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KFL senior lobbyist Jeanne Gawdun congratulates Rep. Brunk, Hutchins & Rubin

KFL senior lobbyist Jeanne Gawdun congratulates Reps. Brunk, Hutchins & Rubin after SB 95 passage

Today by a vote of  98 -26, the Kansas House passed landmark pro-life legislation, Senate Bill 95,”The Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act.”

KFL Executive Director, Mary Kay Culp, thanked legislators for their diligence in tackling the issue and enacting a sound law crafted to withstand constitutional scrutiny that will stop a horrific procedure.

After the introduction of the bill in January by lead sponsor, Sen. Garrett Love (R-Montezuma), and 24 Senate co-sponsors, the bill generated immediate grass-roots support and passed the Kansas Senate, 31-9. SB 95 now heads to Gov. Sam Brownback, who has promised his signature.

SB 95 bans a particularly gruesome abortion method in which a living unborn child in her mother’s womb is ripped apart by an abortionist using sharp metal tools. In the words of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, the unborn child, “dies just as a human adult or child would: It bleeds to death as it is torn limb from limb.”[Stenberg v. Carhart, 530 U.S. 914, 958-959]

Model language for SB 95 was provided by the National Right to Life Committee, which made this bill its top state legislative priority. (see their press release here)

SB 95 was carried on the House floor by seasoned pro-lifer, Rep. Steve Brunk (R-Wichita), chair of the Federal & State Affairs committee which held the hearing on the measure. He was assisted on legal questions by another pro-life leader, Rep. John Rubin (R-Shawnee), chair of the Corrections & Juvenile Justice committee.

Pro-life Rep. Becky Hutchins (R-Holton) spoke up for the victim of dismemberment abortion, the “living” unborn child. Then she talked about the “three D’s” associated with such abortions, (depravity, devaluation, and desensitization) as admitted by former abortionist George Flesh:

“Tearing a developed fetus apart, limb by limb, is an act of depravity that society should not permit. We cannot afford such a devaluation of human life, nor the desensitization of medical personnel it requires.”

Once again, opponents of SB 95 talked about anything other than the contents of the bill, mostly complaining that more money should be spent on pregnancy prevention.

Perennial abortion supporter, Rep. Barb Bollier (R-Mission Hills), offered a poorly-worded and unneeded medical exception for “ruptured membranes before 24 weeks.” SB 95 already includes exceptions for the life-of–the-mother and substantial and irreversible physical emergencies.

BACKGROUND
In the 42 years since Roe v. Wade was handed down, the Supreme Court has consistently asserted that States have compelling interests in regulating abortion to preserve the integrity of the medical profession and show respect for the unborn child.

“States also have an interest in forbidding medical procedures which, in the State’s reasonable determination, might cause the medical profession or society as a whole to become insensitive, even disdainful, to life, including life in the human fetus.” [Stenberg v. Carhart, 530 U.S. 914, 961]

Although the Court (in the 2000 Stenberg v Carhart ruling) did not uphold Nebraska’s ban on partial-birth abortions, in 2007 it did uphold the federal ban on partial-birth abortions in Gonzales v. Carhart. In both Stenberg and Gonzales, the justices closely examined the gruesome methods of both partial-birth and D&E/ dismemberment abortions.

“Those who oppose abortion would agree, indeed would insist, that both procedures [partial-birth and D&E] are subject to the most severe moral condemnation, condemnation reserved for the most repulsive human conduct” [Stenberg v. Carhart, 530 U.S. 914, 963

In Stenberg Justice John Paul Stevens, an abortion supporter, compared partial-birth abortion to dismemberment abortion—not to oppose either but to make the case that if the state had an interest in preventing one, it also did in preventing the other. He wrote “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, also an abortion supporter, said in Gonzales that 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 simple truth is D&E dismemberment abortions are as brutal as the partial-birth abortion method, which is now illegal in the United States.

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Lt. Gov Colyer

Lt. Gov Colyer

The Kansas Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act, SB 95, passed out of the House Federal and State Affairs committee this morning.

The committee rejected a disingenuous 19 page amendment from pro-abortion Rep. John Wilson (D- Lawrence) and passed the bill 14-6 with two absent.

The House will take up the measure for a floor vote, possibly next week. The Senate has already passed the bill and Gov. Sam Brownback has promised to sign it.

Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer offered testimony in support of SB 95 on Monday, saying no issue in the 2015 session was more important than adhering to the sanctity of life.

“It is remarkable to think anyone could oppose prohibiting a tortuous act that literally dismembers an unborn child limb-by-limb. …just as in the case of partial birth abortion, even many of those who may consider themselves “pro-choice” cannot allow a gruesome procedure like dismemberment abortions to occur in our state.”

SB 95 bars the inhumane and nearly inconceivably painful D&E method of abortion in which the abortionist tears apart a living unborn child in the womb with sharp metal tools.

The legislation was provided by the National Right to Life Committee and tailored for Kansas. It takes into consideration some of the reasoning the U.S. Supreme Court used in 2007 in upholding a ban on partial-birth abortions. In Gonzales v. Carhart, the High Court said,
” the State may use its regulatory power to bar certain procedures and substitute others, all in furtherance of its legitimate interests in regulating the medical profession in order to promote respect for life, including life of the unborn.” (Gonzales v. Carhart, 550 U.S. 124, 158)

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Michael Schuttloffel

Michael Schuttloffel challenged SB 95 opponents

Senate Bill 95, the “Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act,” was the topic of the Kansas House Federal State Affairs committee this morning. But only pro-life proponents actually discussed the dismemberment abortion procedure in clear language while testimony from opponents neither mentioned the procedure by name or explained what takes place.

The measure has already passed the state Senate on a vote of 31-9.  Pro-life Gov. Sam Brownback (R) has promised to sign this bill. Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer, M.D. testified in person in support of SB 95.

Speaking in opposition to SB 95 were essentially the same few abortion defenders who came to the first hearing on the bill in the Senate. They were utterly bereft of meaningful testimony, including Elise Higgins, the lobbyist for Planned Parenthood and Julie Burkhart, Wichita abortion business owner.

Rather than talking  about what happens in a dismemberment abortion–  arms, legs, and other body parts are torn off a baby until she dies–the message of opponents was to allege that the bill tied abortionists’ hands from using the safest method and could lead to costly legal fees when the law is challenged in court.

They noted that Kansas has already paid over a million dollars defending pro-life laws but opponents of SB 95 failed to mention that Kansas has won all completed lawsuits and is narrowing the final two still in progress.

But there were two individuals today whose attitudes did not likely win the hearts and minds of committee members.

One wrote that she had needed to undergo repeated “D&C” procedures years ago.  (A D&C  is when a gynecologist scrapes the uterine walls.)

In oral testimony, she incorrectly charged that SB 95 would have prevented her from getting the treatment she needed. But a D&C is not an “D& E” which is an intentional grasping and ripping of body parts of the unborn child.

She wagged her finger at the committee, accused them of oppressing one gender (women), and lectured  them that the issue is too “private” for their consideration.

Actually, the U.S. Supreme Court, in consideration of the methods of partial-birth and dismemberment abortions,  has said that legislatures are the appropriate factfinders– and that if clear language is not used, the public is disserved!

Another witness told the committee that the state had no business creating laws that restricted abortion because “For some women, happiness and even basic survival is dependent on not having a child.”

The eugenic flavor of her comments prompted Rep. Jan Pauls (R-Hutchinson) to gently probe whether the witness was really advocating that babies were better off being aborted than being born into poverty?  The witness basically answered yes.

She also asserted that “this bill caters to a specific religious perspective on when life begins.” This dodge was predicted (and answered) in earlier comments that morning from Michael Schuttloffel, director of the Kansas Catholic Conference:

“[Abortion supporters regularly assert in these hearings that the humanity of the unborn] is a philosophical or religious question, not a scientific question. So I want someone to explain to us today the science of how this is NOT a human being. This unborn child is alive. She has arms, legs, her own heartbeat, her own brainwaves, her own blood, often a different blood type from the mother, and her own human DNA What is this– if it is not a human being?

I really think [opposing] legislators–before they vote against this bill –should go visit an abortion clinic and see the results of a dismemberment abortion. [After] the [abortionist] removes all of the pieces of the baby to make sure they haven’t left anything behind…”

At the close of her testimony, Burkhart did invite legislators to visit “her” clinic, saying she is “very proud of it.” Do you want to bet she shows visitors the facility and not the tray with dismembered baby parts?

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baby with dollarsThe periodic complaint/report on money spent to defend pro-life laws in Kansas was posted by the Associated Press Tuesday, part of the continuing mainstream media’s ‘framing’ that there are too many new pro-life laws with big legal price tags.

The first story was headed, “$1.2 million paid in attorney fees to defend anti-abortion laws.”

“To defend” seems like a hopeless challenge, doesn’t it? The truth is, the state has won all lawsuits concluded so far, as well as additional concessions in ongoing litigation!

Since not even one legal victory was mentioned in the story, I requested a correction. Kansans for Life asserted that the public has little interest in the names of the law firms, but rather deserves at least a hint of the results of their tax expenditures. A.P.’s updated story was reworded slightly to include that two laws had been “successfully defended.”

But beyond the frustrations of incomplete and inaccurate mainstream media reporting about abortion, it’s important to understand the context of those legal fees and why pro-lifers should not– and do not– fear passing sound laws.

Since his inauguration in January 2011, Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback has signed nine pro-life laws and four state budgets that include pro-life provisions. Subsequently, abortion interests have filed 10 legal challenges to three laws and one budget provision but Kansas is the big winner. Let’s examine the lawsuits in three segments.

KANSAS’ LEGAL WINS

1. Of the nearly $1.2 million total over four years’ time, $425,000 was expended opposing Planned Parenthood of Kansas-Mid Missouri. Kansas’ position prevailed in the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals after some very bad examples of judicial activism in the lower court. This necessitated high-powered legal skills.

U.S. Rep. Tim Huelskamp

U.S. Rep. Tim Huelskamp

Upheld was the Huelskamp-Kinzer provision to the annual Kansas budget. Instead of going to Planned Parenthood, nearly $400,000 in annual federal Title X family planning is now designated as prioritized to full-service public clinics and hospitals that serve the patients from infants through the aged, instead of going to the special interest businesses.

On balance, the cost was a good investment, when considering the legal fee is nearly recouped in one year’s time, and then every year after when the Title X money is renewed.  Not to mention that tax money is dedicated to true health care, not abortion referrals.

KFL President Lance Kinzer

KFL President Lance Kinzer, former House Judiciary chair

2. In 2011, Kansas passed a law preventing private healthcare dollars from automatically paying for elective abortions. To secure that victory cost $149,000 in legal fees. The plaintiffs (one a Planned Parenthood employee and one a N.O.W. lobbyist) dropped their suit in May 2012, before the trial began.

It’s hard to estimate overall cost benefits in this one, but clearly the win goes to employers who don’t have to compromise their conscience by providing employee insurance that would be used for abortions, and lessening the amount available to cover bona fide employee medical needs. The victory also helps rebut activists’ demand that abortion be “mainstreamed” into medicine.

3. The remaining $620,000 of the $1.2 million in legal expenses has been used to deal with a variety of attempted injunctions and lawsuits against two laws (a clinic licensure law and an “omnibus” law covering a variety of restrictions).

During extensive and ongoing negotiations, Kansas’ extremely knowledgeable attorneys forced the abortion team to abandon some of their initial challenges, including opposition to informed consent materials about the humanity and pain-capability of the unborn.

These are important concessions that contribute to the overall national field of abortion litigation. Once a claim is rescinded in one court, it carries possible precedential weight in other courts.

In 2011, Kansas enacted a long-sought abortion clinic law initiating state licensure, inspection, and injury reporting. It also required abortionists to have local hospital privileges and banned “webcam” abortions.

Two Kansas City-area abortion clinics sued in federal court. When they lost their bid for a temporary injunction in federal court, they tried to charge Kansas $220,000 for 6 weeks’ legal work! (That makes the 3 year fee of $425,000 in item #1 look like a steal by comparison!) But Kansas’ defense lawyers prevailed and the abortion attorneys did not get that money.

Unfortunately, an activist state court did block the licensure law on behalf of the abortion father-daughter duo doing business as the Center for Women’s Health. After a long stall, the lawsuit against the licensure law is now moving on a fast track. The state of Kansas has asked the judge to rule out three claims of equal protection infringement, as questions of law.

In 2013, Kansas passed the Pro-Life Protections Act which removed tax advantages for abortionists, updated informed consent statutes and initiated a ban on sex-selection abortions. The same abortionist duo suing the licensure law also sued this law, and secured a temporary injunction on emergency and weblink provisions. Planned Parenthood also worked to get an injunction in federal court on the weblink requirement.

Kansas prevailed in getting both injunctions dissolved, forcing all clinics to post a link to state materials about gestation. Our talented defense lawyers won the first claim against the suit challenging the entire Pro-Life Protections law and further litigation is proceeding in district court.

Legal victories come at some cost, but what price is there for saving unborn children?

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rally dismemberment signPro-life Gov. Sam Brownback, with a backdrop of 40 pro-life legislators at Kansans for Life’s annual Rally for Life Thursday, said he was anxious to sign the newly proposed Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act.

Approximately 1,500 rally attendees welcomed the news, having marched one half mile together to the Capitol in Topeka with a variety of pro-life posters and banners, including

the newest sign, ‘Stop dismembering unborn babies.’

The crowd was dominated by students, some local, but most bussed in from Hays, Dodge City, Great Bend, Wichita, Leavenworth, Pittsburg, and Kansas City.

Simultaneous with the Rally for Life, President Obama was speaking at the University of Kansas (KU) in Lawrence.  Gage Shirley, part of Rally attendees from the St. Lawrence Catholic Center at KU, told KSNT News reporter, Tyler Carter, “Regardless of him being at our campus or not, we are still coming on the anniversary of Roe v Wade to be fighting for the right to life for the unborn.”

Also speaking at the Rally was Kansas Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer, urging protection for unborn children targeted for abortion because they have been diagnosed in the womb with grave medical disabilities. Dr. Colyer is a plastic surgeon who has used his medical skills to correct many different physical disfigurements. Despite the existence of medical challenges in the womb or at at the end of life, Dr. Colyer said,”we need to tell the world that life rocks,” and he led the crowd in rousing chants of, “Life rocks, Life rocks!”

State Sen. Garrett Love, R-Montezuma, addressed the Rally as lead sponsor of the new bill to ban dismemberment. He was introduced as having the title of the youngest Kansan ever elected to the state Senate, but he said his favorite title now is that of ‘dad’. He recounted viewing 11-week and 18-week ultrasounds of his new daughter, Abigail, and seeing her fingers and toes and how she was so active even then.

Dismemberment abortions are the standard method of abortion between 13-22 weeks gestation in Kansas. 578 such abortions were recorded as performed in this state in 2013.

Sen. Love told attendees, “Protecting the most defenseless among us has always been a passion for me, and dismemberment is a particularly gruesome type of abortion.”

The Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act will be formally introduced next week with numerous cosponsors.

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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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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?”

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