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Posts Tagged ‘DISCLOSE act’

Gov. Brownback signs pro-life Disclose Act

Today, Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback signed Senate Bill 83, the DISCLOSE ACT, into law. He told the assembled audience,

“The dignity of life and the inherent right to life is shared by all people, both born and unborn. The complexities surrounding countless crisis pregnancies are many and varied. Too often women are led to believe that abortion is their only option when it clearly, clearly is not. Regardless of a woman’s ultimate decision regarding abortion, she has a right to know about the provider and their medical qualifications.

The Disclose Act is an important update to the state’s 1997 Woman’s Right to Know Act that dictates basic professional information required on abortion informed consent documents. It passed the Senate 25-15 and the House 84-38. The bill had many sponsors in both chambers, and the strong support of the three practicing physicians who are state reps.

The Disclose Act is a response to the fact Kansas abortion clinics minimize and undermine state-required information they find unfavorable to the abortion sale.

During debate about SB 83, pro-life Senators committed their support of SB 83 into the formal record:

“Before this legislation in Kansas, there was no way for women to know when a clinic had a 100% turnover of their staff in 3 years, or about the recent hire of a 76-year-old neurologist that would give abortions but has not had ob-gyn training, or many other various issues that could endanger their health…. Because of the nature of abortion, however, which causes women to want privacy for a variety of reasons, women need ready access to this information to make the best decisions for their care.”

Specifically, SB 83 requires that professional data for each abortionist be listed on the consent form, including:

  • any negative disciplinary actions from the State Healing Arts Board,
  • state of residency,
  • year medical degree attained,
  • when employment at this clinic began,
  • status of local hospital privileges,
  • malpractice insurance.

Abortions in Kansas are mostly obtained with only an email or phone contact; no medical referral or office visit is required. 65% of abortions in Kansas are being obtained for the first time, meaning those women have no concept of the procedure or knowledge of the skill of the practitioners.

Moreover, in Kansas, women don’t “choose” an abortionist; they are assigned one. In fact, contrary to legislative intent, women are instructed to download the clinic form at home and sign “consent” to a list of all potential abortionists on staff.

CLINICS BURY DISFAVORED INFO
Kansas abortion clinics all design their online consent forms with the sections of state-required data that they deem unfavorable formatted in reduced font size and hard-to-read ink color. This is in addition to negative comments about the validity of the required information.

At least one clinic alters the legal wording of a state-required live link to the state Health Department and buries it amidst pages of clinic information instead of placing it on the clinic website home page!

The Media Research Center reported yesterday that the Disclose Act,

“will give women more information on the doctors about to perform their abortion procedures…but the new regulation has inspired a leftist freak-out…obsessed with the bill’s font size requirement. It makes total sense that the state [legislature] would require a specific font size in order to prevent providers from trying to circumvent the law by using minute, unreadable lettering. If the purpose of the bill is to ensure women are able to make an informed decision, it needs to make sure the women are actually informed (i.e. they can read the information they are given).”

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Votes in both chambers are imminent for the Disclose Act– an update of the 1997 Kansas “Woman’s Right to Know Act.”

The Disclose Act addresses the reality that 65% of Kansas abortions are “first-time” events, with the great majority of women knowing NOTHING about the procedure or the abortionist—much less his/her training, skill, or access to hospital facilities for a mishap.

Women are unaware of the following situations in Kansas:

  1. One clinic has had 100% turnover of their abortionist staff in 3 years; their current Kansas-resident practitioner agreed not to practice ob/gyn, under a State Board of Healing Arts disciplinary action.
  2. One clinic has recently hired a 76-year-old neurologist without ob/gyn formal training to do abortions.
  3. One clinic requires an overnight hotel visit for “2-day abortion procedures” and falsely labels the stay as “required under Kansas law.”

Kansans for Life has been told that, notwithstanding the state Board of Healing Arts’ “appreciating” our concerns for women, they will take no action for the above situations.

Yet abortion attorney Bob Eye told House and Senate committees this year that the Board insures abortionists meet rigorous standards and women therefore need not be told any professional data about them!

ABORTIONS ARRANGED ONLINE
All Kansas abortion businesses have individualized “informed consent” documents required to be downloaded 24 hours prior to the woman’s trip to the abortion clinic. The great majority of women obtaining Kansas abortions will be in the facility only on the day of the abortion, and nearly half of them are residents of another state.

The current abortion online consent documents fail to fully meet what the legislature has decreed for informed consent; instead, the clinics are:

  • using various formatting and fonts to downplay important state-required information and
  • undermining the requirement that each woman is giving consent to ONE specific practitioner –not a list of possibles.

KFL’s priority, the Disclose Act , (now renumbered as S sub SB 83) will help remedy these deficiencies; abortion business compliance will merely require a few minutes of one-time data entry. (see post here)

The Disclose Act will require

  1. the Kansas informed consent provisions be printed out in 12pt. black ink, Times Roman font, which is nationally recognized for readability, and
  2. seven “bullet points” of information be given for each listed abortionist.

Kansas “Voices for Choice” current abortion lobbying materials characterize the Disclose Act as “intended to undermine the confidence” in the abortionists whom the women can “get to know…when they meet with him/her 30 minutes before the abortion.”

Are they serious? (Pause for eye-rolling.)

Women contemplating elective abortion assume that Kansas regulators protect them from disqualified and/or untrained abortionists. Since that isn’t the case, women deserve passage of the Disclose Act.

On Thursday afternoon, the Disclose Act became part of a “conference committee report” process headed for votes in both chambers over the next few days.

ACTION ITEM: Contact your State Rep and Senator TODAY to urge passage of the Disclose Act, S sub SB 83. (Use this link if you don’t remember who your legislators are.)

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Neurologist Bettinger at PP

Kansas has a history of abortionists lacking formal training in obstetrics & gynecology, and abortion clinics have kept women in the dark about that.

Even now, with Kansas abortion clinics posting their abortion admission/consent forms online, they have not been including profile data on their abortionists on that form.  Knowing zilch about the abortionist contradicts the intent of full “consent.”

Kansas abortion clinic websites (except one very newly updated site) give no inkling of

  • the abortionists’ ages (five of the eight Kansas providers are over age 74)
  • or training (or lack of it).

For example, the Planned Parenthood business in Overland Park, Kansas, has recently begun listing a 76-year-old neurologist/psychiatrist, Irene E. Bettinger, on their online abortion consent form.

Bettinger received a medical degree 51 years ago. It’s anyone’s guess why she’s begun doing abortions. There was no news release found about Bettinger, or her qualifications for abortion provision. Perhaps she’s getting “on the job” training from Planned Parenthood’s other two abortionists, 76-year-old Ron Yeomans and 75-year-old Orrin Moore.

Abortionists Yeomans & Moore

In 2005, Bettinger testified against a pro-life bill in Kansas designed to protect teens from rapists coercing them into abortion. She has financially contributed to Planned Parenthood. But that is incidental to the fact that Planned Parenthood has decided she will be their provider.

Women searching for information online about Kansas abortion clinics only learn what the businesses want them to know.

Abortions in Kansas are contracted with one phone call or email contact. The Kansas Board of Healing Arts website can be searched to find some data on licensees, but there is no information on malpractice suits filed, the state where the abortionist actually resides, or the length of time they have been employed by the clinic.

The Kansas abortion consent forms (all online) are statutorily intended to be a “contract” verifying that the woman is fully informed about “her” provider, the exact abortion method to be used, medical risks, and the developmental characteristics of her unborn child.

The current abortion consent forms are not personalized, specific fact-based contracts.  They name all the staff abortionists, leaving each woman guessing whether she is stuck with someone who

  • is very inexperienced –or long past retirement;
  • has merited– or been stripped of– hospital privileges; and
  • is only in Kansas a few hours per month for abortions and not available for complications.

A KFL priority bill, the Disclose Act, HB 2319, was passed by the Kansas House 87-37 on March 30. An identical companion Senate version, Disclose Act, SB 98, awaits a vote in the Senate after they return from their recess in three weeks. The Disclose Act requires seven bullet points of data for each staff abortionist be itemized on the consent form.

Women should be given all relevant medical information before weighing an abortion decision, as well as a list of the free maternity support services in Kansas. The Woman’s Right to Know website provides this information and state law says that abortion clinics must post “an easily identifiable link” to that site on the clinic’s “home page.”

But that is not happening!  One abortion business has no state link on the home page and the other clinics drastically reduce the link’s type size and use light grey ink so it’s barely visible, or readable, much less “easily identifiable.”

Abortion clinic websites that are not correctly following Kansas law to help inform women are at the same time withholding the most elementary and pertinent information about their staff practitioners.

That needs to change.

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For Kansas pro-lifers, being at the state capital today was better than a double-header at Royals stadium: two priority pro-life bills were passed on provisional votes.

First, the House gave unanimous approval to Simon’s Law, which had already passed the Senate, 29-9-2, and is gliding toward Gov. Sam Brownback’s signature.

State reps then turned to debate and provisionally passed the Disclose Act, HB 2319, by a vote of 85-38-2. An identical version of the Disclose Act (SB 98) has awaited Senate floor action for a month.

Rep. Susan Humphries

Rep. Susan Humphries (R-Wichita) expertly explained that informed consent for abortion is controlled by the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1992 Casey ruling. Kansas’ response was enacting the  1997 informed consent statutes, called the Woman’s Right to Know Act.

The Disclose Act is a very narrowly tailored update that advances “transparency” in decision-making for non-emergency, elective abortions.

Since the great majority of abortions in Kansas are now transacted with a single phone call or email, the Disclose Act requires seven basic “bullet points” of information about each abortionist be listed on the consent form.

Kansas abortion businesses are playing fast and loose with their online forms as far as “fine print.” Humphries stated the context of this bill is the “poor performance” of Kansas clinics when implementing simple state mandates, as when they publish a required link to the Kansas Health Department–but do so in reduced type in light grey ink.

OPPONENTS WEAK
Two hostile amendments by perennial abortion supporters were offered and failed. The first, by Rep. John Wilson (D-Lawrence) wanted to remove the typeface, ink and background requirement, which the clinics have brought on themselves by their past bad acts. The amendment failed on voice vote.

The second amendment, by Rep. Annie Kuether (D-Topeka), claimed that all state-licensed physicians should also have these disclosures on various surgery consent forms. She ignored the reality that with abortion there is almost never any existing patient/physician relationship.

Abortion is not just “another medical procedure” like knee surgery or skin biopsy, as Rep. Kuether portrayed.

Rep. Eric Smith

Rep. Eric Smith (R-Burlington) pointed out that what abortion supporters try to gloss over is that a second life, the baby, is involved in each abortion.

The Kuether amendment failed 41-84.

Supporting the pro-abortion amendment were five Republicans [Stephanie Clayton (Overland Park), Linda Gallagher (Lenexa) Melissa Rooker (Fairway) Tom Sloan (Lawrence), Susie Swanson (Clay Center)] and all Democrats except four.

The four Democrats who voted pro-life were: John Alcala (Topeka), Henry Helgerson (Eastborough), Adam Lusker (Frontenac), and Vic Miller (Topeka).

During debate, assistance for defense of the Disclose Act came from Shelee Brim (R-Shawnee), Pete DeGraaf (R-Mulvane), John Eplee, M.D. (R-Atchison), Greg Lakin, D.O. (R-Wichita), Les Osterman (R-Wichita), Abraham Rafie, M.D. (R-Overland Park), Scott Schwab (R-Olathe), and Chuck Weber (R-Wichita).

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Rep. Humphries

Rep. Weber

Members of the Kansas House Federal & State Affairs committee heard testimony Tuesday on the DISCLOSE ACT, HB 2319, which requires that clinics list some basic professional information about staff abortionists .

For context, in Kansas, the abortion transaction is largely contracted online. After a call or email contact to the clinic, a woman is instructed to download the clinic consent form, time-stamped at least than 24 hours before the abortion.

By law, the form must include reference to the state Woman’s Right to Know website— with extensive information including a list of Kansas pregnancy assistance centers and an interactive website about gestational development.

What remains hidden from the woman when she “signs” the consent, is information about who specifically will be doing the abortion.Instead, the clinic lists the names of their staff abortionists, without adding one shred of basic professional data about them.

The woman contemplating an abortion in any Kansas clinic is unaware that

some of the abortionists commute from outside Kansas, 3-7 hours driving distance, to reach the clinic –where they don’t have local hospital privileges.

The attorney for the South Wind abortion business, Bob Eye, discounted hospital privileges as “not advancing women’s health.”

He was rebutted by Rep Susan Humphries (R-Wichita) who said that — just using abortion proponents’ assertion that only 1% of women are hospitalized after abortion–  is enough of a consideration to be a valid health concern for women. In Kansas, 1% would be 69 women of an annual total of 6,941 abortions in 2015.

For elective medical procedures in contexts other than abortion, the patient can easily learn about a practitioner from word of mouth and visits to medical offices. This is not what is happening for abortion. Rep. Chuck Weber (R-Wichita) remarked that women considering abortion should not be denied relevant information, leaving them to rely on “Google.”

CHairman Barker

Chairman Barker

Rep. Whitmer

Rep. John Whitmer (R-Wichita) described the goal of the DISCLOSE ACT as transparency, and asked the Planned Parenthood lobbyist, Elise Higgins, “what are abortion clinics trying to hide?” She replied “nothing” yet went on to decry the bill as aiming to “undermine confidence in highly qualified physicians.”

Perhaps Higgins was trying to deflect from the fact that some women may question why “highly qualified” physicians find themselves at age 75 and 76 driving long-distances to perform abortions for Planned Parenthood.

The House Federal and State Affairs Chairman, John Barker (R-Abilene), did not announce when the bill will be voted upon.

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Sen LaTurner

Fed-State Chair Jacob LaTurner

Should Kansas abortion clinics continue to deny basic data about their abortionists from women considering abortion?

The Kansas Senate Federal State Affairs committee said “no!” to that on Wednesday morning.

With only the ranking minority and the two newest senators in opposition, the committee passed SB 98/ the DISCLOSE ACT. Committee chairman, Sen. Jacob LaTurner (R-Pittsburg) said he expects it will likely be voted on by the full Senate next week.

SB 98, the DISCLOSE ACT, updates the 1997 Kansas Woman’s Right to Know statutes by requiring that the abortion consent form reveal a few essentials about each abortionist, including year of medical degree, state residency, and whether he/she has local hospital privileges.

Women in Kansas considering abortion are completely in the dark about the practitioner that will be assigned to them by the abortion clinic. Kansas abortion appointments are made with a single phone call or email contact.

Paperwork designed by each clinic that supposedly covers the legal requirements of informed consent is available online. But the clinics’ consent forms really do not properly embody the intent of the Woman’s Right to Know law when they list all staff abortionists and have the woman estimate her gestational age.

Sen. Rob Olson

Sen. Rob Olson

Some of the data about Kansas physicians in the DISCLOSE ACT  can be found– with diligent effort –on the state website of the Kansas Board of Healing Arts. Too bad that the Board uses only half of the categories recommended by The Federation of State Medical Boards for physician profiling (see: here and here)

Pro-abortion testimony in Tuesday’s hearing showed grave ignorance of the principles of voluntary and fully informed consent. Testimony generally whined that the proposed simple disclosures were “unnecessary”, “absurd”, “redundant” and “prejudicial.” Poppycock.

WOMAN, NOT CLINIC TO CHOOSE INFO
A woman has a complete right to choose her physician by balancing factors she considers relevant in the abortion context. These include a practitioner’s gender, age, training, skill (or lack of it), length of time he/she has been working at that clinic, and whether he/she can participate in possible emergencies at the hospital.

The Kansas abortion clinics may indeed be embarrassed to disclose information that shows:

  • four of the seven Kansas abortionists are 75-78 years of age;
  • four (or fewer) of the seven have local hospital privileges;
  • one clinic has had 100% turnover in abortionists in only 3 years;
  • one abortionist was told by the Healing Arts Board not to practice ob/gyn.

Abortion consent forms under existent statute KSA 65-6710(b) must be printed in a typeface large enough to be clearly legible.

Kansas abortion clinics, however, have been playing games with the forms as to font sizes and colors and inserting opinion statements meant to undermine the mandated facts. That forced SB 98 to insure that the disclosures are in 12 pt. Black ink, Times New Roman font. To remedy potential mischief of black type on black background, Sen. Rob Olson (R-Olathe) amended SB 98 to insure the form prints out on white paper.

Read more about the new SB 98 here.

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Sen. Molly Baumgartner

Sen. Molly Baumgartner

The empty rhetoric of choice is being challenged in Kansas with the DISCLOSE ACT, Senate Bill 98. The bill, sponsored by Sen. Molly Baumgartner (R-Louisburg), with 19 other Senate co-sponsors, would for the first time, require clinics to disclose baseline data about each Kansas abortionist they employ.

A companion bill in the House will be introduced shortly with a strong number of co-sponsors.

On Tuesday morning, the Senate Federal and State Affairs committee holds the first hearing on this topic. KFL will present the lead testimony on why this bill is needed, backed up with medical and legal testimony about the right to full disclosure for valid informed consent.

Under SB 98, the DISCLOSE ACT, the very first item on the abortion consent form will be expanded to provide a checklist for each practitioner as to:

  • Kansas residency,
  • medical degree year,
  • years employed at that location,
  • hospital privileges status,
  • malpractice coverage, and disciplinary actions completed by the State Board of Healing Arts (which regulates physicians).

The clinics can very easily add this information to their online admission forms.

The U.S. Supreme Court key ruling on informed consent, Planned Parenthood v. Casey (1992), acknowledged that the state can enact regulations to ensure that a woman’s choice was “thoughtful and informed.”(Casey at 916)

Kansas City-area litigation attorney Jonathan Whitehead asserts that while the law, medicine and technology have advanced, the Kansas 1997 Woman’s Right to Know statute has stayed relatively the same.

“Disclosures provided to women in Kansas have moved from leading edge to obsolete. SB 98 responds to that by requiring specific information about the provider(s) to be given to women in a legible format, at least 24 hours prior to any non-emergency abortion.”

Currently, all Kansas abortion consent forms are available online, and a copy of the form, printed out with a time-stamp at least 24 hours prior to the abortion, must be brought with the woman to the clinic.

However, all Kansas abortion businesses are not obeying the Woman’s Right to Know provision that the woman be given the identity of the one specific physician scheduled for her abortion. Instead, for convenience, the abortion clinics list ALL the abortionists on staff.

So the woman cannot “choose” the abortionist, nor can she evaluate if that practitioner is acceptable to her. She has no idea of the abortionist’s training, age, and professional reliability. There are no yellow pages of “abortion providers” –locally or nationally–as there are for heart surgeons, pediatricians, etc.

This information stranglehold is not faced in any other elective procedure. Personal recommendations and online research have become part of the way physicians are selected. A patient’s choice of surgeon, for example, may well preclude even the substitution of the physician’s partners.

But not in the abortion context; what the abortion clinic dictates is what controls.

Yet that conflicts with consent that is truly voluntary and fully informed. Topeka physician and director of Mary’s Choices pregnancy resource center, Dr. Melissa Colbern, explains that the decision-making capability of so many women navigating an unplanned pregnancy is already impaired by stress.

These women should have ready-access to information regarding physicians working in the abortion clinics, [including] licensing, hospital privileges, and medical board disciplinary actions. I counsel women in crisis pregnancies …that they should ask for this information and, in fact, have a right to this information.” 

Ideally, a woman considering abortion in Kansas will take advantage of the state-provided videos of gestational development and consider obtaining a free ultrasound at one of the numerous state-wide pregnancy resource centers. Ideally she will take serious time to reflect on her options.

But, at least she should have baseline professional information about practitioners disclosed on the consent form.

We’ll see how Kansas abortion businesses react to this eminently reasonable measure. Any guesses?

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