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Posts Tagged ‘Sen. Mary Pilcher-Cook’

Sen. Rob Olson

The Kansas legislature is sending Gov. Sam Brownback another first-in-the-nation pro-life bill.

This morning the state Senate approved, 25-15, Senate sub SB 83, an update to the 1997 Woman’s Right to Know statute, that the House passed Friday 84-38.

“I think this is a bill that will help women make the right choice and an informed decision,” said Sen. Rob Olson (R-Olathe), who carried the bill today.

Rep. Susan Humphries

The Disclose Act was introduced this session in both chambers with numerous pro-life co-sponsors, including the three practicing physicians who are state representatives. The bill carrier in the House was Rep. Susan Humphries (R-Wichita).

The Disclose Act requires abortion businesses to provide –in an easily readable typeface –minimum professional information about each abortionist listed on clinics’ online informed consent documents.

Kansas abortion clinics cannot defend not providing basic data about the pool of practitioners they list on the informed consent documents they all make available online. State law requires this consent document as the gateway form that must be downloaded and time-stamped at least 24 hours prior to the abortion.

Currently if a woman uses the clinic’s form, she doesn’t “choose” the abortionist; she is assigned one. Nor can she evaluate if that practitioner is acceptable to her. She has no idea of the abortionist’s training, age, and professional reliability. This information stranglehold is not faced in any other elective procedure.

The Disclose Act requires these physician minimum topics:

  • Kansas residency,
  • medical degree year,
  • years employed at that abortion location,
  • whether hospital privileges are in effect,
  • malpractice coverage,
  • disciplinary actions completed by the State Board of Healing Arts (which regulates physicians).

Abortion clinics can very easily add this information in a one-time data entry to their online admission forms. Abortion clinics unjustifiably defend withholding this information–calling it harassment–the very words some abortion supporting Senators used today in debate.

Sen. Ty Masterson

SENATE DEBATE
A hostile motion by Sen. Dinah Sykes (R- Lenexa) to send the bill back to committee– to extend the disclosures to other medical practitioners– failed 16-23.

Sen. Ty Masterson (R-Andover) chastised opponents for veiling their opposition to the Disclose Act under the complaint that abortion was being treated differently. “Abortion is different because there is a third person involved in the procedure [the unborn baby].”

Sen. Steve Fitzgerald (R-Leavenworth) added, “The point is that in this procedure, the intended result is a dead human being.” He hammered at the claims from senators not to know this difference, saying this “must be explained not [due] to ignorance but to insincerity, deceit and self-delusion; and that is offensive.”

Sen. Steve Fitzgerald

Sen. Fitzgerald continued, charging that the actual intent of opponents “cloaked in ‘concern’ [about other medical procedures]” was

“to deny women important, relevant information in a convenient format at the appropriate time.”

Rebutting claims that the state Healing Arts Board makes providing disclosure to women unneeded, Sen. Mary Pilcher-Cook (R-Shawnee) reminded that the Board does not act as a consumer protection agency, and “it is [our] legislative duty to protect, not point to another agency.”

Sen. Mary Pilcher-Cook

Sen. Pilcher-Cook also read some excerpts from the National Abortion Federation convention which indicated the coarseness of abortionists. “The nature of abortion is ugly and it’s evil because it kills a human being,” she said.

The comment from one senator that too much time had been spent on this bill when budget issues remained, sparked this rebuttal from Sen. Gene Sullentrop (R-Wichita): “I don’t think money is more important than life…we should be making law about this and pass it.”

ABORTION VIA EMAIL
The Disclose Act is a recognition that–unlike decades ago when the Woman’s Right to Know Act became law–the great majority of abortions in Kansas are currently secured with a phone call or internet contact, not an office visit or medical referral.

Sen. Gene Suellentrop

Under state law enacted in 2013, each abortion clinic’s home page must include a live weblink to the state website for helpful “Woman’s Right to Know” information. However, proponents of the Disclose Act charge that abortion businesses have

  • disobeyed the location for that mandate or
  • printed it as to be barely-readable in tiny grey type on a tinted background.

That is the reason for requiring baseline data about abortionists be printed in black ink, 12 pt. size, on white paper.

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Sen. LaTurner

Sen. Pilcher-Cook

Last night, the Kansas Senate approved Simon’s Law, 29-11, despite a last-minute hostile amendment from Sen. Barbara Bollier (R-Mission Hills).

All but three Republicans voted in favor of this Kansans for Life-priority bill while eight of nine Democrats voted in opposition.

Simon’s Law insures that parents are the decision-makers when it comes to Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) orders for their critically ill children.

Sen. Jacob LaTurner (R-Pittsburg) carried the bill on the Senate floor, and opposed the Bollier amendment as undermining the key purpose of the bill.

Baby Simon

Simon’s Law was introduced last year and passed the Senate but wasn’t heard in the House before time ran out on the session. It is named in honor of infant Simon Crosier, whose life ended when he was denied resuscitation in a hospital, after a DNR was put on his chart without the knowledge or consent of his parents.

Parents have been uniformly shocked and disturbed to discover that DNRs could be assigned to their children without their consent. In a number of cases, families testified that their children were treated as “not worthy of life” due to chromosomal disorders. Simon had Trisomy 18.

During Thursday evening’s Senate floor debate, pro-life champion Sen. Mary Pilcher Cook brought up the issue of medical discrimination. She cited a book by former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum and his wife, Karen.

In “Bella’s Gift: How One Little Girl Transformed Our Family and Inspired a Nation,” the Santorums chronicle medical discrimination against their daughter, Bella, who, like Simon, has Trisomy 18. Sen. Santorum recounts how Bella had to be hospitalized repeatedly and for six years, medical personnel continually advised the Santorums to let her die.

Sen. Pilcher Cook warned that medical discrimination exists, and cited last year’s study in which 25-76% of responding pediatricians said they were comfortable issuing DNRs unilaterally. That is the situation Simon’s Law is meant to end.

Vocal support for parental rights during the debate on Simon’s Law also came from pro-life Senators Rob Olson (R-Olathe), Dennis Pyle (R-Hiawatha), and Steve Fitzgerald (R-Leavenworth).

Sen. Pyle

Sen. Fitzgerald

This year, Kansans for Life collaborated with medical and disability experts to produce a slightly amended version of Simon’s Law, which was commended during floor debate.

Substitute for SB 85 requires that parents be informed orally and in writing, before an order for a DNR can be placed in the medical chart of an unemancipated minor.

The delivery of that information must be recorded on the chart. Parents can allow that order to proceed or refuse it.

During conflict resolution, the child’s life must be preserved. This provision was emphasized by Sen. LaTurner as particularly important.

Sub SB 85 also requires that hospitals and medical facilities with written “futility” policies about when life-sustaining care will be denied, must disclose them to patients (or prospective patients) upon request.

Simon’s Law will have a hearing in the House Federal & State Affairs committee on Tuesday. In the House, Simon’s Law has the sponsorship of 30 State Reps, including three practicing physicians.

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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 money (2)The Kansas Legislature adjourned for the year in the wee hours of Monday morning, with two big victories in the area of pro-life healthcare. UPDATE, May 13: Gov. Brownback signed both measures into law this week.

Disappointingly, the time clock hurt us on achieving Simon’s Law, which will be explained further on in this post.

Senate Bill 248, formerly SB 436 (KFL testimony here) was enacted late Sunday evening. It enacts, as permanent law, the “Huelskamp-Kinzer” language prioritizing Title X federal reproductive health money to full-service public health clinics.

Planned Parenthood hates this mechanism because they do not qualify as full-service and it’s a big chunk of Kansas money they no longer get. Planned Parenthood filed a legal challenge against the prioritization but lost in federal appeals court. Title X Kansas funding now surpasses the pre-litigation level.

Sen. Masterson, Sen. Tyson

Sen. Masterson, Sen. Tyson

Huelskamp-Kinzer language is a model way for states to improve healthcare for the indigent, by funneling Title X money to comprehensive services at “safety net” clinics and public hospitals.

State Sen. Caryn Tyson (R- Parker) carried the bill and Sen. Ty Masterson (R-Andover) shepherded it to completion. The vote was 87-34 in the House and 32-8 in the Senate.

MIDWIVES’ ROLE IN ABORTION STOPPED
Kansas passed a large bill, HB 2615, with a number of sections regulating health care services and providers. The section governing the independent practice of midwives includes pro-life language:
            Nothing in the independent practice of midwifery act should be call midwifeconstrued to authorize a certified nurse-midwife engaging in the independent practice of midwifery under such act to perform, induce or prescribe drugs for an abortion.”

There was quite a bit of educating to do on this subject as some legislators just didn’t want to believe that nurse midwives– those most intimately dedicated to nurturing labor and delivery– would actually do abortions.  Yet the National Abortion Federation has long had a strategy for increasing “access to abortion” (i.e. more babies aborted) by expanding the scope of practice of lower level health care professionals. Read more on this topic, including a memo from National Right to Life Director of State Legislation, Mary Spaulding Balch, J.D. here.

Sen. O'Donnell, Sen. Pilcher Cook

Sen. O’Donnell, Sen. Pilcher Cook

Sen. Sen. Michael O’Donnell (R-Wichita) and Sen. Mary Pilcher Cook (R-Shawnee) were real champions on insuring the abortion ban stayed with the midwives’ regulation. The House passed the final healthcare bill 115-7, but only after Senators voted 26-12 to insure that the final version kept the pro-life language.

TIME CRUNCH HURT SIMON’s LAW
This year’s Kansas legislature was dominated by a budget crisis, and in an unprecedented move, leadership cancelled two weeks of legislative session time.  This really doomed House consideration of Simon’s Law, despite heroic

Sen. Laturner, Rep. Pauls

Sen. LaTurner, Rep. Pauls

attempts by bill sponsor, Sen. Jacob LaTurner (R-Pittsburg), vice-chair of the Senate Federal & State Affairs committee, and Rep. Jan Pauls (R-Hutchinson), Chair of the House Federal & State Affairs committee, to maneuver it to get a House vote.

Simon’s Law is a vital bill to protect parental rights in preventing the unilateral issuance of Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) for minors. The measure has gained tremendous public enthusiasm, and secured an amazing 37-3 bipartisan vote in the Kansas Senate. With support of pediatric specialists across the country and four pro-life medical groups, Kansas ought to be enacting Simon’s Law next year.

baby SImon Crosier died to a secret DNR

baby Simon Crosier died due to a secret DNR

Lest too rosy a picture be painted about Simon’s Law, however, it must be noted that not one Kansas medical facility or physician group officially testified about the measure—pro, con or neutral—and many well-paid medical lobbyists out of the public eye pushed to kill the bill. Apparently, the current ability to issue DNRs unilaterally is sadly a power that too many medical entities do not want brokered by parents.

The movement to educate the public about discrimination in life-sustaining procedures has just begun and the entire nation needs Simon’s Law.

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Sen. Mary Pilcher-Cook, with health committee presenters: Dr. David Prentice, stem cell patient Richard Walters, Dr. Dana Winegarner, & Director Dr. Buddhadeb Dawn

Sen. Mary Pilcher-Cook, with health committee presenters: Dr. David Prentice, stem cell patient Richard Walters, Dr. Dana Winegarner, & Director Dr. Buddhadeb Dawn

What was once only a dream has become a reality– the Midwest Stem Cell Therapy Center at the University of Kansas Medical Center will host its inaugural in-depth educational conference about adult stem cell treatments Saturday, Nov. 23 in Kansas City. See details here.

The purpose of this conference (which provides continuing education credits) is to update health professionals and trainees about advances in therapy with adult stem cells, as well as explaining adult stem cell biology and its potential for tissue and organ regeneration.

Adult stem cell treatments in the form of bone marrow transplants have been used for many years to successfully treat leukemia and related bone/blood cancers. The scientific community is now focusing on additional therapeutic options including organ repair. The Midwest Stem Cell Therapy Center was created this year by the Kansas Legislature, (read here) under the leadership of Gov. Sam Brownback and Sen. Mary Pilcher-Cook, in order to:

  • facilitate the “translation” of basic stem cell research findings into actual clinical applications;
  • multiply clinical grade stem cells obtained from adult tissues, cord blood, and other sources, excluding embryonic and fetal;
  • increase the number of patients receiving stem cell treatments;
  • educate medical professionals and the public;
  • create and maintain a global database of available stem cell trials and therapies.

The Center’s director is Buddhadeb Dawn, M.D., current director of the KU Med Center’s Cardiovascular Division, who has been engaged in promising adult stem cell therapy for cardiac repair. International stem cell expert, Dr. David A Prentice, has been appointed to the Center’s 15-member advisory board.

Let your favorite medical personnel know about this exciting conference!

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Sen. Mary Pilcher-Cook

Sen. Mary Pilcher-Cook

The Kansas Pro-Life Protections Act (HB 2253) passed the Senate by a vote of 29-11, after a nearly 3-hour debate Monday that focused on extraneous amendments offered by pro-abortion Democrat Senators.

Only one amendment (tweaking the tax code) was adopted. Because of that, HB 2253 must procedurally be “re-passed” in the House before heading to Gov. Sam Brownback’s desk.

The Pro-Life Protections Act actually enacts no new restrictions on abortion, rather it:

  • recognizes that life begins at fertilization for purposes of public policy decisions;
  • prevents state discrimination against pro-life entities;
  • restricts tax-payer funding for abortion;
  • defunds abortion training at the state university medical school;
  • keeps abortion businesses out of public school sex-ed;
  • codifies informed consent topics already used by the state health department;
  • strengthens medical and community support for Down Syndrome & other conditions.

Sen. Mary Pilcher-Cook (R-Shawnee), Chair of the Health committee, introduced and defended HB 2253 as positive and protective legislation. She had her hands full explaining what the bill didn’t contain when rebutting senators repeating the spin that liberal pro-abortion forums like the Huffington Post have spewed for two years.

Sen. David Haley (D-Kansas City), who ordinarily causes pro-lifers to groan, really startled observers Monday by first complaining that abortion opponents “impose narrow Taliban-like philosophies” and then with his repeated–and bizarre– claim that “this bill would empower rapists.” Haley twice admitted in debate that “he didn’t know what was in the bill,” even though he was in the committee that took testimony and ‘worked’ the bill!

Haley offered three hostile amendments that failed; the first one was identical to the Wilson amendment which was offered and failed 2 weeks ago during House debate on this same bill.  Though described as limiting three abortion laws for women pregnant by assault, the language actually would invalidate ALL Kansas abortion statutes, including—just to name a few– informed consent, parental involvement, physician penalties, and protection of unborn children who feel pain.

Haley’s  second amendment was described as keeping birth control legal, which is already in Kansas statute, and his third motion was to table the bill.

Sen. Marci Francisco (D-Lawrence) introduced four amendments, one of which would overturn our 2011 law that excludes elective abortion coverage in private health plans. The ACLU took this law to court (a law which other states have had on the books for decades), forcing Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt to defend it. As the trial neared, the ACLU dropped the suit.

Francisco also made a motion to expand abortion deductions and a motion to add domestic partner language to the bill; those amendments failed. Her tax-tweaking amendment succeeded.

Senate Minority leader, Anthony Hensley (D-Topeka), heartily endorsed every defeated motion.

The third abortion supporter to offer an amendment was freshman Sen. Pat Pettey (D-Kansas City). She wanted breast cancer and pre-term birth topics removed from the bill’s informed consent provisions.

KDHE (the state health department) has determined for 15 years that these topics are relevant to provide legally acceptable informed consent.

KDHE cites the Institute of Medicine and a 2009 international meta-analysis in their exposition of possible future pre-term birth risk.

As for breast cancer, KDHE has a modest section citing that there are studies for and against what is known as “the independent” risk factor of abortion. What is pre-eminent is the incontrovertible biological evidence that the risk of breast cancer is reduced with a full-term delivery. An already-pregnant woman deserves that information.

In fact, a national Planned Parenthood fact sheet (submitted by the Kansas City affiliate in opposition to HB 2253) actually reinforces this fact in their breast cancer section:

“reproductive factors have been associated with risk for the disease since the seventeenth century…it is known that having a full-term pregnancy early in a woman’s childbearing years is protective against breast cancer.”

Now compare Planned Parenthood’s statement above with the first 3 sentences in the KDHE abortion informed consent booklet, under breast cancer risk:

 Your chances of getting breast cancer are affected by your pregnancy history. If you have carried a pregnancy to term as a young woman, you may be less likely to get breast cancer in the future. However, your risk is not reduced if your pregnancy is ended by an abortion.

The language is nearly identical! Sen. Pettey’s amendment failed. The challengers sought headlines, not improvements for the bill. Kansans can be proud of this legislation.

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Sen. President Susan Wagle

Sen. President Susan Wagle

Pro-life legislation is broader than just abortion limitations, as the pro-life Kansas Senate demonstrated by passing two measures today: SB 199, establishing an adult stem cell clearinghouse and therapy center, and SB 142, enhancing civil litigation rights for the unborn.

By voice vote Thursday,(UPDATE: final count 33-7) the Senate approved creating a novel and globally important Midwest Stem Cell Therapy Center at the University of Kansas (KU). Before the vote was taken, Senate President, Susan Wagle (R-Wichita) provided a ringing endorsement.

“I am pleased to see this legislation, endorsed completely by KU. My son, Paul, relapsed in 2006 from leukemia after two and a half years of chemotherapy. We tested family members and could not find a match for bone marrow.

“We called Gov. Sam Brownback, who was U.S. Senator at the time, because he had worked for years to promote stem cell research. The governor connected us with a New York doctor doing research trials who had established a cord blood bank. We found a match with a baby in NY and Paul got the [resulting stem cell] treatment in Texas.

When you vote for this bill, you are planting a seed…this is about cures, saving lives and new research. I ask you all to vote for it.”

The bill’s prime sponsor, Sen. Mary Pilcher-Cook (R-Shawnee) asked her fellow Senators to consider that, “ everyone has some kind of disease in family that has caused tragedy, our family has Huntington’s Disease.  Kansas needs to be in the forefront to help people.”

Kansas City ethicist at Rockhurst University, Dr. John Morris, had testified in support of the center as a deterrent to the alarming phenomenon of “stem cell tourism” in which suffering Americans are lured abroad – largely via internet– for unproven stem cell applications by unqualified personnel. The proposed center will be located in the Kansas City metro area, and will:

•    treat patients,
•    process and multiply stem cells,
•    create a centrally-located global database,
•    network physicians and scientists, and
•    initiate educational outreach.

In other action Thursday, the Senate passed SB 142, “Civil Rights for the Unborn” by a vote of 34-5-1. SB 142 will ban any so-called “wrongful birth and wrongful life” lawsuits claiming that the child, in essence, is a ‘damage’.  Nine other states statutorily bar wrongful birth suits and ten statutorily bar wrongful life suits.

SB 142 also addresses civil suits brought on behalf of the wrongful death of an unborn child, so that they can be filed on behalf of a child throughout gestation, not just after viability. The unborn child in Kansas since 2007 has enjoyed such protection under criminal law, as the second victim when a pregnant woman is a victim of crime.

Both SB 199 and SB 142 now move to the House for consideration.

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