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Posts Tagged ‘Unborn Child Protection from DIsmemberment Abortion Act’

KFL's Jeanne Gawdun thanks Speaker Pro-Tem Paggy Mast for 20 years of service and pro-life leadership

KFL’s lobbyist, Jeanne Gawdun, thanks Speaker Pro-Tem Peggy Mast (right) for 20 years of service and pro-life leadership.

The upcoming 2017 legislative session in Topeka will open with our staunchly pro-life Governor and pro-life majorities in the House and Senate, but without 50 familiar faces.

23 pro-life lawmakers are retiring this year: 16 pro-life state reps and 7 senators. Add to that the 21 pro-life reps and 6 pro-life senators who did not win re-election. That’s a challenging loss of the experience of nearly one-third of both chambers.

There is an “institutional knowledge” of how successful laws get accomplished and how to avoid pitfalls. Veteran pro-life lawmakers:

  • are quick to catch dangerous amendments that would harm good pro-life bills;
  • advise new legislators against unwise concessions;
  • discourage bad proposals before they even become formal bills;
  • know the parliamentary procedures and when to press leadership for action;
  • are experienced at responding to constituents and pro-abortion lobbyists.

Kansas has passed great pro-life laws although it has been discouraging to have some jammed up in court. And soon, the Kansas Supreme Court will be ruling on the abortion attorneys’ proposed state right to abortion– with more extreme consequences than what we were given in Roe v Wade.

But at this juncture, we want to express our appreciation to the exiting lawmakers who stood up for the unborn, including being the first in the nation to pass the Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act. They deserve our gratitude– please send them a note of thanks! House contacts and Senate contacts.

Exiting Senators:
Steve Abrams, Tom Arpke, Terry Bruce, Les Donovan, Mitch Holmes, Jeff King, Forrest Knox, Garrett Love, Jeff Melcher, Michael O’Donnell, Ralph Ostmeyer, Larry Powell, and Greg Smith.

Exiting House Reps:
Steve Anthimides, Tony Barton, Sue Boldra, John Bradford, Rob Bruchman, Will Carpenter, John Edmonds, John Ewy, Mario Goico, Ramon Gonzalez, Amanda Grosserode, Dennis Hedke, Lane Hemsley, Jerry Henry, Brett Hildabrand, Becky Hutchins, Mark Hutton, Dick Jones, Mark Kahrs, Kasha Kelley, Jerry Lunn, Charles Macheers, Peggy Mast, Craig McPherson, Ray Merrick, Tom Moxley, Connie O’Brien, Jan Pauls, Virgil Peck, Marty Read, Marc Rhoades, John Rubin, Ron Ryckman, Sr., Joe Scapa, Sharon Schwartz, Chuck Smith, and James Todd.

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"the Hand of Hope" photo by Michael Clancy, 1999

“the Hand of Hope”by Michael Clancy, 1999

Six states have now banned brutal and inhumane abortions that dismember fully formed unborn children.

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards signed into law “the Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act” last Friday, joining — in order– Kansas, Oklahoma, West Virginia, Mississippi, and Alabama, whose citizens embraced the necessity of passing this model legislation provided by the National Right to Life Committee.

In coverage of this law, most outlets, particularly  the Associated Press, refuse to even use the term “dismemberment” which is defined in this legislation.  Also unsurprisingly, the media  never challenge abortion supporters to defend the appalling savagery of slicing a living unborn baby to pieces.

Yet, even with biased media coverage, the public understood the gruesomeness of sharp metal tools tearing apart the tiny limbs of well-developed children while in their mothers’ wombs.

A majority of Americans who increasingly describe themselves as pro-life know that abortion is not done on a blob of tissue. Many of them confirmed that understanding after seeing a famous photo of a little hand reaching out of his mother’s womb.

That milestone photograph is called  “The Hand of Hope” taken Aug. 19, 1999 by Michael Clancy. The photo took the world by storm when it first appeared in USA Today on Sept. 7, 1999. The tiny hand of Samuel Armas, at 21weeks gestation, is captured grasping the skilled hand of the doctor performing innovative surgery to correct spina bifida. All this occurs while Samuel was still in his mother’s womb.

“I could see the uterus shake violently and then this little fist came out of the surgical opening,” Clancy recalls. “It came out under its own power. When Dr. Bruner lifted the little hand, I fired my camera and the tighter Samuel squeezed, the harder Dr. Bruner shook his hand.”

Gov. Brownback

Gov. Brownback

Gov. Sam Brownback remarked about that photograph in his May 5, 2015 letter commemorating the signing of the Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act in Kansas:

“What a visually impactful moment: the delicate, miniscule hand with each finger and nail, trustingly holding on to the doctor. There is little debate over whether the child in utero is alive; the debate is over whether or not the child is a life worthy of protection.

Clancy’s lens encapsulates so much meaning in that one shot: a vulnerable, functioning, unborn child, not yet ready to survive outside of his mother who nevertheless lies completely at the mercy of the physician’s medical talent—and ethics.

Clancy says he was “pro-choice” before the snapshot, but not afterwards.

He recognized in that one critical moment what was actually at stake in abortion—not a “choice” but a unique and unrepeatable human individual connected to the human community.

Truly, the unborn child developing in the safety of his mother’s womb is absolutely at the mercy of the laws regulating physicians. Preserving the dignity of that relationship between the mother, child and physician dictated that six states prohibit barbaric dismemberment method abortions.

All pro-lifers who have worked so hard to enact the Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act —and those in other states yet to do so– would no doubt agree with this thought from Gov. Brownback’s letter:

“Protection is at the heart of this law. Protection of an actively developing baby with his or her unique DNA, and who can be seen thumb-sucking, hand-waving, and smiling in routine sonography. A defenseless child with so much potential.”

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smaller baby in bronze judicial scale

Judges, protect the unborn!

Just before the holiday weekend, key arguments were filed with the state Supreme Court of Kansas on behalf of abortionists who want to continue dismembering living unborn babies limb from limb until they bleed to death, and from attorneys for the state Attorney General’s office who are defending the state’s ban on dismemberment abortions.

Last April 2015, Kansas was the first state to pass “The Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act.” Four other states have now enacted this law –Oklahoma, West Virginia, Mississippi, and Alabama. The bill is on the governor’s desk in Louisiana and expected to be signed perhaps today.

The federal constitutionality of this ban has not been tested, but it was drafted as the logical consequence of the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2007 Gonzales ruling upholding a federal ban on heinous partial-birth abortion method abortions.  Gonzales was based on the reasoning that abortionists’ preferences cannot trump compelling governmental interests in regulating the medical profession and voicing respect for human life and dignity.

Hodes & Nauser

Abortionists Nauser & Hodes

BACKGROUND, KANSAS LAWSUIT
Attorneys from the New York City-based Center for Reproductive Rights (CRR) challenged the Kansas dismemberment ban in state court last June on behalf of Kansas City suburban father-daughter abortionists, Herb Hodes and Traci Nauser. They asserted that a hitherto-undiscovered Kansas constitutional foundation exists for abortions—one that precludes banning dismemberment method abortions.

 Judge Hendricks

Judge Hendricks

Shawnee District Court Judge Larry Hendricks found the novel CRR position so appealing that within moments of the oral arguments last July, he imposed an injunction preventing the ban from going into effect.

Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt sought immediately to undo that injunction with the Kansas state Court of Appeals. (see documents here) However the Court of Appeals rendered a split ruling January 22, allowing these abortions to continue unabated.

AG Derek Schmidt

AG Derek Schmidt

Both sides appealed to the state Supreme Court. (see AG supplemental filing and abortionist supplemental filing) In addition to arguing that the trial judge’s conclusion was in error, Schmidt’s office argued that the appellate ruling was –in fact—actually a 7-6-1 decision and is hopelessly confusing. The state Supreme Court has since agreed to review the matter but the hearing date has not yet been set.

NATIONAL IMPACT
If the claim that abortion is grounded in the state Constitution succeeds, the strategy will undoubtedly be used in every other state. Thus these new legal filings last week are of the utmost importance not just to Kansas but to all states. Of paramount concern is that credence will be given to these abortion attorneys’ claims:

  1. that a state Constitution must be contorted to contain an even more radical basis for unlimited abortion than that of the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v Wade ruling;
  2. that the Kansas Bill of Rights language about “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” (that many states share) must elevate woman’s “self-determination” and “decisional autonomy” and ignore the distinct, separate rights of the fully-human unborn child; and
  3. that Courts must be emboldened to ignore plain reading standards and accept “evolving” reasons to invalidate duly-passed legislation.
KS court appeals

Kansas Court of Appeals

On Jan . 22, 2016, seven of the 14 members of the Kansas state Court of Appeals firmly rejected those claims. They acknowledged what seven other appellate judges ignored—that there is an unborn child’s right to life at stake.

“Because the Kansas Constitution provides no substantive due process right to abortion, our legislature is free to restrict abortion procedures to the extent it finds it appropriate.”

Furthermore, they rightly concluded there is no right to abortion “expressly found in the text” of the state Constitution and that “it should not be done by judicial decree.”

Ks Supreme Court

Kansas Supreme Court

As the Kansas Supreme Court begins consideration of this issue, they:

  • should refuse to take the pro-abortion activist stance which invents abortion protection that did not exist in the Kansas pre-Civil War Constitution, nor afterward, and
  • should properly stay within its judicial boundaries and affirm duly-passed laws that protect tiny unborn girls and boys from inhumane torture.

We can only hope and pray this Court will do the right thing.

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2015 Rally for Life 2015 Rally for Life urges ban on dismemberment abortion bans

Last April, Kansas became the first state to pass legislation barring the barbaric dismemberment method abortions. Now, under challenge  by pro-abortionists, that first-of-its-kind law, which is on hold, is about to be reviewed by the Kansas Supreme Court.

This ban prohibits the gruesome abortion method of tearing apart fully-formed, living babies– limb by limb– until they bleed to death.

The Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act, model legislation drafted by the National Right to Life Committee, has since been enacted by Oklahoma, West Virginia, and (soon) Mississippi. This vital legislation has also been introduced in Pennsylvania, Minnesota, Idaho, Nebraska, Missouri, Louisiana, Rhode Island, and Utah.

Thus the impact of the ruling by our Supreme Court will extend beyond our state borders.

The premise of the Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act comes from the U.S. Supreme Court Gonzales ruling. In that 2007 decision, the justices upheld a ban on partial-birth abortions by acknowledging that,

“the State may use its regulatory power to bar certain procedures and substitute others, all in furtherance of its legitimate interests in regulating the medical profession in order to promote respect for life, including life of the unborn.”

Abortion supporters have thus sought to find and secure in state constitutions a broader and more unassailable “right” to abortion.

pro-abortion judgesThat’s what happened in Kansas last June, when Shawnee District Court Judge Larry Hendricks blocked the ban on dismemberment abortions from going into effect.  Hendricks adopted abortion attorney arguments–literally–asserting that the Kansas state Constitution protects abortion even more fundamentally than the standard established by the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision.

The temporary injunction was obtained by the New York-based Center for Reproductive Rights on behalf of Kansas’ father-daughter abortionists at the Center for Women’s Health in suburban Kansas City.

The injunction allows three Kansas abortion businesses to continue to perform these grisly procedures — 629 last year–at a cost of up to $2,000 each.

That activist ruling by Judge Hendricks was left standing when the full Kansas Court of Appeals reviewed it and announced on January 22 that they were divided, 7-7.

However, pro-life Attorney General Derek Schmidt appealed the appellate decision to the state’s highest court. Schmidt argued that the appellate ruling does not make precedent and current abortion lawsuits remain in limbo without clear guidance. Yesterday, it was announced the appeal will be heard. (documents here) Here are the three questions that the state of Kansas has posed for the state Supreme Court to rule on:

  1. Does the Kansas Constitution create a right to abortion?
  2. If that right exists, does it clearly prevent government from regulating dismemberment abortions?
  3. Did the Court of Appeals wrongly accept the lower court’s facts and legal standard?

Our state Constitution was enacted in 1859, when abortion was illegal in Kansas and across the nation. Yet one radical judge of the Kansas Court of Appeals, G. Gordon Atcheson (writing to concur with the injunction against the dismemberment abortion ban) believes that the state Constitution is an “evolving” document with an “ever more enlightened understanding of humanity” and women’s “self-determination.”

Mary Kay Culp, KFL executive director commented, “The challenge we face is whether a majority of the Kansas Supreme Court will follow the U.S. Supreme Court’s holding that allows states to ban barbaric abortion methods, or whether it will follow Appellate Judge Atcheson’s opinion that the dismembering of unborn children comports with an ‘enlightened understanding of humanity’.”

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Ks Supreme Ct

The Kansas Supreme Court

Filed electronically after 5p.m. tonight, Monday, the Kansas Supreme Court has granted review of the appeal by the Kansas Attorney General in the matter of the Kansas Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act. (documents here)

The hearing has not yet been set and both sides will file supplemental briefs to be submitted within 30 days. Here is the  summary of litigation thus far:

Pro-life Gov. Sam Brownback signed SB 95, the dismemberment method ban, on April 7, 2015 after it passed 31-9 in the Senate and 98-26 in the House. The law is not in effect.

The Overland Park Center for Women’s Health (CWH), the office of father -daughter abortion duo, Herb Hodes and Traci Nauser, filed suit against the ban in federal court and won a temporary injunction from Shawnee District Court Judge Larry Hendricks June 25, 2015.  Judge Hendricks adopted the arguments of the abortion attorneys hook, line and sinker.

Attorney General Derek Schmidt filed an appeal of that ruling, claiming that it is “a fantasy” that the Kansas state constitution of 1859 protects a right to abortion (much less one that upholds gruesome dismemberment of living, well-formed unborn children!).

The appeal was taken up by the Kansas Court of Appeals when the Kansas Supreme Court refused to intervene. On Jan. 22, 2016, the appellate court delivered a split ruling which meant the lower court temporary injunction would be upheld.

The Attorney General again filed an appeal, this time asking the Kansas Supreme Court to expeditiously review the appellate decision, asserting that

the Court of Appeals wasn’t truly split, but rather had ruled 7-6-1, finding there is no protection for abortion under the Kansas Constitution.

The Kansas Supreme Court needs to move expeditiously for several reasons, urges the A.G. filing; two other lawsuits filed by CWH (in 2011 and 2013) are lagging in state court and would be directly impacted by a decision about this so-called fundamental state right to abortion.

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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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AG Derek Schmidt

AG Schmidt

On Monday, Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt filed an appeal with the Kansas Supreme Court, asking for an expedited ruling on the question of whether the Kansas Constitution embodies a right to abortion.

A  7-7 ruling from the Court of Appeals on Jan. 22  maintained a district court’s temporary injunction against the Kansas Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Act.

However, Schmidt  asserts that properly understood,  the 7-7 tie is really a 7-6-1 ruling,  thus denying any state constitutional right to abortion.

The appeal (ironically titled a “prayer” in legal jargon) argues that the heart of the Court of Appeals ruling is whether the state Bill of Rights mimics the due process protection of the federal Fourteenth Amendment that is the basis for Roe v Wade.

  • Seven appellate judges (in the dissent, penned by Chief Judge Thomas Malone) held that the state Bill of Rights does not provide “Roe” protection,
  • six judges (in the ruling written by Judge Steve Leben) said the state Bill of Rights does provide “Roe” protection by extension, and
  • one concurrence (by Judge G. Gordon Atcheson) conceded that the state Bill of Rights’ Article 1 really doesn’t match up with “Roe” but no matter because abortion is protected in a stronger way.

    Judge Atcheson

    Judge Atcheson

Judge Atcheson wrote, “Article 1 provides a constitutional protection [for abortion] that has no direct analog in the federal Constitution… [it] effectuates self-determination consistent with an evolving and ever more enlightened understanding of humanity across both race and gender.”

He also wrote, “a woman’s right of self-determination, as established in Article 1, takes precedence [over a fetus] incapable of free-will or self-determination,” and “I cannot infer a particular legislative purpose or governmental interest advanced in Senate Bill 95 [the dismemberment ban].”

Truly the abortion protection that Judge Atcheson wishes to be found in Kansas’ 1859 Bill of Rights is broader than Roe and –if agreed to by the Kansas Supreme Court—poses a threat to all existent pro-life laws in this state.

On the other hand, the six appellate judges who want a state right to be an extension of Roe implicitly would examine pro-life laws under the “undue burden” standard, which is more workable than if abortion is declared fundamentally protected and laws have to pass “strict scrutiny.”

Because the appellate court really left all Kansas courts adrift in confusion, Schmidt urges the Kansas Supreme Court to take up the issue. Until it is resolved, it will continue to be raised in existent and future lawsuits, he argued.

At issue is a compelling constitutional question of “first impression.” That is something that ultimately only the Kansas Supreme Court can resolve.

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