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Posts Tagged ‘WRTK’

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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Cheryl Chastine

Cheryl Chastine

Last Friday was the fifth anniversary of the slaying of George Tiller, notorious for performing late abortions up through the ninth month of pregnancy. There were a number of stories lauding Tiller.

We learn from the Wichita Eagle that a joint media conference call from Julie Burkhart, Tiller’s former Political Action Committee (PAC) director, generated the “Tiller legacy” tribute stories at NPR, MSNBC, Wichita Eagle, Salon, and other pro-abortion outlets.

These reports served several purposes: to portray Tiller as a hero, vilify pro-life legislation, and to promote the fledgling South Wind Women’s Center (SWWC) abortion clinic. SWWC is run by Burkhart, using an Illinois fly-in abortionist, Cheryl Chastine.

SWWC is located in the same Wichita, Kansas, building Tiller occupied for decades. Reporters were informed SWWC hopes to expand to Oklahoma City and possibly beyond.

The engine for the “Tiller legacy” media campaign is Burkhart, who ran Tiller’s ProKanDo PAC from 2002 until 2009. The PAC spent over $2.4 million dollars to elect pro-abortion candidates, including former Gov. Kathleen Sebelius (see details here).

After the Kansas State Healing Arts Board initiated legal actions to revoke Tiller’s medical license for violating the Kansas post-viability abortion ban, Burkhart left for St. Louis to head Missouri ProVote, a pro-Obama / pro-abortion political activist coalition.

Within a year of Tiller’s death, Burkhart had created a new group -–the Trust Women PAC– with the mission of stopping pro-life legislation and increasing abortion businesses in the “underserved” Midwest and South.

When the Tiller clinic was still in business in 2009, the Kansas legislature passed additional “Woman’s Right to Know”(WRTK) provisions aimed, in part, at the many women who were being led into late abortions to “resolve” their medically-challenging pregnancy.

The improved WRTK provisions included:

  • where to get free medical help, including perinatal hospice, for grave or lethal fetal conditions, and
  • a mandate that the clinic accommodate women who want to hear the fetal heart tones or see a current sonogram before obtaining an abortion.

This WRTK law requires the state health department to prepare medically-accurate pregnancy and fetal development materials in booklet form and available online, and to maintain a 24 hour phone hotline. Of course, according to Burkhart, this is just another “measure designed to shame and guilt” women, and burden clinics.

WHAT ABORTIONIST CHASTINE TOLD MEDIA
Based on several of her statements recorded in Friday’s Salon article, the 32-year old Chastine seems especially uninformed about Kansas’ WRTK abortion law. She said,
“It feels like there’s a third party in the exam room that doesn’t belong there, and I’m very clear with patients when I tell them that. I tell them, ‘The state wants me to tell you this. They also you to do this.’ I don’t try to hide the intrusion. I make sure that they know so that they can understand how their care is being influenced by unnecessary legislation.”

Chastine is quite emphatic about giving SWWC clients a rebuttal to information that she wrongly believes Kansas law requires her to “tell” abortion clients. But Kansas does not require the abortionist to say anything.

WRTK information was in fact designed as an out-of-clinic resource to both counter misconceptions relayed by abortion personnel as well as remedy a lack of relevant information preventing a woman from a freely formed abortion decision. WRTK laws offer a counterpoint to a rushed, forced, and irrevocable abortion, which is why abortion clinics hate them so.

Salon interviewer Katie McDonough further prods Chastine with this:
“Kansas is passing legislation designed to shame patients and place barriers to access in their way. I’m thinking of the 24 hour waiting period here, which is both intended to be a logistical barrier but also an insult to a patient’s intelligence….You probably see people who have come a long way, who have saved up, who taken off work — and you then have to tell them, “I can’t do this for you today. You have to wait 24 hours…”

To which Chastine responds,
“That’s extremely frustrating… I tell the patients…I trust you as a moral decision-maker, and I’m sorry that the state doesn’t do the same.”

The reality is that Kansas’ 24 hour period of reflection is nothing new. It was passed seventeen years ago. Moreover,  it does not require two onsite clinic visits and, in all likelihood, women don’t make two trips to a Kansas abortionist.

They can call the abortion business, tell them their estimated age of pregnancy, get told via phone or clinic website where to access the state materials, and make one appointment. The fact that pregnant women can stay out of the clinic and contemplate medically accurate materials is to their benefit and to the detriment of the abortion clinic’s bottomline.

A legal Kansas abortion does require the woman to sign a paper that she accessed WRTK info 24 hours before undergoing the abortion. Hopefully, each woman does attentively review the WRTK info (including ultrasound images)—especially those who are young, conflicted about abortion, or being coerced. Past testimony to Kansas legislative committees, as well as letters to the U.S. Supreme Court, have expressed the negative effects upon women who did not recognize the humanity of the unborn until years after experiencing an abortion.

Chastine maintains abortion is a “decision” morally equivalent to delivering a child.
“The people who are having abortions and people who give birth are not different people; they are the same people. And they make both of those decisions with their full moral decision-making capacity and for the same reasons.”

That kind of messaging may impress the SWWC staffers who (we are told) have graduated college with gender or women’s studies degrees. Those viewing everything through a lens of “patriarchal repression” may also agree with Chastine’s opinion that,
“I am very, very terrified of the rollback in access to reproductive healthcare… because the people who suffer from this are the most vulnerable in our society and the most voiceless.”

The rest of us think that the most vulnerable and voiceless are the unborn.

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comp health PP (2)Last week we noted Kansas pro-life laws being taken to court without good reason, however it is encouraging that the federal lawsuit filed by Comprehensive Health/Planned Parenthood of Kansas & Mid-Missouri is moving relatively quickly.

The lawsuit focuses on Kansas’ 2013 Pro-Life Protections Act, specifically the “first-in-the-nation” requirement that the link to the state “Woman’s Right to Know” abortion information website be positioned on a clinic’s home page with this description:

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment maintains a website containing objective, nonjudgmental, scientifically accurate 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.

As background, women obtaining Kansas abortions since 1997 have been required to sign certification forms for their medical file that they “accessed” these WRTK materials 24 hours prior to abortion. The right to supply state-issued abortion information was upheld in the 1992 Casey ruling, in which the U.S. Supreme Court said the state has a role in ensuring abortion-seeking women are well informed.

Abortionists oppose WRTK information, as it not only indicates the clinics lack candor on full informed consent, but also can reveal alternative solutions to abortion. And, in fact, Kansas annual stats show hundreds of women do not have abortions after getting this info (see KFL post here).

In August, Planned Parenthood stipulated on record all their abortion clients are receiving the printed version of these WRTK materials.  Furthermore, all Kansas abortion clinics, including Planned Parenthood, voluntarily placed a link to the state website somewhere on their websites after the WRTK materials became accessible in that manner.

So, since Planned Parenthood affirms it distributes the printed WRTK materials (even while objecting to the content) and links to the state WRTK website, why do they oppose the weblink being positioned on their homepage?

They argue that such prominent positioning with an “accuracy” tagline gives the appearance they endorse the WRTK materials. They are particularly offended by WRTK facts about the pain capability of the unborn child and the statement that “abortion terminates the life of a whole, separate, unique, living human being.”

The State of Kansas has supplied strong rebuttal filings in defense of this lawsuit. They argue that the WRTK weblink does not interfere with any First Amendment speech rights as the abortionist is not prohibited from voicing or publishing opinions in disagreement with the Kansas information, as one clinic has notoriously done for years (see KFL post here).

Rather, defense attorneys say this WRTK weblink with accuracy description is permissible state regulation of abortion commerce. After all, Kansas Planned Parenthood is a business; the “Who we are” section of their website reads: “Our primary service is providing abortion services from 4 to 22 weeks gestation.” And at a profit.

Americans experience the effect of government regulation of business every day, to name a few:

  • ads for pharmaceutical products must disclose the drugs’ side effects;
  • nutritional supplement labels contain disclaimers that their claimed benefits have not been verified by the FDA;
  • cigarette packages contain cancer warnings.

Abortionists may bristle at government consumer protection actions, but,“The well-being of people who may be unsophisticated in health care matters is a compelling interest of the state” under Kansas case law (Bolton, 1979).

Kansas defense attorneys point to four other rulings since Casey [Lakey (TX 2012), Rounds II (MN, ND,SD 2008), Summit (AL 2003), Eubanks (KY 2000)] where courts denied abortionists’ claim that state informed consent regulation violated their free speech.

Both Planned Parenthood and the state of Kansas have filed formal requests that federal Judge Kathryn Vratil rule without a trial– as a matter of judging on the law—whether the weblink is permissible.  We believe Kansas will prevail.

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welcome kansas (2)KDHE, the state health department, released preliminary annual data on abortions performed in Kansas, showing a 5.4 % decrease overall from 7, 885  in 2011 to  7,457 abortions in 2012.  This is  the lowest state total since 1987, two years after all abortion providers were legally mandated to report.  The total was divided between 3,661 obtained by residents and 3,796 by non-residents.

143 women were certified for abortion at Kansas clinics this year and did not return to obtain the procedure, compared to 182 in 2011. KDHE does not collect reasons for these “no-returns.” Kansas requires “Woman’s Right to Know” (WRTK) informed consent materials be accessed 24 hours prior to abortion, whether received from the abortion clinic at her initial visit, or through the state hotline, or just by viewing online at http://www.womansrighttoknow.org.

It is not unreasonable to surmise that the WRTK materials both contribute to “no-returns” as well as deter some women from ever entering a clinic.  A woman contemplating abortion may fear a lack of support for her pregnancy needs, or be responding to subtle or overt pressure from her family or the father of the child.  In the WRTK info, she finds:

  1. fetal development explanations with high definition real-time sonography;
  2. a directory of statewide locations for free individual ultrasounds and 80 pregnancy maintenance centers;
  3. links to assistance for medically-challenging pregnancies;
  4. warnings that coerced abortions are illegal.

OTHER STATS:
All categories saw a decrease except “RU486” abortions by pill, which rose from 20% to 30% of total Kansas abortions. This rate exceeds the 2012 CDC chemical abortion national average of 17.4%. Kansas enacted a ban on chemical abortion obtained “by webcam” in the 2011 clinic regulation law, which is not in effect due to litigation.

Two-parent consent for abortions to minors under age 18 became law in July 2011.  KDHE did not publish the number of requests for judicial bypass (waiver of parental consent). Abortions to minors continue to decline, with those obtained by minors numbering 331 in 2011 and 304 in 2012.  Abortions to girls age 15 and under declined from 32 in 2011 to 25 in 2012.

Since July 2011, Kansas bans abortions to pain-capable unborn children at 22 weeks gestation, and KDHE reports 3 Kansas women obtained out-state abortions past 22 weeks gestation, compared with 8 in 2011 (before and after the new law).

Continuing a two-year trend, more abortions in Kansas are obtained by non-residents than residents. In 2011, non-resident abortions exceeded resident by 3,939 to 3,912, in 2012 by 3,796 to 3,661. 97% of the non-residents are from Missouri, a consistent figure, as 2 of 3 Kansas abortion providers  are located in the Kansas City KS/MO metro area.

There were 5 reports of abuse or neglect collected in conjunction with these abortions (4 in 2011) but no further details on resolution of these matters are published.

HB 2253, the Pro-Life Protections Act, has passed the House and awaits Senate action next week. Relevant to informed consent, HB 2253 will:

  • add clarifying language to the coercion warnings that must be posted inside abortion clinics;
  • maintain modest, medically-based risk discussion in WRTK materials about abortion, pre-term birth and breast cancer;
  • require KDHE to beef up medical information access and community support connections for coping with pre- and post-natally-diagnosed disabilities.

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Rep. Lance Kinzer

Rep. Lance Kinzer

The Kansas House today provisionally passed HB 2253, an updated version of last year’s Pro-Life Protections Act, with a final vote to be taken Wednesday. UPDATE Mar.20: Passed 92-31

The bill–which passed without any of the four hostile amendments offered–

  • removes tax breaks for abortionists and tax funding of abortion & abortion training;
  • codifies informed consent already created and in use by KDHE (state health dept.);
  • unifies abortion statute definitions;
  • adopts ‘Life begins at conception/fertilization’ as basis for legislation; and
  • improves support for medically-challenging pregnancies and disabled children.

Opponents’ game plan today was to introduce a new headline for the liberal press—which ate it right up—that Kansas rejected a rape exception for abortion. Nevermind that the ‘exception’ was actually a bold attempt to overthrow ALL state abortion regulation from the past two decades with one floor amendment. The headline got through, to be sent out on social media.

Neither did abortion supporters brush aside their usual untruths that the Kansas bill is ‘sweeping’ and forces doctors to lie to women that abortion causes breast cancer. No matter how many times the truth is told that the bill contains over 50 pages of required tax statutes, and that abortionists will not be required to utter any KDHE scripted remarks, they will ignore it.

The most vocal opponent, as usual, was long-retired anesthesiologist, Rep. Barbara Bollier with her perennial complaint that the bill was medically inaccurate. “I’m so disappointed in you all who have not gone to medical school, who have not gone to nursing school and think you know better. It’s shameful” said the Republican from Mission Hills, addressing the House.

Bollier has many ‘facts’ wrong, for example,

there is no phrase “abortion-causes breast-cancer” in the state informed consent materials, or in this bill that codifies those materials—no matter how many times she repeats it.

Even though she was made to admit at the podium, near the end of debate, that the first full-term pregnancy is well known to give lifetime risk protection from breast cancer, Bollier stubbornly said that does not prove that abortion has any effect on a pregnancy. She denied the logic of alerting a woman experiencing her first pregnancy of the risk that can result by preventing a full term delivery!

The first of Boiller’s 3 hostile amendments attempted to remove the topic of abortion’s link to breast cancer and pre-term future births from Woman’s Right to Know informed consent materials. Then Bollier tried to delete information describing the pain capability of the unborn child from the same materials. As she did 2 years ago when fighting passage of a law protecting pain-feeling unborn children, Bollier insisted no science backs it up. This time, her defense was more astounding.

First, Bollier—who has not practiced medicine for 14 years, was flat out wrong when she told House members that anesthesia is never given to unborn children directly, but only through their mothers. Then, in an even more insistent and embarrassing display, she argued that unborn children can’t feel pain, or “feel” a stress reaction, they can only “mount” a stress reaction!

HB 2253 bill sponsor, and House Judiciary chairman, Rep Lance Kinzer (R-Olathe), rebutted Bollier:

When it comes to stress reactions I imagine an unborn child does indeed experience stress when being dismembered and having arms and legs torn off. He cited the scientific evidence at doctorsonfetalpain.org.

Retired surgeon, freshman Rep. Shanti Gandhi, (R-Topeka) stood in strong support of the bill: “I come here to confirm one fact that’s indisputable, at least in my case having studied medicine, that is that life does start at conception. If we believe that, I think this bill is too long. All it needs is one paragraph that says life begins at conception.”

Speaking in SUPPORT of the bill were Reps. Kinzer, Gandhi, Steve Brunk (R-Wichita), Peggy Mast (R- Emporia), Allan Rothlisberg (R-Grandview Plaza), and Joe Edwards (R-Haysville).

Speaking in OPPOSITION to the bill were Reps. Bollier, Jim Ward (D-Wichita), Louis Ruiz (D-Kansas City), Anne Kuether (D-Topeka), Annie Tietze (D-Topeka), John Wilson (D-Lawrence), Roderick Houston (D- Wichita), Patricia Sloop (D-Wichita), and Carolyn Bridges (R-Wichita).

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