinics. In this way, tax money subsidizes full-service healthcare for the indigent.

PPKMM won the first round in October 2011, but lost in the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals this March. The appeals panel ruled that Planned Parenthood lacked standing to pursue its claims in federal court, and that its

claim of a First Amendment violation lacked merit– about as resounding a defeat as you could get.

The defense team for the Kansas Attorney General, Derek Schmidt, argued Kansas had merely prioritized Title X recipients to be full-service in order to best effectuate the HHS Notice of Grant Award to Kansas. That itemized the priorities of Title X beyond family planning to include “overall health,” flu vaccinations, and mental health and social services.  PPKMM doesn’t offer those services.

Kansas has approximately 80 public health clinics as well as many other full service health outlets that can provide the elementary examinations, contraceptives and disease testing typically reimbursed under Title X.

Since 2009, the Kansas legislature has annually approved this prioritization of public clinics—the Kinzer/ Huelskamp amendment drafted by KFL; it had been vetoed by Governors Sebelius and Parkinson but approved in every budget under current Gov. Sam Brownback.

The Kansas budget provision on Title X does not mention abortion. Nonetheless, PPKMM objected that KDHE (the state health department) could not exclude abortion-connected clinics from Title X grants.

Marten bought into this abortion-bias argument and erroneously forced KDHE to direct approximately one million dollars over the past three years, mainly to Planned Parenthood of Kansas & Mid-Missouri. A small portion of that funding went to the now-defunct Dodge City Family Planning Clinic, which Marten had added to the initial complainants.

Kansas has again successfully defeated litigation from abortion interests—our second win, with 2 laws still under challenge.

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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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KFL logoAbortion-supporting groups continue to complain about the increasing life-protective laws passed in the states, particularly Kansas. The pro-abortion Guttmacher Institute places Kansas as number four in the nation (see map) among pro-life states– even as three of our bills from 2011 are not in effect yet due to delayed court action.

The achievement of strengthening Kansas as a pro-life state is due to the efforts of many, with Kansans for Life taking a leadership role.  For highlights of Kansans for Life 2013 activities, including educational and political action, see here. To donate, go here.

2013 PRO-LIFE LAWS
Gov. Sam Brownback signed three pro-life bills into law in 2013.

Senate Bill 142 [“Civil Rights for the Unborn”] allows lawsuits to be filed in civil court on behalf of the wrongful death of an unborn child at any time in gestation and  prohibits the filing of civil “wrongful birth” or “wrongful life” lawsuits seeking jackpot awards for parents who claim they would have aborted their disabled child had they known the of the condition prenatally. Recently, a jury in the state of Washington awarded $50 million dollars to parents because a laboratory did not detect a genetic defect. Such a lawsuit cannot be filed now in Kansas.

Senate Bill 199 establishes the exciting and first-of-its-kind Midwest Stem Cell Therapy Center at the University of Kansas, to increase the number of clinical grade stem cells available for use in patient treatments. The Center will create education modules for the public and medical personnel and create a global database resource for physicians and patients. Currently the only successful medical stem cell treatments are those using tissue sources such as blood, bone marrow and umbilical cords. The Center bars the use of any fetal or embryonic tissue cells, which are obtained through the destruction of unborn children.

House Bill 2253 [2013 Pro-Life Protections Act] was two years in the making, with extremist liberal media whining all along the way. HB 2253

  • strengthens medically accurate information made available prior to abortion from the state health department website;
  • bans all tax-funded payment for abortion,  tax breaks for abortion businesses;
  • forbids abortions for reason of sex-selection; and
  • declares that state public policy and budget priorities will reflect the fact that human life begins at conception, subject to U.S. Supreme Court rulings.

Planned Parenthood and the abortion clinic of Herb Hodes and Traci Nauser (both in Overland Park) have sued to block HB 2253’s new requirement that abortion clinics feature a link to state abortion information on the clinic’s website homepage. In addition, after failing to secure a legal injunction against the entire HB 2253, Hodes/Nauser attorneys did secure a block on one small provision in HB 2253 defining medical emergencies.

As usual, unable to win in the realm of public opinion, abortion interests run to the courts, hoping they will land activist judges to freeze laws from going into effect. That strategy did not work well for them this year.

The office of Attorney General Derek Schmidt is managing the defense teams for all challenged pro-life laws. We expect resolution in our favor, although the pace has been especially slow on the three lawsuits filed in 2011.

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A.G. Schmidt

Kansas pro-lifers got good news from a federal court May 18th: two Kansas city-area abortion clinics will have to pay their own attorney fees of over $220 thousand dollars without Kansas’ taxpayer reimbursement. Judge Carlos Marguia ruled the clinics had not “prevailed on the merits,” and thus did not qualify for state reimbursement.

Attorneys from the Center for Women’s Health (CWH) and Aid for Women (AFW) had been petitioning for state payment of their attorney fees incurred when the clinics filed to halt both the new state abortion facility licensure law and the provisional clinic regulations written by the Kansas health department (KDHE).

The clinics had sought a permanent injunction in a rushed proceeding July 1, 2011 in front of federal Judge Murguia, claiming irreparable harm would ensue if the law went into effect that day. Judge Murguia awarded only a temporary injunction, largely in order to “maintain the status quo” while issues moved forward.

In November 2011, KDHE issued permanent abortion facility regulations, using a slightly modified version of the original set. Both clinics dropped the federal lawsuit, but the injunction was retained and the lawsuit was refiled in state court by only one clinic CWH (the business of abortionists Herb Hodes and Traci Nauser).

The office of Attorney General Derek Schmidt had filed motions in opposition to paying all the abortion attorneys involved, arguing they were not entitled because such reimbursement is available for “claimants who had prevailed on the merits” in civil rights cases.  [Yes, this is a civil rights case because (hold your groans) one of the claims is that clinic regulation violates a woman’s civil right to obtain an abortion.]

Beyond ineligibility for reimbursement, the Attorney General claimed national and local abortion attorneys had inflated billable hours and wage rates to make a “windfall” off of Kansas taxpayers.  The irony is evident: abortion advocates have been complaining that the defense of pro-life laws is a wasteful depletion of the treasury, and then their own attorneys try to rip-off that same treasury!

Thankfully, that won’t happen at this juncture, due to the litigators working for the AG office.

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UPDATE, May 18:  Court denies abortion attorney fees.
Abortion supporters, including the Wichita Eagle editorial staff (here, here, here, here, and here and now here) take every opportunity to complain that Kansas tax money is being spent on litigation to uphold pro-life laws enacted in 2011. However, evidence now shows that it is actually abortion clinic attorneys who are trying to cheat taxpayers.

The most recent defense filing from the state of Kansas– in the lawsuit attacking a licensure law upheld in other states– is asking the court to deny any fee award to national and local attorneys for two abortion businesses:  the Center for Women’s Health and Aid for Women.

At issue is a “windfall” for clinic attorneys– according to the State– including over $78,000 for ineligible legal work as well as using indefensible attorney rates of $400 per hour.  All but one of the clinics’ attorneys lack ANY experience in this type of litigation, yet they charged nearly double what attorneys experienced in this specialty would charge- $225 per hour.

State attorneys (including the office of Attorney General Derek Schmidt) demonstrated how the court is being wrongly asked to pay (more…)

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Judge Marten

Judge Marten, upholds clinics, not state law

Today, federal Judge Thomas Marten unsurprisingly acquiesced to ACLU’s petition that the Dodge City Family Planning (DCFP) clinic join the Planned Parenthood lawsuit over Title X money distributed by the Kansas state health department.

The clinic wants immediate reinstatement of their prior Title X state contract for nearly $40,000 (plus attorney fees), and wants the state proviso declared void as violating the Supremacy Clause.

Marten has already awarded $58,000 to Planned Parenthood without a state contract and the state is appealing his rulings to the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Marten’s ruling today bristled at the state’s allegation that DCFP was ‘judge-shopping’, that is, piggy-backing onto a case where the judge is already favorably directing funding to clinics.

There’s no question this is an activist judge of whom the State legal team accuses of “emasculating” state sovereignty and repeatedly ruling in error about the legitimacy of the state funding proviso.

Marten defended the addition of the financially-failing DCFP clinic because “it was stripped of Title X funding essentially as collateral of the Kinzer Amendment’s redefinition of eligibility standards.…[and] asserts a Supremacy Clause claim similar to that advanced by plaintiff Planned Parenthood.” (more…)

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Activist Judge backs PPKMM

Planned Parenthood of Kansas Mid-Missouri (PPKMM) insists that they will be irreparably harmed without Kansas’ Title X contracts and Federal Judge Thomas Marten is backing them up.

The state of Kansas, in an Aug. 9 appeal brief, labels that claim of harm as “rank speculation” not deserving emergency relief from the court.

The state’s appeal asked Judge Marten to take back his injunction while the matter is in litigation, but– no surprise here– he denied the appeal in a ruling Wednesday.

The clock is ticking in this high-stakes matter because the federal HHS agency ordinarily requires all Title X family planning contracts to be finalized by Aug. 31. Late today, the Associated Press was reporting PPKMM wants to force the state of Kansas to turn over federal funds  immediately. (more…)

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Wichita federal Judge Thomas Marten was verbally raked over the coals for his “zeal to find a bad legislative motive,” causing him to get so many points of law just plain wrong when ruling in favor of Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri last Monday.

In the Kansas Attorney General’s appellate brief filed Tuesday in the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, the state seeks to immediately halt Judge Marten’s injunctive action against a new Kansas proviso restricting Title X family planning contracts.

The appeal stresses it’s impossible to find a direct –or even indirect—conflict between federal Title X law (that constrains only HHS) and the Kansas proviso prioritizing public health clinics as subcontractors. Judge Marten

“may not like the plain meaning, and may wish the statutes said something else, but they do not… it simply cannot be that the right to obtain abortion in certain limited circumstances, or even to advocate for abortion, trumps both federal and state spending authority, as well as the State’s sovereign immunity.”

Marten’s ruling was taken apart, point by point, in a 24-page brief penned by James Armstrong of the Foulston-Siefkin law firm, hired to handle this issue by state Attorney General Derek Schmidt.

Armstrong argues that Marten “added words” to the Title X federal statute and wrongly decreed (more…)

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