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Posts Tagged ‘“Woman’s Right to Know” law’

Gov. Brownback signs pro-life Disclose Act

Today, Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback signed Senate Bill 83, the DISCLOSE ACT, into law. He told the assembled audience,

“The dignity of life and the inherent right to life is shared by all people, both born and unborn. The complexities surrounding countless crisis pregnancies are many and varied. Too often women are led to believe that abortion is their only option when it clearly, clearly is not. Regardless of a woman’s ultimate decision regarding abortion, she has a right to know about the provider and their medical qualifications.

The Disclose Act is an important update to the state’s 1997 Woman’s Right to Know Act that dictates basic professional information required on abortion informed consent documents. It passed the Senate 25-15 and the House 84-38. The bill had many sponsors in both chambers, and the strong support of the three practicing physicians who are state reps.

The Disclose Act is a response to the fact Kansas abortion clinics minimize and undermine state-required information they find unfavorable to the abortion sale.

During debate about SB 83, pro-life Senators committed their support of SB 83 into the formal record:

“Before this legislation in Kansas, there was no way for women to know when a clinic had a 100% turnover of their staff in 3 years, or about the recent hire of a 76-year-old neurologist that would give abortions but has not had ob-gyn training, or many other various issues that could endanger their health…. Because of the nature of abortion, however, which causes women to want privacy for a variety of reasons, women need ready access to this information to make the best decisions for their care.”

Specifically, SB 83 requires that professional data for each abortionist be listed on the consent form, including:

  • any negative disciplinary actions from the State Healing Arts Board,
  • state of residency,
  • year medical degree attained,
  • when employment at this clinic began,
  • status of local hospital privileges,
  • malpractice insurance.

Abortions in Kansas are mostly obtained with only an email or phone contact; no medical referral or office visit is required. 65% of abortions in Kansas are being obtained for the first time, meaning those women have no concept of the procedure or knowledge of the skill of the practitioners.

Moreover, in Kansas, women don’t “choose” an abortionist; they are assigned one. In fact, contrary to legislative intent, women are instructed to download the clinic form at home and sign “consent” to a list of all potential abortionists on staff.

CLINICS BURY DISFAVORED INFO
Kansas abortion clinics all design their online consent forms with the sections of state-required data that they deem unfavorable formatted in reduced font size and hard-to-read ink color. This is in addition to negative comments about the validity of the required information.

At least one clinic alters the legal wording of a state-required live link to the state Health Department and buries it amidst pages of clinic information instead of placing it on the clinic website home page!

The Media Research Center reported yesterday that the Disclose Act,

“will give women more information on the doctors about to perform their abortion procedures…but the new regulation has inspired a leftist freak-out…obsessed with the bill’s font size requirement. It makes total sense that the state [legislature] would require a specific font size in order to prevent providers from trying to circumvent the law by using minute, unreadable lettering. If the purpose of the bill is to ensure women are able to make an informed decision, it needs to make sure the women are actually informed (i.e. they can read the information they are given).”

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Votes in both chambers are imminent for the Disclose Act– an update of the 1997 Kansas “Woman’s Right to Know Act.”

The Disclose Act addresses the reality that 65% of Kansas abortions are “first-time” events, with the great majority of women knowing NOTHING about the procedure or the abortionist—much less his/her training, skill, or access to hospital facilities for a mishap.

Women are unaware of the following situations in Kansas:

  1. One clinic has had 100% turnover of their abortionist staff in 3 years; their current Kansas-resident practitioner agreed not to practice ob/gyn, under a State Board of Healing Arts disciplinary action.
  2. One clinic has recently hired a 76-year-old neurologist without ob/gyn formal training to do abortions.
  3. One clinic requires an overnight hotel visit for “2-day abortion procedures” and falsely labels the stay as “required under Kansas law.”

Kansans for Life has been told that, notwithstanding the state Board of Healing Arts’ “appreciating” our concerns for women, they will take no action for the above situations.

Yet abortion attorney Bob Eye told House and Senate committees this year that the Board insures abortionists meet rigorous standards and women therefore need not be told any professional data about them!

ABORTIONS ARRANGED ONLINE
All Kansas abortion businesses have individualized “informed consent” documents required to be downloaded 24 hours prior to the woman’s trip to the abortion clinic. The great majority of women obtaining Kansas abortions will be in the facility only on the day of the abortion, and nearly half of them are residents of another state.

The current abortion online consent documents fail to fully meet what the legislature has decreed for informed consent; instead, the clinics are:

  • using various formatting and fonts to downplay important state-required information and
  • undermining the requirement that each woman is giving consent to ONE specific practitioner –not a list of possibles.

KFL’s priority, the Disclose Act , (now renumbered as S sub SB 83) will help remedy these deficiencies; abortion business compliance will merely require a few minutes of one-time data entry. (see post here)

The Disclose Act will require

  1. the Kansas informed consent provisions be printed out in 12pt. black ink, Times Roman font, which is nationally recognized for readability, and
  2. seven “bullet points” of information be given for each listed abortionist.

Kansas “Voices for Choice” current abortion lobbying materials characterize the Disclose Act as “intended to undermine the confidence” in the abortionists whom the women can “get to know…when they meet with him/her 30 minutes before the abortion.”

Are they serious? (Pause for eye-rolling.)

Women contemplating elective abortion assume that Kansas regulators protect them from disqualified and/or untrained abortionists. Since that isn’t the case, women deserve passage of the Disclose Act.

On Thursday afternoon, the Disclose Act became part of a “conference committee report” process headed for votes in both chambers over the next few days.

ACTION ITEM: Contact your State Rep and Senator TODAY to urge passage of the Disclose Act, S sub SB 83. (Use this link if you don’t remember who your legislators are.)

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Neurologist Bettinger at PP

Kansas has a history of abortionists lacking formal training in obstetrics & gynecology, and abortion clinics have kept women in the dark about that.

Even now, with Kansas abortion clinics posting their abortion admission/consent forms online, they have not been including profile data on their abortionists on that form.  Knowing zilch about the abortionist contradicts the intent of full “consent.”

Kansas abortion clinic websites (except one very newly updated site) give no inkling of

  • the abortionists’ ages (five of the eight Kansas providers are over age 74)
  • or training (or lack of it).

For example, the Planned Parenthood business in Overland Park, Kansas, has recently begun listing a 76-year-old neurologist/psychiatrist, Irene E. Bettinger, on their online abortion consent form.

Bettinger received a medical degree 51 years ago. It’s anyone’s guess why she’s begun doing abortions. There was no news release found about Bettinger, or her qualifications for abortion provision. Perhaps she’s getting “on the job” training from Planned Parenthood’s other two abortionists, 76-year-old Ron Yeomans and 75-year-old Orrin Moore.

Abortionists Yeomans & Moore

In 2005, Bettinger testified against a pro-life bill in Kansas designed to protect teens from rapists coercing them into abortion. She has financially contributed to Planned Parenthood. But that is incidental to the fact that Planned Parenthood has decided she will be their provider.

Women searching for information online about Kansas abortion clinics only learn what the businesses want them to know.

Abortions in Kansas are contracted with one phone call or email contact. The Kansas Board of Healing Arts website can be searched to find some data on licensees, but there is no information on malpractice suits filed, the state where the abortionist actually resides, or the length of time they have been employed by the clinic.

The Kansas abortion consent forms (all online) are statutorily intended to be a “contract” verifying that the woman is fully informed about “her” provider, the exact abortion method to be used, medical risks, and the developmental characteristics of her unborn child.

The current abortion consent forms are not personalized, specific fact-based contracts.  They name all the staff abortionists, leaving each woman guessing whether she is stuck with someone who

  • is very inexperienced –or long past retirement;
  • has merited– or been stripped of– hospital privileges; and
  • is only in Kansas a few hours per month for abortions and not available for complications.

A KFL priority bill, the Disclose Act, HB 2319, was passed by the Kansas House 87-37 on March 30. An identical companion Senate version, Disclose Act, SB 98, awaits a vote in the Senate after they return from their recess in three weeks. The Disclose Act requires seven bullet points of data for each staff abortionist be itemized on the consent form.

Women should be given all relevant medical information before weighing an abortion decision, as well as a list of the free maternity support services in Kansas. The Woman’s Right to Know website provides this information and state law says that abortion clinics must post “an easily identifiable link” to that site on the clinic’s “home page.”

But that is not happening!  One abortion business has no state link on the home page and the other clinics drastically reduce the link’s type size and use light grey ink so it’s barely visible, or readable, much less “easily identifiable.”

Abortion clinic websites that are not correctly following Kansas law to help inform women are at the same time withholding the most elementary and pertinent information about their staff practitioners.

That needs to change.

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new year baby2014 saw many pro-life victories for Kansas, the fruit of decades of efforts by pro-lifers to fight a culture of death through education, legislation and providing loving help to women feeling abandoned during pregnancy. Kansans for Life played a key role in these efforts, with exciting new developments in the works.

Pro-lifers can proudly claim credit for the fact that pro-life candidates won all of Kansas’ statewide offices, along with 94 of the 125 seats in the Kansas House of Representatives in the 2014 elections. Notably, pro-life stalwarts Governor Sam Brownback and U.S. Senator Pat Roberts won re-election over their radically pro-abortion challengers.

As officially reported by the Kansas Department of Health & Environment, the number of Kansas abortions dropped to 7,485 in 2013, from 7,598 in 2012 (2014 numbers aren’t available until March 2015). Many reasons can be attributed to the continued drop,  including the improved availability of informed consent information online and increased utilization of pregnancy care centers statewide.

  • No late-term abortions (after 22 weeks pregnancy) are allowed in Kansas due to a 2011 pro-life law acknowledging the unborn child’s ability to feel pain.
  • Abortions for sex-selection reasons are illegal.
  • Minors must secure two-parent consent to abortion.

Kansas is now down to three abortion clinics. The Kansas City Aid for Women abortion clinic closed abruptly at the end of July. It claimed the reason for the sudden closure was the retirement of its 73-year-old abortionist but this clinic was notorious for its string of abortionists with lengthy histories of malpractice cases and disciplinary actions issued by the state medical board. Not surprisingly, Aid for Women failed to attain a state-issued license in June 2011 after passage of the Kansas clinic licensure and regulation law– a pro-life law currently under legal challenge. The clinic admitted it would “have to gut the place” to be in compliance and thus Kansas women and unborn children are safer with the closing of this substandard clinic.

Kansas continues to successfully defend pro-life laws promoted by Kansans for Life.

A major pro-life legal win occurred in early May when Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri dropped its 2011 lawsuit in federal court. They had sued against the Kansas budget provision that prioritized federal family planning funds be given to public full-service clinics rather than “specialty” clinics like Planned Parenthood. After the state’s budget authority was upheld, Planned Parenthood’s already-failing “abortion-feeder”clinic in Hays closed its doors – showing that this clinic relied on government money to survive.

Just weeks ago, Planned Parenthood also backed out of another lawsuit, in federal court, just days before it was headed to trial.  At issue was their past refusal to obey a provision of the 2013 Pro-Life Protections Act that required that every abortion clinic website have a live link on their home page that connected to the state’s Woman’s Right to Know website. The law intends that there be “one-click access” to sonogram images and information about the development of the unborn child to anyone remotely, or directly, considering abortion.

This year the Hodes-Nauser abortion clinic also lost its legal block (an injunction in state district court) of the same weblink provision. All three abortion clinics are now compliant with that live link. Thus, the fourth success for defense attorneys under Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt in defending sound pro-life laws promoted by Kansans for Life.

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A.G.Schmidt

A.G. Schmidt

Great news! Planned Parenthood of Kansas & Mid-Missouri has withdrawn its challenge in federal court to a Kansas law requiring that its website homepage contain a live link to the Kansas Health Department “informed consent” information.

This concession happened at the eleventh hour, as a hearing was scheduled Monday in the court of Judge Kathryn Vratil. PPKMM technically has until Monday to refile, which is extremely unlikely.

PPKMM had refused to comply with the weblink law even after all other Kansas abortion clinics had complied and despite the fact that a separate challenge from the Hodes & Nauser abortion clinic collapsed in state district court this spring.

This is the fourth win for the legal team under Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt in defending sound pro-life laws promoted by Kansans for Life.

Kansas has required abortion clinics to provide access to state materials on prenatal development, abortion information and assistance for unplanned pregnancies since 1997. The required weblink at issue 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 accessed here[womansrighttoknow.org].

The state’s defense was rock solid against PPKMM’s argument that the weblink was:

  1. a free speech infringement of PPKMM’s preferred narrative about pregnancy, and
  2. it didn’t belong on the homepage where other non-abortion clients might see it.

The state rebutted that the required link was a form of consumer protection and that the state had a right to alert women before they committed to abortion. From the state’s most recent filing (emphasis added):

“In the 1980s and 1990s, public access to the Internet was extremely limited. Few businesses or public institutions had websites. …In the face of these changes in technology and access, and in order to more effectively reach women as they are contemplating the weighty decision of whether to undergo an abortion, the Kansas Legislature enacted a law in 2013…that when a company is in the business of performing abortions and that company maintains a website, it must include a link on its homepage.”

More on Monday!

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Kansas WRTK site has interractive ultrasound

Ultrasound featured on KS- WRTK

For decades, we have heard tearful testimony from post-abortive women who were misinformed about the humanity of their unborn child by the abortionist and staff. Far too many mothers have looked at sonograms of their current “wanted” pregnancy only to realize in private horror that the abortion they had years before, did not merely remove a “blob of tissue,” but destroyed a recognizably human, unborn child.

In the pursuit of selling an abortion, clinics cannot be trusted to promote medical accuracy. Unlike other acts of consumer deception, for which lawsuits would be entertained, abortion clinics fear no legal repercussions.

Instead, the one significant bar to total manipulation of abortion information came from the U.S. Supreme Court in its 1992 Casey decision. Casey allows the states to provide “objective, nonjudgmental, scientifically accurate” information relevant to making an informed abortion decision.

Kansas implemented that right in 1997 by creating a “Woman’s Right to Know” division of the state health department (KDHE), to maintain a 24-hour phone hotline and publish official informational booklets.  Every legal abortion in Kansas requires the woman (whether a Kansan or non-resident) to sign a paper that she “accessed” this information prior to abortion.

In 2009, the Kansas legislature was able to enact updated pro-life provisions for informed consent that were not vetoed –as had been the pattern under then-Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius. During a few-weeks window of time when she awaited confirmation as HHS secretary (and having described herself to the Senate Confirmation committee as pro-life!), Sebelius signed a pro-life law containing these main provisions:

  1. required clinics using ultrasound technology to honor the woman’s request to see the child’s ultrasound and receive a hard copy, 30 minutes prior to abortion; and
  2. instructed the KDHE to update all WRTK printed materials to a website.

[Unsurprisingly, after confirmation to the HHS post, Sebelius vetoed another pro-life bill, a late-term abortion ban. And both her administration, and that of her replacement, Gov. Mark Parkinson, botched the WRTK website project.]

IMPROVED 4-D ULTRASOUND
More importantly, however, was the fact that the WRTK website was indeed properly implemented in 2011, under pro-life Gov. Sam Brownback. Notably, the WRTK website was the first in the nation to include an independently-produced,  4-D ultrasound educational tool about prenatal development.

There has been significant traffic to the WRTK website, but the quintessential point is to provide “one-click” access to women at the crucial moments they are considering abortion. (Read more here.)

When women experience a lack of support for maintaining their pregnancy–or downright coercion to abort–they need every tool they can get. The WRTK website is a source of objective facts about pregnancy and a list of assistance centers. It is designed to enlighten and empower women, especially those being pressured by partners, friends or family members. Such information is best contemplated away from the abortion business, and a privately-accessible, trustworthy web source is ideal.

It is noteworthy that the websites of all four Kansas abortion clinics did include this WRTK link voluntarily from 2011-2013–even the (recently-closed) Aid for Women clinic whose website commentary roundly bashed the WRTK information. No doubt the clinics found that burying this link somewhere on their web pages would legally allow them to not physically hand out the WRTK booklets to their clients.

With the link thus so unevenly treated, and even scorned, the Kansas legislature in 2013 mandated that every abortion clinic in the state feature a live link to the WRTK site on their homepage, with a short descriptive tagline. The weblink tagline (tweaked in 2014) 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.

Two Kansas City suburban abortion clinics sued the weblink mandate as an infringement of the First Amendment. The injunction governing the weblink–obtained in state court by the Center for Women’s Health, in June 2013– was dissolved this summer. Notice of this action was sent to federal court, which has not yet acted upon a request by Planned Parenthood of Kansas & Mid Missouri for a similar injunction.

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Maddow weighs in on clinic closing

Maddow weighed in on abortion clinic closing

Reporters are still contacting Kansans for Life to ask what we think is the real reason the Aid for Women clinic closed abruptly last Saturday.

Our executive director, Mary Kay Culp, responded,

“It’s hard to know for sure why the clinic closed, but if it’s as we suspect– that women are better informed and more protected from clinic exploitation due to new state laws–clinic owners and operators would be the last to admit it.” 

Culp is referencing the state of Kansas-provided “Woman’s Right to Know” information.

Aid for Women so hated having to post the statement

 “The abortion will terminate the life of a whole, separate, unique, living human being”

on their website’s consent form, that they added this ‘commentary’:

This [statement] 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.

In response to such abortion clinic “factoids,” the state of Kansas enacted a law, effective July 2013 (tweaked slightly in May 2014), that requires each Kansas abortion business to post this on its homepage:

“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.”

Isn’t it instructive that not just the abortion clinic but other abortion proponents are reduced to hysterically bad-mouthing scientifically accurate information?

When women go to an abortion clinic’s website, they should be able to see the truth about their unborn baby before they commit to further action.

It is a fair inference, is it not, that equipped with accurate information, fewer women would chose abortion?

On Monday’s show, MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow recycled some of Aid for Women’s criticism. For example, Maddow said

“[T]he state of Kansas newly requires all abortion clinics to post this about the state’s official ‘talk you out of an abortion’ website…. And the clinic has made clear as day in context that they think that is hooey… that you shouldn’t believe, but they made us put it out.”

To emphasize the “burden” on the abortion clinic of having to provide an informational link, Maddow shows how Aid for Women added an ‘introduction’ to the mandated link on their homepage (archived here):

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

Maddow is obviously highly sympathetic to the Aid for Women business, quoting the clinic manager as revealing that they had struggled for eight years to find a replacement for the aging abortionist.

In addition, Maddow voices the clinic manager’s complaint of “ingratitude.” Maddow said,

“He told us, ‘We cannot seem to get some of these Gen Xers to take it seriously and vote. Why am I the only one fighting this?…The generation of patients whom we have helped need to step up and carry the torch instead of assuming clinic workers will always fight their battle.’ ”

So what do we learn from Maddow? That the poor abortion clinics are burdened by providing informational weblinks to pregnant women, when the unborn child is just like cancer, right?

Now that is hooey!

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