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Posts Tagged ‘Pro-life Protections Act’

U.S. Senators Roberts & Moran

U.S. Senators Roberts & Moran

Although the major TV networks didn’t tell the public, Thursday night was historic for pro-lifers. That was when, for the first time ever, the United States Senate passed a bill to defund Planned Parenthood. HR 3762 also dismantles large chunks of Obamacare.

HR 3762 passed 52-47 under a process called “reconciliation,” allowing a bill to pass by a simple 51-vote majority, without the possibility of a filibuster requiring 60 votes for passage.

Kansas U.S. Senators Pat Roberts and Jerry Moran supported the bill and did not vote for either of two hostile amendments, which were narrowly averted.

National Right to Life, the nation’s largest pro-life organization, applauded approval of the bill,

which will block approximately 89% of all federal funding to Planned Parenthood – about $400 million in the next year. The amounts denied to Planned Parenthood are reallocated to community health centers.

Because of changes made by the Senate, the House of Representatives must approve the bill before it reaches the desk of President Barack Obama, who will undoubtedly veto it.

Legislative director for National Right to Life, Douglas Johnson said, “While this bill faces the implacable opposition of President Barack Obama, it blazes a trail that can be followed to victory in the future – once we have a pro-life president.”

The bill would close the largest pipeline for federal funding of Planned Parenthood, Medicaid, and apply as well to the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and the Title V and Title XX block grant programs.

Based on data from their own annual report from 2013-2014, nearly one in eight women walking through the door of a Planned Parenthood clinic has an abortion. A background memo from National Right to Life is available here, which addresses the fallacious claim that abortion comprises only 3% of Planned Parenthood business.

KANSAS BEATS PLANNED PARENTHOOD
In Kansas, Planned Parenthood of Kansas- Mid Missouri (PPKMM) no longer receives federal reproductive health grants under Title X—which (in 2011) amounted to more than one third of a million dollars annually. Kansas instead sends those funds to full-service clinics and hospitals, under a pro-life state budget provision that was repeatedly vetoed until Sam Brownback became governor.

After three years in litigation, Planned Parenthood lost its court challenge to the measure at the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals. Following that blow, they closed their Hays clinic, which referred for–but did not perform– abortions. Currently, PPKMM operates one Wichita abortion-referring clinic and an Overland Park abortion-performing clinic.

Planned Parenthood also lost its legal challenge in federal district court to a KFL-sponsored bill passed in 2013, the Pro-Life Protections Act. Under the law, all Kansas abortion clinics must feature a live link on their website homepage that offers fetal development information from the Kansas health department, KDHE.

More and more, citizens—through their elected officials– are refusing to partner with the nation’s largest abortion business.

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Judge Franklin Theis

Judge Franklin Theis

With a “refusal to rule” late Friday afternoon, a local judge continues to thwart state oversight of abortion facilities as permitted under the pivotal 1992 Planned Parenthood v Casey U.S. Supreme Court ruling.

To the consternation of pro-lifers, the 2011 Kansas abortion clinic licensure law remains blocked in the Topeka court of District Judge Franklin Theis.

On Friday afternoon, Judge Theis denied the state of Kansas’ request that he rule on whether the law discriminated against women, as alleged by the litigants, the Overland Park Center for Women’s Health [CWH].

Attorney Sarah Warner, representing the office of Attorney General Derek Schmidt, explained that

the litigants’ “equal protection” claims as a reason to overturn state abortion laws had been rejected 20 times by the U.S. Supreme Court going all the way back to 1977.

In other words, failed arguments should be dismissed.

Warner also told Judge Theis that the Supreme Court has upheld the state’s ‘compelling interests’ in regulating the medical profession and in insuring the health and safety of women inside abortion clinics. Warner referenced the ”jaded” history of unregulated practitioners. She noted that the murder trial of abortionist Kermit Gosnell had unfolded during the law’s passage, adding further evidence of the need of such regulation.

Theis listened to the state argument for nearly an hour, then to the short (approximately seven-minute-long) rebuttal from one of CWH’s five seated attorneys.

Judge Theis then restated his initial position–that “he needs facts” and that both sides should continue to plan for trial. “I don’t think you can make a decision without learning the total picture,” Judge Theis said.

In other words, he ducked the critical question he was supposed to answer: whether certain ‘already settled’ claims should be eliminated and focus on whether the state had indeed issued ‘rational’ medical facility oversight.

THREE LAWSUITS FROM ONE CLINIC
At the conclusion of his remarks, Judge Theis mentioned the ‘elephant in the room.’ This was an allusion to the injunction against Senate Bill 95–the Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act– in which Larry Hendricks, another district court judge, shockingly held that the Kansas state Constitution contains a right to abortion. That request for an injunction was also filed by CWH.

CWH, the father-daughter duo

CWH, the father-daughter duo of Herb Hodes & Traci Nauser

Judge Theis.commented about the importance of whether such a ruling is upheld, and the fact that it could be headed to the state supreme court, which obviously would have an impact on this clinic law.

Also noted in the hearing was the third lawsuit in yet another district court—also filed by CWH—against the 2013 Kansas Pro-life Protections Act. Although that law is not blocked, the lawsuit challenging it also claims there is a state constitutional right to abortion.

Thus all three suits are linked to the appeal to the Dismemberment injunction ruling in which a single judge believes a hitherto undiscovered right to abortion exists in the Kansas state constitution.

BACKGROUND ON THE LAW
The comprehensive abortion facility licensure law would apply to hospitals, ambulatory surgical centers, and physician offices in which 5 or more elective abortions were performed in a month. The law requires incident reporting, state health inspections, minimum building codes and local hospital privileges for practitioners.

While the law has been stalled, specific provisions defining abortion “for medical emergencies” and in-person physician delivery of abortion pills have been changed in the last two legislative sessions.

The clinic licensure law had immense public support after decades of abortion malpractice including deaths of 5 women following abortions by Kansas-licensed abortionists. A nearly identical licensure law had twice been passed and vetoed in 2003 and 2005 under former Gov. Kathleen Sebelius.

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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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Justice Alito

Justice Alito

On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld conscience protection for certain businesses to refuse to provide abortifacient drugs and devices through employee insurance, as mandated by an HHS rule under Obamacare.

The Hobby Lobby ruling applies narrowly to “closely held corporations,” which the IRS defines as firms where half of the value of the corporation is held by five or fewer individuals. The Obama administration had argued that ‘for-profit’ corporations couldn’t have religious beliefs, but the Court disagreed, finding that,

“Protecting the free-exercise rights of closely held corporations…  protects the religious liberty of the humans who own and control them.”

The Court also noted that the Evangelical owners of Hobby Lobby and the Mennonite owners of Conestoga Wood Products (both “closely held corporations”) professed “sincere Christian beliefs that life begins at conception and that it would violate their religion to facilitate access to contraceptive drugs or devices that operate after that point.”

Specifically, the Hobby Lobby lawsuit sought an exemption to providing 4 of the listed 20 forms of contraception that HHS mandates under “preventive services.”

Gov. Brownback

Gov. Brownback

KANSAS PROTECTIVE LAWS
Of note to Kansas pro-lifers is that the Hobby Lobby majority opinion was written by Justice Samuel Alito.

Alito’s appointment to the Court would not have occurred had not our governor, then-U.S. Senator Sam Brownback, led the resistance to President Bush’s 2005 nomination of Harriet Miers to replace the retiring Justice Sandra Day O’Connor. O’Connor had provided the fifth vote in the 2000 Stenberg decision striking down a Nebraska partial birth abortion law but Alito became the fifth vote to uphold the federal partial birth abortion ban in 2007.

The backdrop of the Obama administration’s aggressive abortion agenda further incentivized Kansas to pass particular pro-life laws, signed by pro-life Gov. Brownback, elected in 2010.

After the passage of Obamacare that included abortion coverage, Kansas enacted laws in 2011 to prevent abortion coverage in any future Kansas health exchange and in all private health insurance plans unless a separate abortion ‘rider’ is purchased.

In the wake of the HHS mandate and an increase in contraceptive promotion, Kansas medical professionals faced a growing ethical problem: some pills and devices marketed as preventing pregnancy also disrupt the implantation of the human embryo—called a post-fertilization abortifacient effect.

Because Kansas’ abortion statute defines legal contraception as, “the use of any drug or device that inhibits or prevents ovulation, fertilization or implantation of an embryo,” in 2012, Kansas passed conscience protection for medical professionals and facilities: “No person shall be required to perform, refer for, or participate in medical procedures or in the prescription or administration of any device or drug which result in the termination of a pregnancy or an effect of which the person reasonably believes may result in the termination of a pregnancy.”

In 2013, Kansas passed further barriers to government promotion of abortion in healthcare in the Pro-Life Protections Act, which

  • declares that human life begins at fertilization and that Kansas public policy will promote and protect the interests of unborn children and their parents;
  • prevents state agencies from discriminating against individuals or health care institutions that do not provide, pay for, or refer for abortions;
  • more effectively bans abortion performance and abortionist-training at the tax-funded KUMed Center.

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PPKMM logo (2)Planned Parenthood of Kansas & Mid-Missouri is the only one of Kansas’ four abortion clinics not in compliance with a state weblink requirement that went into effect April 24.

PPKMM had unsuccessfully sued last year to block a nearly identical abortion informed consent provision.

The 2013 Pro-Life Protections Act had required Kansas abortion business to place –on their website homepage– a one-click link to materials prepared by the Kansas Health Department identified as “objective, nonjudgmental, scientifically accurate.”

Effective April 24, a new law, Senate Bill 54, continues the weblink mandate but trimmed the four word identifier from the tagline. The required tagline now reads:

“The Kansas Department of Health and Environment maintains a website containing information about the development of the unborn child, as well as video of sonogram images of the unborn child at various stages of development. The Kansas Department of Health and Environment’s website can be reached by clicking here.www.womansrighttoknow.org

Eleven months ago, PPKMM filed suit in the court of federal Judge Kathyrn Vratil. They maintained that the requirement for a live link with tagline was “compelled speech” that violated the First Amendment and asked for an injunction.

Judge Vratil did not issue the injunction, noting the weblink had been already enjoined in state court for another abortion business, the Center for Women’s Health. Vratil ordered that she be apprised of any action involving the state injunction.

However that state court injunction was officially dissolved last Friday, and PPKMM knew it was in the works with the signing of Senate Bill 54 last month.

PPKMM should have been prepared to comply or petition for a new injunction—and they have done neither, as of press time today, Wednesday. Their website is here.

Attorneys for the Kansas Attorney General had defended the weblink as a regulation of commercial speech, which courts require to be proportionate to the state interests it advances. The “free speech” of the abortionist is still allowed free reign to critique, or even mock the link, which two did.

Here are two current examples of abortionist-added editorial content that immediately precede the weblink tagline.

The Aid for Women clinic—notorious for its churlish postings on their abortion clinic website, prefaces the weblink with this:

We are being forced by Republicans to use our website resources to say untruthful things about the State’s proLife website in hopes that you will visit their website and change your mind away from abortion. We must have this signage or go to jail. Republicans also don’t believe that rape causes pregnancy, nor ever too many children. They are stupid. Let’s vote them out of office. However, here goes..

The Center for Women’s Health in Overland Park prefaces the weblink with this:

WE ARE REQUIRED BY THE STATE OF KANSAS TO SAY THIS, WHICH DOES NOT NECESSARILY REFLECT CURRENT MEDICAL OPINION; OR, OUR OPINION:

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rate down graphic (2)A snarky taunt hurled at pro-lifers through the years has been, “If you are against abortion, just don’t have one!”

With the Guttmacher Institute study concluding that abortions are at a 30-year low, as well as a lower national abortion rate and ratio, it appears that a lot of women, especially younger ones, are doing just that– not having abortions.

Moreover, these women rejecting abortion are not just located in states with protective pro-life laws, but across the nation, according to Guttmacher. There are several things to unpack here, with examples from our state of Kansas.

First, our opponents use Guttmacher’s report to scoff at the benefit of pro-life state legislation. They argue (1) that the number of abortions went down in states without pro-life initiatives; and/or (2) the data Guttmacher analyzed came before the upturn in state pro-life laws enacted during 2011-2013.

This seems to imply that no laws were in place benefiting women prior to 2011, which is absolutely untrue. The much-reported increase in state pro-life laws did not start with the election of a majority of state governors who were pro-life, beginning in 2010.

When Guttmacher (and Slate’s William Saletan, here) downplay the role of pro-life initiatives in reducing the number of abortions, they conveniently ignore a whole bevy of initiatives which have had the effect of helping women choose life, including:

  1. parental involvement laws,
  2. limits to tax-funded abortion,
  3. support for pregnancy assistance,
  4. and requirements for ultrasound viewing, waiting periods, and women’s right to know information.

For Kansas, electing a pro-life governor in 2010 was key, because governors can scuttle pro-life legislation with a stroke of the veto pen. During those years where abortion political influence held sway in Kansas, pro-lifers grew the number of pregnancy assistance centers and elected greater numbers of ‘proudly’ pro-life legislators. More protective laws could not be enacted –or older ones properly enforced– until we elected Gov. Sam Brownback in 2010.

Second, our opponents attribute fewer abortions to fewer numbers of women getting pregnant in the first place. They tout this as an obvious victory for contraception, either because women “were making conscious decisions to avoid pregnancy” (in the words of the authors, Rachel K. Jones and Jenna Jerman) or because of the use of “long-acting” contraceptives.

But even if this were true, this still doesn’t answer the fundamental question raised by the abortion ratio for 2011. The abortion ratio essentially compares the number of abortions to the number of births. According to Guttmacher,

there were 21.2 abortions for every 100 pregnancies ending in abortion or live birth in 2011. This is also the lowest ratio since 1973, the first year Roe was in effect.

The ratio was 30.4 in 1983 and was as high as 25.1 as recently as 1998.
So even if fewer women get pregnant, that doesn’t answer the question why more of them are choosing life.

NATIONAL PRO-LIFE IDENTIFICATION
A pro-life mindset is at work nationwide–as witnessed by polling showing pro-life self-identification at 48%. This is the result of a strong national pro-life movement that educates at so many levels and continues to challenge the “normalization” of abortion. The natural by-product is more pro-life laws.

However, Saletan claims pro-life laws are “a waste of time” that “can’t possibly affect women in states without such laws.” To agree with that would be to assert that women in abortion-friendly states don’t have an awareness of what’s happening elsewhere, don’t use the internet, and do wholly adopt the mentality of their state legislature to their personal lives.  Not likely.

Saletan discounts not only the success, but the relevance of the pro-life movement for changing the culture, because “legal moralism is losing its grip on this country.” It just isn’t the case, he says, that “by enacting legal restrictions in one state, you’re affecting the moral convictions of women in other states.”

Really?  If pro-life laws are a waste of time, why are they so desperately fought by abortion supporters–and to a nationwide audience? Why did national pro-abortion media sources work so hard (to name just a few examples) to

  • portray Kansas and other states adopting Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection acts as legislating against medical science;
  • deny the confirmed biological connection between induced abortion and breast cancer; and
  • mischaracterize a Kansas law disallowing wrongful birth lawsuits as ‘support for doctors to lie to pregnant women’?

Obviously, these media attacks are meant to dissuade individual women from learning the truth and to scare other states from adopting pro-life laws.

KANSAS LEADERSHIP
The Kansas “Women’s Right to Know and See” law–passed in 2009—gave women not only the option to see their child’s ultrasound taken inside the abortion clinic, but also created a state health department-run website
. But only under a pro-life governor in 2011, was the law properly implemented so that the website included real-time sonography of the developing unborn child. As  a result we think Kansas has the best pregnancy information website in the nation.wrtk header (2)

And building on legislative intent to fully inform women, the Kansas’ 2013 Pro-Life Protections Act includes the “first-in-the-nation” requirement that the link to the state “Woman’s Right to Know” abortion information website be positioned on an abortion clinic’s home page.

Pro-life laws not only have concrete effects on abortion decision-making, they have a “teaching” function that extends beyond state lines. Abortion interests don’t want that “Woman’s Right to Know” link displayed on their home page. They want it tucked away somewhere on their website so that while few women will see it, the abortion clinic can claim it was accessible.

Can such links to gestational information with active 4-D Ultrasound films affect women in states without this law? Yes–thanks to the Internet.

This is just one example. Guttmacher (and Saletan) can insist that pro-life initiatives have no (or very little impact) but common sense and experience says otherwise. Collectively, pro-life laws are contributing to our nation’s ever-decreasing choice for abortion.

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KFL logoAbortion-supporting groups continue to complain about the increasing life-protective laws passed in the states, particularly Kansas. The pro-abortion Guttmacher Institute places Kansas as number four in the nation (see map) among pro-life states– even as three of our bills from 2011 are not in effect yet due to delayed court action.

The achievement of strengthening Kansas as a pro-life state is due to the efforts of many, with Kansans for Life taking a leadership role.  For highlights of Kansans for Life 2013 activities, including educational and political action, see here. To donate, go here.

2013 PRO-LIFE LAWS
Gov. Sam Brownback signed three pro-life bills into law in 2013.

Senate Bill 142 [“Civil Rights for the Unborn”] allows lawsuits to be filed in civil court on behalf of the wrongful death of an unborn child at any time in gestation and  prohibits the filing of civil “wrongful birth” or “wrongful life” lawsuits seeking jackpot awards for parents who claim they would have aborted their disabled child had they known the of the condition prenatally. Recently, a jury in the state of Washington awarded $50 million dollars to parents because a laboratory did not detect a genetic defect. Such a lawsuit cannot be filed now in Kansas.

Senate Bill 199 establishes the exciting and first-of-its-kind Midwest Stem Cell Therapy Center at the University of Kansas, to increase the number of clinical grade stem cells available for use in patient treatments. The Center will create education modules for the public and medical personnel and create a global database resource for physicians and patients. Currently the only successful medical stem cell treatments are those using tissue sources such as blood, bone marrow and umbilical cords. The Center bars the use of any fetal or embryonic tissue cells, which are obtained through the destruction of unborn children.

House Bill 2253 [2013 Pro-Life Protections Act] was two years in the making, with extremist liberal media whining all along the way. HB 2253

  • strengthens medically accurate information made available prior to abortion from the state health department website;
  • bans all tax-funded payment for abortion,  tax breaks for abortion businesses;
  • forbids abortions for reason of sex-selection; and
  • declares that state public policy and budget priorities will reflect the fact that human life begins at conception, subject to U.S. Supreme Court rulings.

Planned Parenthood and the abortion clinic of Herb Hodes and Traci Nauser (both in Overland Park) have sued to block HB 2253’s new requirement that abortion clinics feature a link to state abortion information on the clinic’s website homepage. In addition, after failing to secure a legal injunction against the entire HB 2253, Hodes/Nauser attorneys did secure a block on one small provision in HB 2253 defining medical emergencies.

As usual, unable to win in the realm of public opinion, abortion interests run to the courts, hoping they will land activist judges to freeze laws from going into effect. That strategy did not work well for them this year.

The office of Attorney General Derek Schmidt is managing the defense teams for all challenged pro-life laws. We expect resolution in our favor, although the pace has been especially slow on the three lawsuits filed in 2011.

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