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Posts Tagged ‘Gov. Sam Brownback’

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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Huelskamp

Huelskamp

Jenkins

Jenkins

Yoder

Yoder

Kansas pro-lifers no doubt truly relished this Thanksgiving holiday after the unusually hard-fought election season. Kansas strengthened and increased its pro-life representation. No Kansas candidates supported by Planned Parenthood’s political action group won any federal or state-wide offices and all of those offices are held by pro-lifers. Returning to Congress to battle abortion and health-care rationing in Obamacare are pro-life Republicans Tim Huelskamp (#1), Lynn Jenkins (#2), Kevin Yoder (#3), and Mike Pompeo (#4).

Pompeo

Pompeo

Roberts

Roberts

The nation was especially focused on the U.S. Senate race, where incumbent pro-life leader Pat Roberts surprised the pundits with a come-from-behind 10-point win over upstart multi-millionaire “independent” Greg Orman. In debate, Orman said we need to “get past” the abortion issue and apparently Kansans don’t respond well to that sentiment!

Schmidt

Schmidt

Kobach

Kobach

Estes

Estes

Selzer

Selzer

All state-wide office holders are also pro-life Republicans. Attorney General Derek Schmidt, Secretary of State Kris Kobach, and Treasurer Ron Estes were returned to office handily. After winning the primary among 4 pro-life candidates, political newcomer Ken Selzer won the general election race for Insurance Commissioner.

Brownback & Colyer

Brownback & Colyer

In the governor’s race, the largest factor at play was the attempt of pro-abortion Republican politicians to take down the pro-life Brownback administration. Some national commentators seemed surprised that a group of ex-GOP politicians publicly supported Democrat challenger, Paul Davis, but we weren’t. Nearly all of these “republicans for Davis” claiming to be “traditional” and to espouse “Kansas values” were pro-abortion.

Authentic Kansans wouldn’t support, as Governor, a politician like Davis who had voted EIGHTY times against pro-life measures as a state rep! Though pollsters largely predicted the incumbents would lose,  the Sam Brownback / Jeff Colyer team pulled off a sweet victory, beating the Paul Davis / Jill Docking challengers by 4 points.

HOUSE ADDS PRO-LIFERS
The Kansas Senate was not up for re-election and the Kansas House strengthened its pro-life super majority. The GOP holds 97 seats, of which 91 (94%) are pro-life. Democrats have 28 seats and only 3 (11%) are pro-life.

In the general election, 49 House reps faced no challenger.  KFL-backed candidates won 94 of 125 House rep races, including 3 races with a vote difference under 60.

Planned Parenthood’s candidates lost 25 Kansas House races, including three incumbents.

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KFL exec.Director Mary Kay Culp celebrates with Se.Roberts Tues. night

KFL Exec. Director Mary Kay Culp congratulated Sen.Roberts Tues. night

All eyes turned to “reliably red” Kansas in October for reasons no pro-lifer wanted. Polls indicated the campaigns of both our pro-life U.S. Senator Pat Roberts and our pro-life Governor Sam Brownback were surprisingly struggling.

Already active, pro-lifers brought their far-flung efforts to a whole new level, determined to turn that around. Last night those immense efforts paid off. First, a quick summary.

  • Expected to either lose or win by a hair, pro-life stalwart Roberts, in fact, pulled off a sweet and convincing 53%-43% victory over pro-abortion “independent” challenger Greg Orman. Roberts’ re-election was crucial to taking control of the United States Senate out of the hands of pro-abortion Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.)
  • Pro-life leader Brownback also surged to a win by a margin of 50%-46% over pro-abortion Democrat State Rep. Paul Davis. The message was clear: Kansans want their administrative branch to stay pro-life.

KFL Executive Director, Mary Kay Culp, gave this commentary:”We worked as hard as we did because we knew that life issues in Kansas mean more to voters than any D.C. pundit understood, or poll took into account, which certainly proved true on election night!”

SENATE RACE
Kansas pro-lifers were alarmed in early summer at the upstart campaign of Senate challenger Greg Orman– a 45-year-old millionaire businessman without any record of public service and who had never held elected office. Millions of dollars in TV ads were introducing him as the solution to the ‘overriding problem of government gridlock.’ Even a few conservatives were showing some interest in Orman, despite his bizarre claim that he was unsure which party he would caucus with if he won.

But pro-lifers knew differently. They knew that Reid would not allow any pro-life measures passed in the House of Representatives to come to a vote, including the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act. Pro-lifers also were well aware of the anti-life provisions of ObamaCare that were protected by Reid. Even more troubling, Orman had no voting record to contrast with the 100% pro-life record of Sen. Roberts.

KFL-PAC member Carol Dengel andPac co-director, Tim Hand celebrated pro-life wins in Topeka

KFL-PAC member, Carol Dengel, and KFL-PAC co-chair, Tim Hand, celebrated pro-life wins in Topeka Tues. night

Kansans for Life’s PAC went into high gear with phone calls, radio spots and other initiatives. We produced and distributed well over one million educational pieces, which is four times the number we have done in the past.

Orman largely hid from the press and kept to the strict script ‘that he had tried both political parties and found both deficient’. His history undermined that claim (as did Vice President Joe Biden at the last minute).

Although Orman had briefly registered as a Republican, he had long been a Democrat, and over 90% of his past and very sizable campaign donations had gone to pro-abortion Democrats. Even Kansas Democrats believed Orman would caucus with Democrats–as shown when they coaxed their own Senate candidate, Chad Taylor, off the ballot on Sept. 3rd so that the field was cleared for Orman.

On Election Day, however, Orman’s pretense at independence was shattered when Vice President Biden, speaking on a radio program, said Democrats “have a chance of picking up an independent who will be with us in the state of Kansas.”

Sen. Roberts has always been endorsed by Kansans for Life and the National Right to Life Committee, and has been a lead supporter of important pro-life bills. Orman described himself as ‘pro-choice’ in an October 15 debate with Sen. Roberts and dismissed pro-life concerns as something to “get past.”

Sen. Roberts quickly rebutted Orman’s position as “unconscionable” and publicly promised “never to stop fighting for life.” Orman continued to act as if pro-life issues were unimportant. For example, he never honored his October 9 pledge to several national media outlets to read and comment on two pro-life bills awaiting passage in the U.S. Senate and supported by Sen. Roberts.

But on Tuesday, Kansans reaffirmed that pro-life issues are important, and re-elected U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts by over a 90,000 vote margin. We so appreciate the help of the NRLC-PAC in producing radio and print materials for this race.

GOVERNOR’S RACE
After years of battling an administration that supported abortion and was pushing destructive embryonic research, Kansas pro-lifers were thrilled to turn that around with the election of Sam Brownback as governor in 2010. During his first term, he signed thirteen pro-life measures, including nationally-important bills championed by NRLC.

Gov. Brownback with Mary Kay Culp

Gov. Brownback with KFL’s Mary Kay Culp Tues. night

The contrast could not have been more clear. Challenger Davis was part of the cadre of anti-life legislators fighting every one of those bills. In fact, during his tenure in the House from 2003-2014, Davis voted 80 times against pro-life bills!

It may not be well known that Kansas has long had three political players: pro-life GOPers, a dwindling number of pro-abortion GOPers, and Democrats, who are now 95% pro-abortion. Bitter, pro-abortion GOP legislators who had fought the Brownback initiatives and lost their elections in 2012 added their support for Davis.

Going into the elections, the race was too close to call and early returns showing a slight lead for Davis had pro-lifers holding their breath. Those returns reflected that:

  • counties from Kansas’ eastern edge bordering Missouri (which came in early) traditionally lean Democrat, and
  • the bitter pro-abortion GOP wing seemed to be voting a straight GOP ticket except for Brownback and, to a lesser extent, Roberts.

But, as returns continued, Gov. Brownback finished ahead of Davis by about 33,000 votes. Another 33,000 votes went to a third party independent candidate, Keen Umbehr.

What you won’t see highlighted is that Brownback prevailed even in liberal-leaning Johnson County, the home of two abortion clinics, and serviced by the Kansas City Star, whose editorial board supports abortion and never overlooks a chance to slam Brownback.

We congratulate our many pro-life volunteers who helped insure another four years under Gov. Brownback! Social media has certainly impacted election politics, but in Kansas, the tried and true pro-life ground game was richly rewarded yesterday.

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Rep. Paul Davis

Rep. Paul Davis

Kansas is a leading pro-life state, electing a pro-life super majority to both chambers. We’ve enacted many benchmark pro-life laws signed by pro-life GOP Gov. Sam Brownback. Brownback is seeking re-election, opposed by Democrat Paul Davis.

With the abortion issue omitted at every gubernatorial debate, many Kansas voters haven’t learned how very extreme Davis is on the life issue. As a state representative for 14 years from the most liberal district in Kansas, Davis voted 80 times AGAINST pro-life bills. Here’s a partial list of what Davis voted against:

  • bans on sex-selection abortion, tax-funded abortions and gruesome abortions done on unborn children with proven pain capability;
  • parental consent for abortion and against abortion clinics sending fetal dna samples from pregnant girls under age 14 to the KBI (as evidence for rape prosecution);
  • state licensure for abortion clinics to include death and injury reporting for the health department;
  • allowing prosecution for crimes against pregnant women to include separate charges for death and injuries to unborn children;
  • conscience protection for pro-life doctors, healthcare workers and businesses that object to abortion.

Davis was tutored in anti-life stridency when he worked for Kathleen Sebelius (as state insurance commissioner) and interned for now-Senate Minority Leader Anthony Hensley. This animus is not just against state regulation of abortion, it shows when Davis voted against modest grants for pregnancy care centers and for creation of a unique (and ethical) stem cell therapy center.

Additionally, as Democrat policy chair, and later, as House Minority leader, Davis whipped up the opposition to pro-life bills, pressuring Democrat state reps not to vote pro-life. There are now less than a handful of pro-life Democrats left in the Kansas House.

Davis’ website reads, under the topic, HOW SHOULD KANSAS CHANGE LAWS RELATED TO ABORTION?:

“Kansas’ abortion laws are among the strictest in the nation – I will not change that as governor. I do feel that every woman has the right to make her own personal medical decisions in consultation with her family and her doctor – free from government intrusion.

Well, of course he says he will not change the laws in effect, because he CANNOT do so! What he didn’t promise was to vigorously defend, and not undermine, the existing pro-life laws.

As an example, a Kansas abortion may not be performed unless the woman has accessed state info available at: woman’srighttoknow.org. Yet implementation of the 2009 update of this website was botched under the administration of then-Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, and not correctly implemented until Sam Brownback became governor in 2011.

Through his choice of agency heads and budget priorities, an extremist pro-abortion politician like Davis would be a disaster for the unborn and women’s health. Davis could:

  • veto new pro-life laws enacted by the pro-life Kansas House and Senate;
  • use the state budget to fund abortion, instead of the current modest support for pregnancy help centers;
  • select a cabinet whose members would allow subversion of current life-protective laws and agency regulations;
  • deter the health department from investigating maternal deaths occurring at abortion clinics;
  • pressure the state medical board to ignore abortion malpractice;
  • refuse to rigorously defend state laws challenged in court.

The governor makes hundreds of appointments to advisory boards, as well as  selecting a variety of judges, including those on the state Supreme Court.

It is not hard to imagine how much damage Davis could do as governor. Pro-lifers need to get the word out and get to the polls!

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