Archive for Thursday, April 2, 2009

New abortion regulation bill advances out of legislature

April 2, 2009, 11:16 a.m. Updated April 2, 2009, 3:16 p.m.


— Abortion opponents in Kansas renewed a push Thursday to impose new reporting requirements on providers and allow patients and others to sue them over potentially illegal late-term abortions.

The House gave first-round approval to a bill on a voice vote and planned to take final action by Friday. Supporters hoped the Senate also would pass the bill by Friday, before legislators began their annual spring break.

The bill says doctors performing late-term abortions must give detailed medical reasons for them in reports to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment. Also, if a woman or girl comes to believe her late-term abortion was illegal, she, her husband or parents could sue the doctor for damages.

The measure arises from disputes involving Dr. George Tiller, whose Wichita clinic is among a few in the U.S. that performs late-term abortions.

A Sedgwick County jury acquitted Tiller last week on 19 misdemeanor charges filed by the attorney general’s office. The charges alleged Tiller failed to obtain a second opinion on late-term abortions from an independent physician, as required by Kansas law.

Anti-abortion groups believe Tiller should have been prosecuted for performing illegal late-term abortions instead and were frustrated with how Attorney General Steve Six interpreted the late-term abortion law. The bill rewrites it to prevent such a narrow interpretation again.

“It’s an attempt to make sure existing law is being enforced,” said House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lance Kinzer, an Olathe Republican.

But critics saw the bill as another attempt by anti-abortion groups to limit access to abortion.

“It’s another roadblock that is absolutely unnecessary,” said Rep. Judy Loganbill, a Wichita Democrat.

The House passed a similar bill last month, but it hasn’t been considered by the Senate Federal and State Affairs Committee whose chairman, Pete Brungardt, a Salina Republican, supports abortion rights.

With their second bill, anti-abortion House members can get an up-or-down vote in the Senate, bypassing Brungardt’s committee.

Legislators passed a bill last year to allow former abortion patients and others to sue doctors if they came to believe a late-term abortion was illegal. It also allowed them to seek a court injunction beforehand to block one.

But Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, who supports abortion rights, vetoed the measure, saying the provision allowing a court to intervene before an abortion was an unconstitutional restriction on access.

“She will carefully examine whatever ultimately reaches her desk,” Sebelius spokeswoman Beth Martino said.

Last week, Sebelius signed a bill requiring doctors who use ultrasound or monitor fetal heartbeats to make the images or sound available to patients at least 30 minutes before a procedure.

Under state law, an abortion can be performed after the 21st week of pregnancy on a viable fetus only when a woman or girl faces death or “substantial and irreversible” harm to “a major bodily function,” which has been interpreted to include mental health.

A doctor must file a report with KDHE giving the reason for the abortion, after getting an independent second opinion.

KDHE has said doctors need only say that a patient faced death or “substantial and irreversible” harm, while anti-abortion groups believe Tiller and other providers should be spelling out their medical diagnoses.

The bill would explicitly require them to do so, in hopes of forcing state officials to examine whether the reasons for late-term abortions are legally sufficient. Six’s criminal case against Tiller didn’t challenge the reasons Tiller gave for his procedures.

The bill also would require a doctor to disclose his diagnosis, in writing, to the patient at least 30 minutes before an abortion and tell any abortion patient that the procedure would “terminate the life of a whole, separate, unique, living human being.”


kmat 9 years, 1 month ago

"The bill allows a woman or girl who has had what they believe to be an illegal late-term abortion to sue the doctor. A woman’s husband or a girl’s parents also could sue."

Like a woman isn't going to know they had the abortion? Do they think doctors are tricking women into having a late term abortion? Give me a break. I thought republicans were all about tort reform and complain too much about there being so many lawsuits, but let's encourage lawsuits???

So, my health is in danger, but who cares? This will be stricken down by the courts. I could be 5 months pregnant and find out I have cancer. I'm not on my death bed, but my health is in danger. I'm not allowed to make the call to terminate the pregnancy so I can fight the cancer? I'd have to cross my fingers and hope I can carry the baby to term and that the cancer doesn't spread too much during those 4 months. Just what a baby needs, a mom who dies shortly after birth.

madameX 9 years, 1 month ago

I bet the lawsuit thing is just an attempt to make performing late-term abortions so legally risky that no insurance company will cover the practice of a doctor who performs them, effectively making them impossible to obtain without actually having to get a law passed banning them.

I agree that it's ridiculous.

stuckinthemiddle 9 years, 1 month ago

is there an existing law that makes it illegal to sue a doctor over an illegal abortion?

Cait McKnelly 9 years, 1 month ago

Since abortion itself can't be outlawed because of Roe v. Wade let's wrap it up in so much red tape it becomes impossible to get one anyway. This legislation follows the same principle as what's called the "Five M law" in legal proceedings. It stands for "Mountains of Motions will Make Many Mistakes". This is the tactic used by the attorneys of the wealthy to lay a foundation for appeal after appeal. In this case, basically what it means is that the more paper work that's involved the more room there is for a doctor or a patient to inadvertently break the law. This is pretty much what happened to George Tiller. As was stated by the court in his own recent proceedings, "ignorance of the law is not an excuse to break it". This legislation will create even more paperwork for a procedure that's already flooded in paper work and as such will create even that much more room for a mistake to happen. In this case a mere typo could cause devastating legal consequences. The religious right is banking on this because the laws of chance say, not if it happens, but that sooner or later it will happen. And because one T wasn't crossed or one i wasn't dotted they will be down a doctors throat in five seconds flat.

shockchalk 9 years, 1 month ago

This bill is long overdue and hopefully it will pass. Many other states already have similar bills against partial birth abortions. Try not to get to upset about this, there will still be thousands of babies killed in our wonderful state. What a statement Kansas makes to the rest of the country with our fantastic abortion numbers. Quite tolerant indeed. Everyone has a choice but the child.

SettingTheRecordStraight 9 years, 1 month ago

I nominate Agnostick for the Margaret Sanger Eugenics and Ethnic Purity Award.

Cait McKnelly 9 years, 1 month ago

I nominate STRS for the Paul Hill Compassionate Life Award.

Satirical 9 years, 1 month ago

So why are so many people apposed to giving women the right to sue? I thought liberals were all about giving people more rights. I also thought liberals wanted more oversight of businesses. I guess they sing a different tune when the oversight affects a business which furthers their agenda.

Satirical 9 years, 1 month ago

Oh yeah, I almost forgot the other typical argument liberals use - Giving women the right to sue doesn't affect me, so why should I oppose it?

a_flock_of_jayhawks 9 years, 1 month ago

Satirical (Anonymous) says…

"So why are so many people apposed to giving women the right to sue?"

Ummm, they're proposing giving others the right to sue, for that matter, practically anyone even though they have no legal standing otherwise. If they truly have a legal interest in the matter, they could sue anyway.

a_flock_of_jayhawks 9 years, 1 month ago

The Sebelius HHS delay plays right into the hands on this ridiculous bill. It will get vetoed again and go away until next time. Good riddance.

TacoBob 9 years, 1 month ago

Serious question - wonder how many here that are pro-abortion have children?

Anyone willing to share that info?

TacoBob 9 years, 1 month ago

We had our tubes tied after 4 and reget doing so. Probably would have stopped at 5, but who knows. Been on a couple of lists to adopt, but finding that going over seas is somewhat cheaper and quicker. A colleague was over in Bosnia, and did the drill, after 2 months came home with a stunning young man, all of 2 years old. What a great kid. Lining up travel, costs, fundng and paperwork over a number of months; would love to add 1-2 kids to our family. Things would be very tight finacially, but we would be happy despite the lack of resources.

Question still stands - for those that are pro-abortion - how may of you have children?

So.....anyone else care to share their family status?

Cait McKnelly 9 years, 1 month ago

I have four children and I am pro choice. Somewhat like Ag one of those children was a complicated pregnancy and I was actually recommended by a perinatal doctor to abort and I refused. Because I refused, the doctor refused to care for me. I found another doctor. Conversely, I had amniocentesis genetic studies done when I was pregnant with my last two children for advanced maternal age. Fortunately, both pregnancies were fine but if any anomalies had been found I would have aborted. The reasons that women abort or choose not to abort are many and varied and are between her and her doctor and no one else.

BrianR 9 years, 1 month ago

TacoBob (Anonymous) says… "Serious question - wonder how many here that are pro-abortion have children?"

Part of the problem with this question is that you can't use the term "pro-abortion" and at the same time claim to be asking a serious question. Pro-choice people are not pro-abortion no matter how the wack-right tries to spin it.

Cait McKnelly 9 years, 1 month ago

Which is why I phrased my reply the way I did, Brian. I am not "pro-abortion". If I were I wouldn't have fought so hard to have my son. I do believe, however, that abortion is a viable medical treatment choice both for the woman and the fetus. And that is between her and her doctor. Restricting access by wrapping it up in red tape like a Christmas present does nothing but endanger both in the long run.

esteshawk 9 years, 1 month ago

I don't really want to comment on the merits of abortion being legal or illegal. But, this potential bill contains some bad verbage, regardless of political ideologies:

. . . the procedure would “terminate the life of a whole, separate, unique, living human being.

First of all - on the face this is wrong because the fetus is not separate. You cannot possibly argue that it is separate - it is within the mothers body and physically attached - it's not separate.

Secondly, this carries into the concept of "whole" - a fetus is not a whole human being until it is born. It does not eat food, it does not breathe air, it is not whole. It has potential to become whole, but it's not.

Finally, technically speaking, an unborn baby is a "fetus" and not a human being.

These are facts, and it is these attempts by the religious right that makes the rest of the world think Kansas has a collective case of cranial inversion. You cannot just make up "science" in the name of God or politics.

RonBurgandy 9 years, 1 month ago

This is yet another unnecessary waste of time and effort by our state legislature.

TacoBob - I don't know anyone who is "pro-abortion," so it is hard to answer that question. Being pro-choice is not pro-abortion.

Your question is like asking "how many people on here who have three eyes wear sunglasses?"

However, if you are asking who on here is pro-choice and has children, well, I am about one month away from our first. So you can add me to that list.

To the Kansas Legislature, get to work on legitimate laws that will help and advance our society. Not this blatent bull crap.

esteshawk 9 years, 1 month ago

In response to Tacobob, and perhaps shedding a little light on my earlier comment: I am against abortion, and we have a severly disabled daughter to prove it. We knew she would have serious disabilities, and opted to bring her into this world. She will require lifelong care: any anti-abortion people ready to kick in on the millions of dollars in lost wages and medical expenses we are experiening over life? - keep that in mind when you think about Medicare and Medicaid funding.

But at the same time, I am pro-choice. Ultimately, it is the mothers decision, and not the governments. God should be the one making punishments, not us.

Also, if our religious system is so strong, then why do we need the government to enforce your morality? Anyone who claims to know what God thinks is full of c@%*.

SettingTheRecordStraight 9 years, 1 month ago

The ultimate arrogance is to have survived the womb and yet be pro-abortion.

KansasVoter 9 years, 1 month ago

STRS - You're an idiot. NOBODY is pro-abortion, so please shut up with your propaganda.

Connacht 9 years, 1 month ago

Most Kansas residents should know by now that this is just the yearly abortion debate. It comes every year, goes through the motions, gets vetoed, and dies. On the rare occasion when one actually gets passed, there's always a legal challenge that ties it up in the courts until it eventually gets ruled unconstitutional, having never been enforced, even temporarily.

Then next year, we repeat the whole song and dance again. A waste of time, energy, emotion, and ultimately, resources that could be better spent.

You've got to love how the anti-reproductive rights crowd has been used for almost 30 years as a voting block with little or no progress in getting abortion made illegal (which would not stop nor significantly reduce abortions) but continuously casts their votes for the same people over and over again.

These people would vote for Hitler if he promised to outlaw abortion.

tvc 9 years, 1 month ago

I am pro-choice and take care of foster children. Taco, maybe instead of searching out some expensive baby you could take in foster children. Children that have been abused by parents that choose to have them and keep them.

Cait McKnelly 9 years, 1 month ago

esteshawk you have my profound respect. I couldn't have done it. I don't have the financial or physical resources to do it nor would I have ever permitted a child of mine to be an institutional drain on society. I am 56 years old. The two pregnancies I had tested resulted in children that are now 16 and 18 years old. I am now a full fledged diabetic and my physical health isn't the best as a result. Had either of those children been genetically disabled they would still be going strong...and I wouldn't have been able to keep up. I have also been a nurse for nearly 35 years. Over the course of that career I have cared for adults with Downs. Anyone who thinks these children don't suffer as a result of their disability is insane. My niece, who is vehemently anti-abortion, tried to guilt trip me when I had the testing done. I told her straight up that if either of the tests came back positive I was aborting. What I got back was, "How can you do that? Don't you love your babies?", implying that by doing that I hate my children. Precisely the opposite. It's because I do love my children that I would save them the suffering they would face and myself the early death that would result, leaving them to suffer in silence to their own early death. And don't give me any bulls**t about adopting out "special needs" children. For every ten of them there may be one family willing to adopt and take on the lifelong physical and financial burden they are.

shockchalk 9 years, 1 month ago

KansasVoter........YOU are an idiot. Obviously, a lot of the tolerant crowd here is pro-abortion. Deciding that one life is more important than another is pro-abortion. If you think partial birth abortion is not murder, I would challenge you to watch a video of it.

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