Kansas legislature

Kansas Legislature

Planned Parenthood sues over new Kansas abortion law

June 20, 2013

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TOPEKA — Planned Parenthood filed a lawsuit Thursday over a new Kansas law requiring doctors to inform women seeking abortions that they're ending the life of a "whole, separate, unique, living human being."

Planned Parenthood's clinic in the Kansas City suburb of Overland Park and its director, Dr. Orrin Moore, contend in the lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court that the law violates doctors' free speech rights guaranteed by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. They say the statement that an abortion terminates the life of a separate human being requires them to make "a misleading statement of philosophical and/or religious belief."

The new Kansas requirements take effect next month.

"It's called compelled speech, which is a violation of the First Amendment," Peter Brownlie, the Planned Parenthood chapter's president and chief executive officer, said during an interview. "The Legislature is attempting to force us to endorse the political views of the governor and his allies."

Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri is also attacking a provision of the law that requires its website to link to a Kansas Department of Health and Environment site on abortion and fetal development. Planned Parenthood contends it is required to endorse the health department's message.

Also, the lawsuit challenges a requirement that abortion patients receive information that a fetus can feel pain by the 20th week following fertilization. Planned Parenthood contends that statement is misleading but noted in its lawsuit that "all or virtually all" of the patients terminating pregnancies at its clinic do so before the 20th week, making the information "irrelevant."

Republican Gov. Sam Brownback is a strong abortion opponent who's called publicly on legislators to create a "culture of life" in Kansas. Legislators approved the new restrictions with large, bipartisan majorities in both chambers.

"I don't understand how it is a violation of the First Amendment when you are informing people, you are actually telling people what is going on," said Troy Newman, president of the anti-abortion group Operation Rescue. "They are the ones who are trying to keep information from the women."

Comments

deec 2 years ago

I guess if an embryo is a "whole, separate, unique, living human being" then it can just pack up its old kit bag and move elsewhere. Wait...

foxli 2 years ago

Yeah, the little tyke just needs to pull itself up by its bootstraps just like the rest of us.

Leslie Swearingen 2 years ago

My daughter was a baby from the moment of conception. I am disheartened by women who become so cold, clinical and distant from themselves and their babies to use such dispassionate terms. Maybe it makes them feel less guilt about killing the baby. I don't know.

No, I was not aware the moment she was conceived, but in my heart and in my mind she was a baby from then on.

Leslie Swearingen 2 years ago

Yes I do think of people like that. I believe that she and her husband made the right decision. The human body is complicated beyond what we can readily understand and yet we expect it to develop perfectly in the womb. There are so many things that can go wrong.

I would like to hear more about the role of the husband or the father of the child in the decision.

chootspa 2 years ago

I'm glad you got to make that choice.

Mike1949 2 years ago

Correct me if I am wrong, but didn't the legislature pass laws what planned parenthood could NOT say to women? Why does free speech only go so far, doctors can't even mention abortion as a alternative solution to a problem. Seems the legislature wants their cake and eat it too!

jafs 2 years ago

Since a fetus is growing, it's not "whole" yet. And, since it's inside of a woman's womb, connected to the woman's body and dependent on it to continue it's growth and development, it's clearly not "separate" either.

What's wrong with these people?

Brian Hall 2 years ago

Not like a fetus is. A fetus can only be fed by it's mother, a two year old can be fed by really anyone.

skull 2 years ago

Then maybe we should be worrying more about impoverished two year olds...instead of ensuring they have little siblings.

chootspa 2 years ago

Probably because forced birthers don't care for them all. Expand medicaid. Restore the funding lost to public schools at all age levels. Stop making ridiculous restrictions and funding cuts to SNAP. Stop making doctors lie to women. Restore adoption incentives.

Then get back to me on that caring for them all bit, mkay?

skull 2 years ago

"Pro-life people do care. There are safety nets in place for the poor among us."

Funny...they care, just complain about every dollar spent on said safety nets. In other news, pro-life republicans raise taxes on the poor...

skull 2 years ago

You can't abort a child...it's already born.

skull 2 years ago

By my logic, it's still not a child. But no, I don't think you should be able to kill him/her 1 minute before birth, and if I'm correct that would be illegal anyways, and therefore irrelevant to this discussion.

chootspa 2 years ago

Actively seeking to dismantle and defund that safety net for the poor is a funny way of showing you care.

I'm not arguing that because funding has decreased it's ok to have an abortion. I'm arguing that it's ok to have an abortion, no matter what the funding levels are.

I'm also calling you out for being a hypocrite and caring more about a fetus than you do about the babies you're forcing women to birth against their will.

chootspa 2 years ago

I would think that giving yourself a Tea Party nickname ought to be a big clue as to where you stand on funding the social safety net. But let's play this game, anyway. You're already on record advocating for reduced school funding, and you're already on record supporting Brownback's destructive agenda, which can easily be categorized as pro fetus, anti baby.

Do you support restoring the funding to any of the other programs I mentioned, and would you prioritize funding those services over recent state tax cuts for the wealthy?

chootspa 2 years ago

A two year old can and will survive being separated from its parents.

chootspa 2 years ago

Which is why viability is the cutoff point the Supreme Court has previously decided is acceptable for abortion bans. Your point?

skull 2 years ago

Doesn't have one...just arguing rhetoric.

brianjay1 2 years ago

If a fetus can survive outside of the womb at 5 months then the only decider of food supply is where the child is located. It would be criminal if one were locked in a room and couldn't reach food and starved to death. If that one is in a womb we call it choice? It is ignoring the facts of science and the realities of birth for the elimination of an inconvenience.

skull 2 years ago

"elimination of an inconvenience"

You make it sound like child birth and rearing are as time consuming and financially draining as paying the electric bill, which would be ignoring "the realities of birth..." I'm not even going near the "facts of science," which are irrelevant here in Kansas anyways. Nobody should be forced have a child they don't want or know can't afford if there is a way to prevent it. There are enough malnourished and poverty stricken children in this world to force people to have more.

chootspa 2 years ago

I'd like to see your source for that claim. You do know that rape is underreported, right? If someone is being asked why they're getting an abortion, they may not feel comfortable disclosing the real reason. They may not want to press charges or have people ask anymore questions about the event, or they may have been shamed into thinking they'd somehow asked to be raped. You know, by people who casually claim that pregnancy is the result of risky behavior.

The point being, not all pregnancy is the result of a choice, but the decision to carry that pregnancy to term should be a choice - no matter the behavior that preceded it.

chootspa 2 years ago

A column from 1989 that references a survey (survey facing potential flaws for the reasons I've already mentioned)? The second link does not mention abortion at all. I could give you a long list of links and make up what they say, too. Very sloppy. Doesn't give your argument any credibility at all.

It's also ignoring the point. Not all pregnancies are the result of choice, whether that number is 1% or 50%. Abortion is legal and should be legal for any woman up to the point of viability, no matter why she's pregnant. She shouldn't have to prove to you that she's got a worthy reason for requesting it. She shouldn't be shamed by you for having an unintended pregnancy, no matter why she's facing one.

Lisa Medsker 2 years ago

We're not shamed for unintended pregnancies. We're shamed for having sex. Of course, it's perfectly okay, and even government sponsored for those unable to have erections without pharmaceutical intervention, as long as it's just the men. Men can have sex. THAT'S normal. Women having sex is just shameful.

skull 2 years ago

Some parts of the world like Kansas? You do realize there ARE poor people here too right? Good luck getting them to stop having sex.

chootspa 2 years ago

In fact, suburban poverty is growing at alarming rates in parts of Kansas.

fiddleback 2 years ago

"They made the decision to behave in a way that can conceive a child - that was their choice."

A classic and extremely blaming presumption. Their decisions may have been entirely responsible ones; no method of contraception is 100% reliable. Most cultures dating back to ancient civilizations, including early Christian and Jewish societies, allowed a first trimester window in which a woman could decide whether to commit her body to being a host vessel or else obtain abortificants.

With no such window of choice, you make the mother a slave to her reproductive system. If scientists ever develop artificial wombs, maybe the pro-life militants can put their money and energy to pay for these fetuses to be transferred to such machines. In the meantime, trying to coerce women into having unwanted children is a perfect example of your ends justifying any means, with no reasonable or workable sense of balance.

fiddleback 2 years ago

First of all, sex is both of their choices, and a natural and integral part of most marriages and long-term relationships. Abstinence is obviously irrelevant in such cases, though rather than consider the full spectrum of people, you'd clearly rather allude to and sermonize about unmarried, uncommitted young women, thus characterizing all those who would consider abortion as pejoratively and judgmentally as possible.

And even more tellingly, you haven't argued with any of my main points. So here's a story for you to consider: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/21/opinion/my-abortion-at-23-weeks.html

tomatogrower 2 years ago

You don't get it. Warning labels and ingredient labels are based on facts, not religious opinion. What the legislature is requiring is based on the their religious faith. All religious beliefs and atheists have different opinions on when a fetus becomes a human. It's not right to legislate your religious opinion and impose that opinion on others. If your religion believes that life starts at conception, no one is forcing you to get an abortion, why do you want to dictate to others?

question4u 2 years ago

"At the same time that means government mandated warning labels on alcohol and tobacco should be unconstitutional as well."

You'll have to explain that one. How is: "Warning: The Surgeon General Has Determined that Cigarette Smoking Is Dangerous to Your Health" the same as forcing doctors to say things that they believe are untrue?

You could make a parallel to warnings on packs of cigarettes if certain products in Kansas were required to bear labels stating: "Warning: The Kansas Legislature has determined that an abortion terminates the life of a separate human being."

That would be dumb but defensible. It doesn't compel anyone to say anything.

Kate Rogge 2 years ago

In summarizing the majority opinion in the courtroom on Thursday, Chief Justice Roberts said he could not improve on what Justice Robert H. Jackson had said in announcing a decision from the bench “70 years ago last Friday.”

That 1943 decision, West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette, struck down a law compelling public school students to salute the flag. “If there is any fixed star in our constitutional constellation,” Chief Justice Roberts said, quoting Justice Jackson, “it is that no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion or other matters of opinion, or force citizens to confess by word or act their faith therein."

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/21/us/court-finds-aids-programs-rules-violate-free-speech.html?ref=business

grammaddy 2 years ago

And while the State monkeys around with rights of women that were granted 35 years ago, I am still wondering- Where Are The Jobs that were promised?

Fred Whitehead Jr. 2 years ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

hujiko 2 years ago

Says the user that cheers for corporate welfare.

Richard Heckler 2 years ago

There is not a better source of information for both men and women on this issue than Planned Parenthood.

http://www.plannedparenthood.org/health-topics/birth-control-4211.htm

Politicians and biased groups are the least informed I say.

Leslie Swearingen 2 years ago

FDA OKs Prescription-Free Plan B For All Ages, Ending Battle

http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2013/06/11/190684947/fda-oks-prescription-free-plan-b-for-all-ages-ending-battle

I totally support making this available over the counter to whoever wants to buy it. This drug is very expensive so it would be difficult for all buy a few to afford it.

Liberty275 2 years ago

It isn't a living being until it's a tax write-off.

This law is as goofy as seat-belt laws and beverage-size legislation. Government, please take your nose out of our business. You aren't our mother, you are the help.

riverdrifter 2 years ago

One thing is for sure: Planned Parenthood will have elite and experienced attorneys on hand. Brownback/Schmidt will trot a bunch of true-believing crony/bozos out there (at taxpayer expense). Game over.

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