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Posts Tagged ‘Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act’

unborn feel pain (2)Kansas abortion statistics for 2015 were released today by the Kansas Dept. of Health & Environment (KDHE). The figures revealed an overall 4.4% drop from 2014 and the lowest abortion total since 1987!

6,931 abortions were done in Kansas in 2015. KDHE reports 53% (3,579) were obtained by Kansas women and teens and 47% (3,395) obtained by non-residents. (KDHE includes an additional 43 Kansas women who obtained abortions outside Kansas for a total of 6,974.)

For the first time since KDHE abortion reporting began, an abortion was reported as done to preserve the life of the mother. The medical situation of that one abortion, as described by KDHE, was severe pre-eclampsia, with a separated placenta.

The baby was listed as 22 weeks gestation, but undersized for that age. No location for the procedure is indicated, and it may have occurred outside of an abortion clinic setting. Two other abortions past 22 weeks gestation were done on Kansas women in other states.

The 2011 Kansas Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act allows an abortion at or after 22 weeks gestation (20 weeks post-fertilization) necessary to preserve the mother’s life or prevent substantial and irreversible physical impairment of a major bodily function.

“Except in the case of a medical emergency,” the law requires a written referral from another unaffiliated physician, who is “knowledgeable in the field, and knowledgeable about the case.”

WICHITA ABORTIONS DECREASE, ABORTIONIST “INACTIVE”
The good news discovered in the KDHE release was that 14% fewer abortions (down to 720 from 834) were obtained in Sedgwick County, which covers the city of Wichita. This county had been the only one in Kansas’ recent history to show any increase in abortions. After a historic low of 566 abortions in Sedgwick County in 2012, the number rose to 691 in 2013, and then increased again to 834 in 2014.

Chastine without KS medical privileges

Chastine lacks KS medical privileges

The abortion rise was attributed to heavy promotion of the 2013 opening of the SouthWind Women’s Center (in the former abortion location of George Tiller), staffed by a variety of itinerant abortionists. The medical director of that business from the outset has been Cheryl Chastine, originally from Illinois.

Chastine has been featured in pro-abortion media reports describing her frustration with providing abortions in a pro-life state. But her Kansas medical license has gone “inactive” (see here), meaning she is registered with the state Healing Arts Board through May 2016, but is not allowed to practice medicine in Kansas. Just how that is affecting abortion numbers is unclear.

Last month, Planned Parenthood of Kansas & Mid-Missouri in Wichita announced it was expanding to onsite provision of abortion pills in conjunction with abortionists from its Overland Park facility.

OTHER TRENDS
In other items of concern, there were 11 fewer abortions performed in Kansas in 2015 using the gruesome method of dismembering a well-formed, living unborn child. However, because the overall numbers dropped from 640 to 629, the proportion of this method to total abortions rose slightly from 8.8% to 9%.

The state of Kansas enacted a ban on such barbaric dismemberment abortions, but it is not in effect due to a district court ruling striking the ban. The decision is now on appeal before the state Supreme Court. (see more here)

Kansas has one of the highest proportions of chemical abortions (abortions by “medication” or pill). However, in 2015, that number dropped by 136, from 3,228 in 2014 (44.4% of all abortions) to 3,092 in 2015 (44.3% of all abortions). In 2011, Kansas enacted a ban on abortions via “webcam” without a physician present, but that law is under injunction and not yet in effect.

Abortion has a long and continued history of coercion. KDHE data has shown a 50% increase in incidents under the “Report of Physical, Mental, or Emotional Abuse or Neglect Filed” connected to abortion provision. In 2014, 29 filings were logged in under this category, rising to 43 in 2015. No explanation is given as to the resolutions of these officially-filed matters, or for the jump in reports.

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up down arrows (2)Abortions decreased by 1.6% last year, according to the annual preliminary report from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) released last week (see here). This figure includes all abortions within state boundaries as well as abortions obtained in other states by Kansas women and teens.

Kansas’ estimated 2013 abortion total is 7,479, compared with the adjusted final total of 7,598 in 2012, which is a slowing of the 5.6% rate decrease in 2012. But in whole numbers, this year’s total of Kansas resident abortions is approaching a historic low milestone–the 3,709 total of Kansas resident abortions reported in 1971. (Update April 2: typo corrected to read 3,709)

Unfortunately, Kansas is zooming ahead from a 30.1% ratio in 2012 of

abortions “by pill” (using Mifepristone, also called RU-486) to a whopping 38.8%

in 2013! This far outstrips the 2011 national RU-486 average of 22.2 % reported by the abortion-supporting Guttmacher Institute.

As has been the case for the last 5 years, half of Kansas abortions were obtained by non-residents, 3,722 in 2013, of whom 3,611 hailed from Missouri. This is very likely due to the fact that there is a Planned Parenthood situated just over the Kansas-Missouri state line in Kansas City, on the Kansas side. By contrast, only 147 Kansas females obtained abortions outside their home state last year.

In 2013, Kansas lost 3,757 unborn Kansans to abortion, a slight decrease from the 3,802 in 2012. However, that number is subject to change, as other states are later than Kansas in issuing annual notices of abortions obtained by nonresidents, and the Kansas total may yet rise a bit.

The KDHE report shows some sad statistics similar to nation-wide patterns:

  • 89% of these abortions were done before 12 weeks gestation;
  • 86.5% of these women were unmarried;
  • 60% of these women had one or more living children;
  • 36% of these women had one or more prior abortions.

Kansas bans abortions from 22 weeks gestation onward, due to enactment of the Pain-capable Unborn child Protection Act in 2011. The only legal exceptions for such abortions are to prevent either the death of the mother or substantial and irreversible physical threats to her health. In 2013, two post-22 week abortions were reported in Kansas, and two obtained in other states by Kansas women.

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unborn feel pain (2)Kansas and nine other states have passed abortion bans recognizing the unborn child as a pain-capable human being at 20 weeks post-fertilization, which is the same as being dated 22 weeks from woman’s last menstrual period, or LMP.

In 2012, Arizona passed a “hybrid” abortion law that included the fetal pain issue but would affect pregnancies 2 weeks earlier than all other similar “pain” bans. It was immediately sued, upheld in state district court and struck down by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals (which does not govern Kansas). Today, the U.S. Supreme Court has declined the appeal to review the Ninth circuit’s decision.

Medical science now recognizes that the unborn child at 20 weeks post-fertilization possesses all the physiological structures needed for pain perception.

The National Right to Life Committee (NRLC) created the pain-capable model legislation with hope the U.S. Supreme Court would review such a law, focusing specifically on scientific data about pain which has never been presented to them in an abortion case.  This data includes studies outside the abortion arena verifying that the thalamus, not the cortex, is needed for humans to perceive pain. [Read documentation at doctorsonfetalpain.com about the issue.]

Some quick analysis of today’s decision:

1) The U.S. Supreme Court continues to resist taking abortion cases. This is the second abortion case deferred this term– the earlier Court decision avoided a chemical abortion law from Oklahoma.   The Court is only pressured into taking on an issue when there are conflicting appellate decisions. Only one circuit has ruled on pain-related abortion bans, the (notoriously overturned) Ninth circuit.

2) The U.S. Supreme Court did not outright rule against the constitutionality of abortion bans for pain-feeling unborn children. But because the Court does not explain why they decline cases,  we are left to wonder exactly why the Court declined to examine Arizona’s law. It may well be that the bill at their doorstep had too many dimensions: not only did Arizona conjoin a second issue of late-term abortion safety with the issue of  pain to unborn babies–it also lowered the pregnancy date two weeks below where there is currently the most medical evidence for pain capability.

3) Abortion forces will certainly try to wave today’s action as a warning against states contemplating enacting pain-capable legislation. However, we still believe a “clean” law sticking to 20 weeks post-conception/22 weeks LMP is totally defensible. The U.S. Supreme Court’s 2007 abortion ruling(Gonzales), affirmed that states have compelling interests for enacting abortion regulations, and declined to list those interests. The Gonzales ruling said states may pass protective legislation based on science even when “medical consensus” on that data was lacking.

We regret that the U.S. Supreme Court has skirted examination of the issue of fetal pain, and left abortion interests encouraged by today’s action.

See further information from NRLC here.

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WRTKIn a desperate move to appease its base–in the wake of increased pro-life laws that reflect the will of the people but jeopardize the bottom line of abortion businesses–Planned Parenthood has sued section 14 of the  Kansas 2013 Pro-Life Protections Act, claiming it violates first and fourteenth amendment rights to free speech and abortion access.

The press release from Planned Parenthood today, announcing the lawsuit, attacks the validity of state supervision of abortion clinic information as unwarranted legislation.  However, the Pro-life Protection Act is a response to the notorious omissions by clinics when it comes to abortion harms and the true gestational development of unborn children. The women considering abortion should be afforded all accurate data and they are the ones harmed by today’s litigation.

The money taxpayers are forced to use to defend all of the Constitutionally-sound Kansas pro-life laws are a result of the abortion clinics’ greed. This is the fourth challenge to Kansas pro-life laws, Kansas:

  •  won the suit against the abortion insurance law;
  • awaits a ruling  on appeal to the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals on the 2011 Title X funding law;
  • is enduring an ongoing state court lawsuit opposing state health department oversight of abortion clinics, which–by precedent in other states– is a meritless suit.

We are confident that Kansas will prevail in these suits and the one filed today. Kansas should strongly oppose any injunction or potential consent order that would censor those few lines of information, and force the reprinting of the state Right-to Know booklets.

The Court should refuse the injunction sought by Planned Parenthood, based on several court rulings, notably the 1992 Casey ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court. In that ruling, women were guaranteed abortion informed consent materials supplied by the state, and

the Court denied abortionists’ right of free speech was infringed as they could disavow any or all of the states’ content.

For example, the website for the Aid for Women KCK clinic has bashed the content of the Right to Know materials for many years; for just one example here, currently on the clinic’s ’24 hour consent’ page is this bullet point disputing the state info:
• 12. WE MUST UNTRUTHFULLY TELL YOU (KSA 65-6709(b)(5)) – “The abortion will terminate the life of a whole, separate, unique, living human being.” This is untruthful because the fetus is quite dependent upon, not separate from, the maternal placental oxygen and nutrient acquisition and kidney’s waste disposal. The word “whole” implies “complete” but the fetus is not truly completed until birth. Also, cancer is unique, human and living, yet not deserving of life.”

Yes, this clinic equates an unborn child with cancer, which would be laughable were it not so tragic.  The point the Casey Court made 21 years ago is that the state has a right to issue medically accurate data, and the abortionist can refute it–as this clinic does.

INFORMED CONSENT

  • Under the Kansas Woman’s Right to Know statutes of 1997, women seeking abortion must be given informational materials relating to the abortion procedure and risks .
  • The information is available in printed form and online.
  • The informed consent information is prepared by the Kansas state department of health (KDHE) and is medically accurate information the woman deserves,  in accordance with abortion court rulings.
  • The woman must sign a paper in the abortionists’ office that she “accessed” this info 24 hours prior to the performance of the abortion. The abortionist is never required to quiz her about the content, or ‘tell” the woman anything from the materials.
  • Section 14 merely copies into statute the agency information that women seeking Kansas abortions have been reading for years.

COMPLAINTS REBUTTED
Specifically, Planned Parenthood complains about 3 items in section 14:

  1. The mandate to have a hyperlink to the state website on the abortion informed consent section of the clinic website.
    REBUT: Two of the three KC area clinics , including Planned Parenthood, have already included this link for a long time, and the third clinic has done so inconsistently. We are not aware of the website for the new Wichita clinic.
  2. The sentence “Abortion terminates the life of a whole, separate, unique living human being.”
    REBUT: This sentence was found medically accurate by the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals. This sentence is one line in many pages of the Kansas Right to Know materials, and has been part of materials for years.
  3. The information that unborn children of 22 weeks gestational age feel pain. The clinic claims it is irrelevant as they do no abortions at this stage.
    REBUT. Abortions at 22 weeks gestation are banned under Kansas law, with limited exceptions, but it is certainly relevant for a woman to consider whether her abortion at 21.6 weeks– or 18 weeks or less –may be inflicting some pain on her child. Again this information has been in the state materials for 2 years.

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Spina bifida corrected before birth on Samuel Armas, 1999F surgery

1999: Spina bifida surgically corrected on as-yet-unborn baby, Samuel Armas,whose hand grasps the surgeon’s finger. (Photo by Michael Clancy)

Infant pain capability is now so well established and studied that the specialty of pediatric anesthesiology has evolved to help tiny babies tolerate surgical interventions.

Consider how mainstream medicine acknowledges that newborns (including preemies) feel pain: circumcisions are now routinely performed after topical numbing and the World Health Organization recommends pain relief for the mandatory “heel sticks” drawing the child’s blood after delivery.

Medical researchers continue to test and analyze the kinds of pain-techniques that are most beneficial on tiny patients, leading to the increased surgical successes on children before and after birth. (Read about the photo here and here and developments in spina bifida here.)

In fact, science now knows that

between 20-30 weeks gestation, the highest density of pain receptors per square inch of skin develop in the unborn–five times the pain sensitivity that any child or adult will ever be capable of.

However, the developing unborn child has not developed the mechanisms needed to modulate and tone down pain, because that “pain-dampening” development occurs around 40 weeks gestation (term delivery) –and afterword!

Only the abortion industry wants to perpetuate the myth that unborn children are non-feeling and impervious to the experience of being dismembered. One wonders whether abortionists and their staff personally reject anesthesia for their own newborns and preemies that undergo medical procedures?

PAIN-CAPABLE LEGISLATION
The National Right to Life Committee (NRLC) led the charge to end partial-birth abortions –a gruesome method used on a child exiting the birth canal. In NRLCs overall plan to systematically dismantle the U.S. Supreme Court’s enduring support for abortion, they have crafted legislation presenting evidence that unborn children feel pain.

Kansas is one of the few states banning abortions at 22 weeks gestation (20 weeks post-fertilization) due to the recognized pain-capability of the unborn. While legal injunctions to the Idaho, Georgia and Arizona pain-capable laws have predictably been secured, we hope that state appeals of those decisions will be taken up for review by the U.S. Supreme Court.

HR 1797 is a federal bill, spearheaded by NRLC, that would ban elective abortions at 20 weeks fetal age, due to pain-capability. The measure is co-sponsored by all four members of the Kansas delegation to the U.S. House  and by both Kansas U.S Senators in a companion bill. The House Judiciary Committee could vote on the bill before mid-June, with action by the full House any time thereafter. For more details, go here.

The issue of whether aborted children could experience the pain of abortion had not been a specific consideration in the 1973 Roe v Wade ruling. In that era, surgery for preemies, infants and toddlers relied on taping the child to the surgical table to immobilize the body so that the needed procedure could be performed!

Can our country– where hospitals seek the best way to protect newborns from the pain of a needle prick –continue to allow the horrific dismemberment of pain-feeling children inside abortion clinics?

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preemie finger (3)In 1979, before giving birth to the first of my five children, I was fascinated by “breaking” literature that encouraged talking and singing to your child in utero. I remember my husband’s puzzlement when I told him the “experts” said he should put his head close to my growing belly and talk to our baby!

I was reminded of how new that concept had been when Texas Congressman Louie Gohmert (who is my age) recounted his experience during that era. Gohmert is a member of the federal House Judiciary subcommittee that heard testimony on HR 1797, a bill that bans elective abortions when a baby is capable of feeling pain, which the bill recognizes as existing by 20 weeks fetal age.

During his brief comments at the hearing, Gohmert shared his experience with the premature birth of his first child, Katy. His wife asked him to do whatever he could to assist their daughter’s struggle to survive.

The neonatologist told him how important it was to caress and talk to Katy because, “Her eyes don’t work real well; she won’t recognize you. But she will know your voice, because she’s heard you in utero.”

Gohmert appeared to relive the precious memory of sitting next to the isolette, when his daughter’s “little bitty fingers grasped the end of my finger” and how her vital signs improved within the hour.

The rather novel idea that unborn children can hear their environment–even if muffled–has only been strengthened over recent decades and created (not unsurprisingly!) an industry of products designed to accelerate the child’s intellectual prowess and musical talent after birth.

But more important, science now acknowledges that the tiny unborn child possesses a unique presence that can be altered by human interaction as well as medical interventions.

This has directly affected the evolution of hospital Neonatal Intensive Care Units (NICUs), which commonly utilize volunteers to cuddle and coo struggling prematurely born babies (preemies) who lack family members to do so.

Notably, the field of Music Therapy has developed, with special application to preemies.

Medical News Today recently reported on the findings of a study in the May issue of the journal, Pediatrics. MNT headlined its account, “Playing Music and Lullabies Help Soothe Premature Babies.” The most important finding was captured in the sub-headline: “Music– especially lullabies–deliver health advantages to the most vulnerable babies, preemies, who are being treated in the neonatal intensive care unit, a new study suggests.”

The study involved 11 hospital NICUs with 272 preemies under 32 weeks gestation. Investigators found that preemies who heard lullabies and live music specifically paired with babies’ breathing and heart rates showed improved blood-oxygen levels and patterns of feeding and sleeping. How’d they figure that out? According to MNT:

“Certified music therapists used devices called Remo ocean discs and gato boxes, which emit ‘whoosh’ and heartbeat womb sounds while matched with babies’ heart and breath patterns, three times each week for two weeks. Therapists and parents also sang lullabies chosen by the babies’ parents, and when parents had no preference, they sang ‘Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.’ ”

It’s not just any old sound, according to Joanne Loewy, director of Beth Israel’s Louis Armstrong Center for Music & Medicine. “Many NICUs are noisy, or people put on random lullabies that are recorded. What we’re saying is, it’s not just any old lullaby that’s recorded, it’s the power of the parent’s voice synchronized therapeutically . . . and the other two sounds that can have a therapeutic benefit.”

Exactly what the neonatologist was telling Rep. Gohmert.

We pro-lifers see that science continues to verify that the unborn child is a special and unique human being who is not only capable of experiencing pain, but has the ability to respond to the care of the human community.

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fetal pain sign (2)Kermit Gosnell was convicted of murder, supported by photographic evidence of preterm babies with deep gashes to the neck, applied with sharp scissors.  Gosnell’s associate called the method of their demise “a beheading”.

Fox News reporter and seasoned litigator Megyn Kelly, 6 months pregnant, admitted how hard it was to force herself to look at the photos. Any decent person would get the shivers imagining how such a slashing might feel—particularly on the tender bodies of tiny children.

However, an even more chilling component exists, as revealed in scientific studies developed over the past three decades: that unborn children are “wired” to feel pain MORE intensely than any child or adult ever can!

This is due to the physiology of the pre-term child, reported Emory University professor/ pediatric intensive care physician, Dr. Jean Wright to Congress,“the fibers and structures needed to feel pain are present but the mechanisms needed to modulate and tone down the response are poorly developed.”

“The highest density of pain receptors per square inch of skin in human development occurs in utero from 20-30 weeks gestation,” testified Prof. Kanwaljeet Anand to Congress, based in part on his  seminal work, first published in1987. Anand explains,

“the process of…surgical incision into the fetal cranium / upper neck of the fetus will result in prolonged and intense pain… more intense than [that of] older infants, children or adults to a similar injury.”

Thus, the stabbing of those babies at the Gosnell clinic is more horrific than can be imagined.

Abortion was legalized without the scientific knowledge that pre-term children not only can feel pain, but feel it more excruciatingly; massive medical documentation can be found at  www.doctorsonfetalpain.org. National Right to Life developed a strategy to pass legislation that will reach the Supreme Court and confront the justices with this additional concept.  This allows states to show the High Court that civilized people want abortion banned at least at the stage when children can acutely feel the torture of abortion.
         
Kansas passed the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act in 2011, after we informed legislators that the issue of whether aborted children could experience the pain of abortion had not been a consideration of the 1973 Roe v Wade ruling.

At that time, surgery for preemies, infants and toddlers relied on taping the child to the surgical table to immobilize the body so that the needed procedure could be performed! Ill children were considered too frail to tolerate anesthesia, and there was insufficient data on how, and in what amounts, successful pain relief could be administered.

That medical era changed in the 1980s with increasing studies showing the hormonal and cardio-resuscitory responses of unborn children to painful stimuli. With this new knowledge, the specialties of pediatric surgery and pediatric anesthesiology developed, as well as NICU units with special protocols acknowledging the hypersensitivities of preemies.

Physicians now know how to detect and treat pain in the tiniest of patients. In fact, due to advances in pediatric anesthesia techniques, unborn children can be removed temporarily from the womb, endure surgical repair, and be returned to finish gestation.

With some limited coverage by the mainstream media of Gosnell’s vicious murder of pre-term children born alive, the general public has now been awakened. It would be a silver lining if the same public who feel pity for Gosnell’s tiny victims, allow themselves to actively reflect upon the acute pain-capability of the children destroyed during abortion.

The time is ripe for passage of a federal Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act. Read more in key articles here, here, and here.

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