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Posts Tagged ‘Gov. Sam Brownback’

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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Sheryl Crosier and Gov. Brownback share a spontaneous hug after the official signing of Simon’s Law.

Appreciative parents, legislators and pro-life /pro-family advocates surrounded Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback this morning as he formally signed Simon’s Law.

Simon’s Law passed the Kansas Senate 29-9 on March 16 and the House by 121-3 on March 31. The victory culminated a grassroots campaign among families whose children with chromosomal disorders were denied life-saving care.

Simon’s Law is a very significant pro-life measure in the area of selectively “rationed” care and medical discrimination against children with life-limiting diagnoses. Simon’s Law:

  • validates both the medical advisory role and parental rights;
  • ends “secret” DNRs based on “quality of life” judgments;
  • buttresses dignity for children with disabilities;
  • exposes policies denying life-saving care; and
  • combats erosion of the Sanctity of Life ethic in our culture.

As catalogued in an award-winning 2014 short documentary, “Labeled,” a frightening number of children with chromosomal disorders are denied life-saving medical treatment.

Trisomy 18, Trisomy 13, and related genetic disorders have been routinely labeled “lethal” and “incompatible with life.” As a result, children with these conditions almost automatically receive DNR (Do Not Resuscitate) orders without parental consent.

That was the experience of Sheryl and Scott Crosier, who lost their infant son, Simon, six years ago.

Kansas pro-life legislators surround the Crosier family (left) as Gov. Brownback officially signs Simon’s Law with Frank & Ann Barnes at far right.

Simon had a diagnosis of Trisomy 18. At age three months, he had what proved to be a fatal apnea attack in the hospital.  While his parents held him, they waited in numbing shock as no emergency aid came to the rescue.

Later, Sheryl and Scott found that a DNR order was in Simon’s chart, which neither parent knew about nor approved.

After Simon’s death, Sheryl and Scott reviewed his chart and discovered Simon had only been given “comfort feeds” which are not sufficient for growth and development. He had also been given medications incompatible with his apnea. These revelations fueled their anger and their resolve to do something.

A LAW TO ALERT PARENTS
The Crosiers believed legislation was needed to

  1. stop the issuance of unilaterally-issued DNRs, and
  2. expose the practice of hospital futile care policies dictating scenarios in which life-saving treatment is withheld or withdrawn.

They began in Missouri in 2014, but certain medical interests were opposed and the measure has not yet been able to secure committee passage.

Kansans for Life  took up the original bill last year, and redrafted it with aid from NRLC’s Robert Powell Department for Medical Ethics. After an impressive win in the Kansas Senate, there was insufficient time for action in the House in the 2016 legislative session.

This year, the bill was refiled amid delicate negotiations between Kansans for Life  and hospital staff and hospital ethicists. The result was a more narrowly focused bill that was able to bridge entrenched medical objections.

The Crosiers approved the revisions and came to testify at the Statehouse with 12-year-old son Sean. The sadness and sense of betrayal of Simon’s death is still very real for them. Sean testified about how his excitement at being a “big brother” tuned into “pain and heartache” that still endures.

Parents of Trisomy kids rejoice in the signing of Simon’s Law

NATIONAL IMPACT
Frank and Ann Barnes from North Carolina also traveled to Topeka to celebrate the bill signing today. Their daughter Megan, was profiled last year in the NRLC News Today

Yes, Megan had limitations, but her mother described her as “content” and “knew she was loved.” At age nineteen, Megan was hospitalized for virus-caused dehydration, in a pediatric intensive care unit at a major teaching hospital. She was never to return home.

Due to her Trisomy 18 condition, a DNR had been verbally ordered into her chart by an “attending” physician without parental notice or consent. Megan was dead four days later.

Ann and Frank are actively involved with S.O.F.T., a nationwide family support group for Trisomy 13, Trisomy18, and related disorders. At today’s signing and press conference, Gov. Brownback invited them to talk about their daughter and the impact of her death.

As of July 1, Simon‘s Law in Kansas will mandate:

  1. Parents receive both written and verbal notification before a Do Not Resuscitate Order (DNR) is placed in a child’s medical file. Parents can then allow the order– or refuse it orally or in writing. Court access for disputes is delineated and the child remains safe during resolution.
  2. Parents and prospective patients of any age have the right to request and receive hospital policies concerning “denial of life-saving care” (sometimes referred to as medical futility policies). There is no mandate that hospitals have such policies.

See KFL Simon’s Law video here and more on the KFL youtube channel.

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The American College of Pediatricians has congratulated the Kansas legislature for the passage of Simon’s Law, “on behalf of our most vulnerable patients and their families.”

In a letter this week to Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback, the College’s president,  Dr. Michele A. Cretella, urged him to sign the first-in-the-nation bill, which is exactly what will happen Friday morning in a public ceremony in the Capitol at Topeka.

As a backdrop, she cites a Feb. 2014 article in the journal Pediatrics, for her assertion that, “Once inconceivable, the practice of hospital staff placing a do not resuscitate (DNR) order on a child’s chart without the informed consent of the child’s parents or legal guardian is on the rise.” (see more here)

Infant Simon Crosier with his brothers before his death by secret DNR

Dr. Cretella congratulates that, “Simon’s Law is designed to prevent this practice. It will guarantee parents their inalienable right to participate in the healthcare decisions of their children. The willingness of some physicians to circumvent the child’s and parent’s or guardian’s consent regarding disagreement over medical care is ethically concerning. This is because medical decision-making is increasingly predicated upon the ill-defined and subjective concept of ‘quality of life’.”

She continues, “While a life with one or more disabilities may be considered intolerable by some, there are many children and adults with one or more severe disabilities who believe otherwise, as do their families. A medical team of highly accomplished, able-bodied individuals that relies upon its subjective and imperfect prediction of a child’s potential quality of life in the future, as a basis for its decision-making, is likely to be biased against preserving the life of a disabled child. Allowing these medical teams to then force that biased view on a patients and his family via unilateral DNR, approaches the practice of euthanasia.”

This is the context of why Simon’s Law is a great step in reclaiming a cultural respect for the dignity of human life. Dr. Cretella explains,

“Simon’s Law acknowledges every human being’s inherent dignity and the fact that patients and their guardians– most especially parents of minors– have the right to know policies concerning the ‘denial of life-saving care’.”

Dr. Cretella

In conclusion, Dr. Cretella writes, “Moreover, the requirement that patients themselves and/or their parents or other legal guardian receive both written and verbal notification before a Do Not Resuscitate Order (DNR) is placed in a medical file respects the principles of beneficence, nonmaleficence, justice and autonomy.”

Kansans for Life appreciates the support for Simon’s Law from such a respected group… one that defines itself as designed “to promote a society in which all children, from the moment of their conception, are valued unselfishly.”

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Crosier family before Simon’s death

Kansans for Life’s top priority pro-life bill, Simon’s Law, has been sent to a receptive Gov. Sam Brownback for his signature.

Kudos goes to the tireless efforts of the Scott and Sheryl Crosier family for launching the grassroots campaign, in their infant son’s name, to enact a law which will save lives and solidify parental rights.

In final action Thursday, the Kansas House voted 121-3 in favor of Sub SB 85, Simon’s Law. The measure had already been approved 29-9 by the Senate two weeks ago, and requires:

  • Parents receive both written and verbal notification before a Do Not Resuscitate Order (DNR) is placed in a child’s medical file. Parents can then allow or refuse the order.
  • Parents and patients of any age, upon request, have the right to receive hospital policies concerning “denial of life-saving care” (sometimes referred to as medical futility policies). There is no mandate that hospitals have such policies.

Rep. John Whitmer (R-Wichita) carried Simon’s Law on the House floor with precision and in a heartfelt manner.  He recapped that Simon Crosier was a medically-fragile infant with Trisomy 18 whose death was caused by denial of resuscitation because a DNR was placed in his medical file –without his parents’ knowledge or consent.

Rep. Brim

Rep. Shelee Brim (R-Shawnee) was first up to speak in support of Sub SB 85 during House debate Wednesday. She referenced a close friend who had been urged to abort a child due to a “dire” diagnosis of anencephaly and spina bifida. Her friend refused and that ‘child’ is now twenty. In remarks committed to the House Journal, Rep. Brim said,

Little blessings like Simon may be on Earth for a matter of minutes, hours, or years. These vulnerable babies are not yet able to speak for themselves and I feel that their parents are their voices– NOT the doctors. We may not know the reason for the brevity of a baby’s life, but there is a reason. Simon’s life taught an important lesson and my hope is that we learn from this.”

Rep Dan Hawkins (R-Wichita), chairman of the House Health and Human Services Committee, commended the efforts to negotiate the final language with medical and disability experts and produce what is “not only a good bill, but a great one.”

Special thanks goes out to Representatives Kevin Jones (R-Wellsville) [see video] and Randy Powell (R-Olathe) [see video] who were the chief sponsors of the House bill, joining with 28 co-sponsors, including three practicing physicians. (See more Simon’s Law support videos here.)

Rep. Jacobs

Rep. Trevor Jacobs (R- Fort Scott) explained his vote in support of Simon’s Law,

I sincerely believe that one of government’s most essential and valuable responsibilities is to protect the life of its weakest and most vulnerable citizens, and that is the life of a child. In the Hebrew language, “Simon” means “to listen or to hear.” I have heard the cry for help and for justice [and] stand for the sanctity of life.”

Kansas stands alongside the Crosier family and other families who testified about victimization by medical discrimination and unilateral DNR placements. We hope other states are now encouraged to enact Simon’s Law.

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The governors and attorneys general of 22 states (including Kansas) have joined together to file an amicus curiae (friend of the court) brief to support Alabama’s ban on dismemberment abortions.

A temporary restraining order against Alabama’s Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act was issued in July 2016, one year after Kansas’ identical ban also was blocked, although the Kansas challenge is taking place in state, not federal, court.

Last Friday, the U.S. Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals received the joint “amicus” brief organized by Louisiana’s Attorney General. Included are six states which have passed this ban [Arkansas, Louisiana, Kansas, Mississippi, Oklahoma and West Virginia] and sixteen which have not [Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, Ohio, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, and Wisconsin].

Gov. Sam Brownback signs ‘first-in-nation” ban on
dismemberment abortion

This filing reminds that –as noted in the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2007 Gonzales ruling upholding the federal ban on partial-birth abortions– states have the right to pass abortion restrictions that (1) protect and foster respect for the unborn, and (2) regulate the medical profession as to judgment and ethics. Moreover, the amicus continues,

“the abortion method involved in this case is an exceptionally gruesome one, potentially even more so than the ‘partial-birth’ procedure at issue in Gonzales.”

ABORTION METHOD MISREPRESENTED
One method of abortion after the first trimester is induced labor abortions, done mostly in hospital settings. The child is prematurely delivered and dies.

Most other abortions obtained at that gestation are done surgically by “D&E,” in which the birth canal is dilated and the unborn child extracted.

The abortion industry defense of dismemberment abortions has been the claim that “D&E” is safe and used for 95% of second trimester abortions.

However, all D&E abortions are not being banned under the Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act, model legislation supported by NRLC and first enacted in Kansas.

Dismemberment abortions of still-living unborn children are a subset of D&E method

By design, this law bans only one specific method used upon a still-alive unborn baby. The law is defined as the tearing apart of an unborn child while still alive in the mother; a child who, in the words of U.S, Justice Anthony Kennedy, “dies just as a human adult or child would: It bleeds to death as it is torn limb from limb.” [Stenberg v. Carhart, dissent, 530 U.S. 914, 958-959]

To explain defending a law “requiring fetal demise before dismemberment,” the states authoring this brief insist they

do not intend to sanction abortion generally. They also regret being placed in the incongruous position as advocating for fetal death as a humane alternative to a procedure that should have no place in civilized society.”

ABORTIONISTS NOT FREE TO CHOOSE
States like Kansas that have enacted the dismemberment ban, have heard abortionists rely on the claim that because D&E abortions are “the most common,” that the state dare not ban them. But the state is not banning all D&E abortions, as noted above, a distinction that most media accounts resolutely miss. The multi-state amicus brief notes,

Kansas A.G. Derek Schmidt

“Even when some abortion providers consider a forbidden procedure to be medically preferable, the State’s reasonable resolution of the tradeoffs prevails. Abortion providers instead must work to find abortion methods that are more consistent with respect for life.”

Of course, the ultimate goal is for the Roe regime, and abortions, to end.

In the interim, it is promising that Kansas has emboldened 21 other states in supporting the federal appeal of the block on Alabama’s Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act. According to the amicus,

“By limiting the use of particularly ‘brutal’ abortion procedures, States further respect for life, both in society at large and in the medical profession in particular. They also protect women from the deep grief many of them are likely to feel if and when they later discover exactly how their unborn children were killed.

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Mary Wilkinson

Mary Wilkinson

Joe Patton

Joe Patton

Following a well-attended Rally for Life in Topeka on Jan. 23, KFL Board members, elected two new officers, one new executive board member, and re-elected several current executive board members.

Joe Patton, former state representative from Topeka, is the new president, replacing outgoing president, Lance Kinzer, and Mary Wilkinson, Wichita, is the new Vice-president.

Re-elected officers include Secretary, Marcia Roos, Iola and Greg Nance, Treasurer, Wichita. Joey Patton was newly elected as Educational Director. Other members of the Executive Committee were re-elected to their current positions.

State Executive Director, Mary Kay Culp, who works out of KFL’s Overland Park office, and State Development Director, David Gittrich, of the Wichita state office, and other organizational positions remain unchanged. In December, KFL hired Peter Northcott, Lawrence, as Assistant State Director.

Lance Kinzer, J.D. became President of KFL in January, 2015 after 10 years in the legislature spearheading major pro-life bills. He led the KFL organization as Kansas became the first state in the nation to pass the historic Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act and also guided our educational campaign against judicial activism.

Now, KFL welcomes Joe Patton, J.D., to the helm. In accepting the office, Patton said,

“Kansans for Life is one of the most effective and dynamic social action organizations in the nation. Our vision is serving God by protecting the foundation of all human rights, the right to life. It is an honor to serve.”

Patton is one of the original 1983 founders of Kansans for Life as the state affiliate of the National Right to Life Committee.

Joey Patton

Joey Patton

Peter Northcott

Peter Northcott

During his Statehouse tenure from 2007 until 2012 representing southwest Topeka, he helped achieve passage for various pro-life laws, including ending tax-funded abortion training at KU Medical Center. Patton led the House floor debate on the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which is in effect, and is daily saving unborn children –at 22 weeks gestation and upwards– from abortion in Kansas.

Mary Wilkinson, R.N., has long been involved in Kansas pro-life activism and service to KFL–  from large scale rally preparations to media relations. She organized the original Wichita affiliate, LIFE Inc., and is currently a member of the KFL Political Action Committee (KFL PAC).

Business administrator and author, Joey Patton, has been an intern with the National Right to Life Committee, one of the organizers of NRLC’s Teens for Life, and a frequent speaker for the pro-life cause.

Rally for Life 2017 Topeka

Rally for Life 2017 Topeka

2017 RALLY FOR LIFE

After leading Monday’s Rally March  downtown to the Capitol with the four Catholic bishops of Kansas, Gov. Sam Brownback addressed the nearly 2,000 participants. Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer also spoke to the crowd with a backdrop of pro-life legislators, many newly elected, standing on the south steps of the Capitol.

One of the freshman class, Rep. Susan Humphries (R-Wichita), had just finished remarks in the House, noting the 59 million innocent lives have been lost due to Roe v Wade (see pg. 97 of the House Journal here).

Rep. Susan Humphries

Rep. Susan Humphries

Sen. Mary Pilcher-Cook

Sen. Mary Pilcher-Cook

Veteran pro-life champion, State Senator Mary Pilcher-Cook (R-Shawnee) was also part of the legislative contingent on the steps. Later that day she introduced a proclamation recognizing the valuable contribution of the pregnancy assistance centers across Kansas (read on pg.67 of the Senate Journal here).

Also speaking at the Rally podium and at an afternoon workshop was Krystle Pauly, Wichita, advocating healthy birthing options for unborn children diagnosed with severe, life-limiting conditions.  Read more about Krystle’s testimony and perinatal hospice on the kfl.org website, here.

For more about the KFL 2017 Rally for Life, and Gov. Brownback’s challenge to the state Supreme Court not to invent a state “right” to abortion, please read this article at Lifenews.com.

To keep up with the exciting daily pro-life policy announcements and executive orders by new President Donald Trump, stay tuned to National Right to Life News Today.

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pp-bkgd-obamaThe Obama administration is slapping down every state that has acted on the idea that the federal Title X reproductive healthcare program was NOT created to bankroll Planned Parenthood.

A proposed new Health & Human Services(HHS) rule announced last week would nullify state eligibility thresholds (such as Kansas has) that prioritizes Title X grants to full-service medical facilities.

Created in 1970 to help the indigent and uninsured, Title X is federally-dispersed money designed to assist low income-qualifying women for non-abortion reproductive health services, including contraceptives and health screenings. In Kansas, Title X is distributed by the Kansas Department of Health & Environment (KDHE).

It is good stewardship for the state to allocate financial support to full-service public clinics and hospitals to provide the poor with the full range of well-woman care (not just gynecological services, but nutritional, cardio, mental health, etc.) as well as pediatric and geriatric care for women and men.

Beginning in 2007, Kansas legislators did just that. They annually passed the Huelskamp-Kinzer proviso, directing KDHE to prioritize Title X reproductive health care grants to full-service public clinics and hospitals.

Planned Parenthood cannot meet that criteria. It only offers a narrow range of exams and screenings and cannot provide mammograms, chest X-rays, and other essential medical evaluations.

The Huelskamp-Kinzer proviso was repeatedly vetoed by pro-abortion Kansas governors Sebelius and Parkinson until Gov. Sam Brownback’s first year in office, 2011, when it was approved. Planned Parenthood immediately sued.

A district court judge blocked the Huelskamp-Kinzer proviso and forced KDHE to continue to pay Planned Parenthood and another clinic roughly one million dollars during litigation. At the time of the ruling, Dr. Robert Moser, who was KDHE head in 2011, said

 “Title X was not intended to be an entitlement program for Planned Parenthood. Other providers are already offering a fuller spectrum of health care   for Kansas patients. This highly unusual ruling implies a private organization has a right to taxpayer subsidy. The people of Kansas disagree.” 

However, after Planned Parenthood lost its legal appeal in the Tenth Circuit  Court of Appeals, the Huelskamp-Kinzer proviso went into effect in mid-2014. (It was made a permanent law this spring.) The ruling held:

  1. that Planned Parenthood’s claim of a First Amendment violation lacked merit, and
  2. that Kansas could select mainstream, full-service health care providers as preferred grantees.

If the aim of Title X is truly to help the uninsured and indigent get disease screenings and full reproductive health care, Kansas’ priority of one-stop access at local comprehensive-care medical centers is the right model.

The new HHS proposal eliminates state authority. It should be opposed as an unabashed power play to send our tax-funded Title X money to the nation’s largest abortion business.

HHS is open to public input on the proposal through Oct. 7. Sign the KFL petition  to HHS today.

 

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