Archive for Thursday, June 27, 2013

Fight over Kansas abortion law in state court

June 27, 2013


— A legal fight over a sweeping new anti-abortion law in Kansas is spilling into the state’s courts, with two doctors hoping a judge will block enforcement of all of its provisions before it takes effect next week.

Shawnee County District Judge Rebecca Crotty set arguments for today in a lawsuit filed by Dr. Herbert Hodes and his daughter, Dr. Traci Nauser, against the new restrictions. Among other provisions, the law bans sex-selection abortions, blocks tax breaks for abortion providers and prohibits providers from furnishing materials and instructors to public schools’ human sexuality courses.

Hodes and Nauser terminate pregnancies at their health center in the Kansas City suburb of Overland Park, and they argue the new law violates their right to equal legal protection guaranteed by the Kansas Constitution. They’re also seeking a ruling that a declaration in the new law that life begins “at fertilization” is merely a statement and not an attempt to regulate abortion — as supporters have insisted.

The hearing in their case comes a day after the chief federal judge in Kansas held the first hearing in a lawsuit filed by Planned Parenthood, which performs abortion at its Overland Park clinic. The federal case in Kansas City, Kan., is narrower, attacking only provisions spelling out what information must be provided to patients before their pregnancies are terminated.

U.S. District Judge Kathryn Vratil expressed skepticism Wednesday that Planned Parenthood’s clinic would suffer “irreparable harm” if she didn’t immediately block the provisions singled out by the organization. She didn’t issue a decision, although one is expected soon.

The new law takes effect Monday. Supporters say it preserves life, protects patients and lessens the state’s entanglement with abortion. The Republican-dominated Legislature has strong anti-abortion majorities in both chambers, and GOP Gov. Sam Brownback is a strong abortion opponent.

The state already has spent nearly $769,000 on private attorneys in defending anti-abortion laws enacted since Brownback took office in January 2011. Attorney General Derek Schmidt, also a Republican, has predicted that defending this year’s law will cost the state $500,000 over the next two years.

Hodes and Nauser filed a lawsuit in 2011 against health and safety regulations specifically for abortion clinics. That case still is pending in Shawnee County, preventing the rules from being enforced.

Planned Parenthood’s federal lawsuit contends parts of the new law violate the free-speech rights of its clinic and the clinic’s medical director by compelling them to espouse views promoted by abortion opponents.

The clinic objects to a requirement that the home page for its website link to a state health department site on abortion and fetal development and declare that the state’s information is objective. The organization also opposes a new mandate that patients receive information that a fetus can feel pain by the 20th week of pregnancy, which it disputes.

Diana Salgado, an attorney for the New York-based Planned Parenthood Federation of America, argued that the law is an “egregious” example of “compelled speech.” She said that justifies blocking the law while the organization’s lawsuit is heard.

“The government has gone too far,” she said.

The state argues that providers are free to post disclaimers saying they don’t think the state’s information is accurate.

“They can give their patients whatever additional information they want to give them,” Shon Qualseth, a Lawrence attorney representing the state, added.

Vratil raised the same issue, telling Salgado, “I’m struggling with how you can be irreparably harmed.”

Vratil set another hearing in the federal lawsuit for July 29.


Kate Rogge 4 years, 11 months ago

It's 2013, and we are over half of the world's population. Why must we endure these chains? Why must we ask anyone's permission to access effective birth control or to end a problem pregnancy? Who profits from our deaths from medically unsafe abortion? Why is my right to live as a free person in this world - with sovereignty over my own body and mind - still less than any man's?

kernal 4 years, 11 months ago

No, we are not over half of the World's population; we are only 4.5% as of 2010 and we certainly haven't even grown to 10% in just 2.5 years.

Bobby Burch 4 years, 11 months ago

Sunflower is talking about women, Kernal ... and they make up more than half the world's population

Liberty275 4 years, 10 months ago

You can keep your pants on without permission. That's an effective means of birth control.

As for abortion, it should be legal and available until delivery. If you body is sovereign 2 weeks after becoming pregnant, is it any less sovereign 8 months and 13 days later?

Is your body sovereign enough for you to rent it out or put LSD into it? Is it sovereign enough that you shouldn't be forced to wear a seat belt?

Glenn Reed 4 years, 11 months ago

There's "right" ways to go about providing equal rights and responsibilities to all involved parties in family law and reproductive rights. It would require a rewrite of lots of rules and regulations, though. Many of these issues require a bit of rehashing on a gender roles and rights.

Given the fact that the woman's the only one that gets pregnant, it'll never be completely balanced.

So far as the issue of abortion goes...

Well, let's say Steve and Sally had a fun night. A month later, Sally suddenly finds herself craving peanut-butter-covered crab meat, and decides to get a pregnancy test. Stick is blue.

Sally has options....

  1. "I want the kid on my own." Sally makes a decision to be a single mom, assuming all the related responsibilities by her self.

  2. "Let's see what Steve says..." This is where it gets a bit complicated.

a. Steve says YAY! Steve is officially on the hook. He'll be granted rights and responsibilities as the father if she has the kid. He's willing to be a dad, if Sally's willing to be a mom.

b. Steve says Nay. Steve is officially off the hook. He'll be denied rights and responsibilities as the father if she has a the kid. He's gonna be a stranger. If Sally has the kid, She's on her own.

c. Steve says, "I want the kid, but I don't want YOU." Steve wants sole custody, and wants Sally to be the stranger. If Sally has the kid, it could get complicated.

In any case, at every step, Sally should have the right to change her mind. If she's not enthused about working together with Steve as parents, being a single parent isn't feasible, or getting into a custody fight with Steve isn't worth it, she always has the option to end it.

jhawkinsf 4 years, 11 months ago

Glenn, as you go through all your scenarios, please keep in mind what is in the best interests of the child, if the child is born. The courts will be keeping that in mind, so proposals that allow Steve to opt out of parenthood won't be allowed.

Glenn Reed 4 years, 11 months ago

You asked a question, I gave a possible answer. I also made a point of clarifying all this as a hypothetical. Sentences number 2 and 3, in fact...

"It would require a rewrite of lots of rules and regulations, though. Many of these issues require a bit of rehashing on a gender roles and rights."

What I wrote down wasn't intended to be a complete solution, in any case. That would take more time and effort than I'm willing to write on the comment section.

Current family law regulations do talk about "best interests of the child" a lot. I'd contend that very often, perhaps most of the time, even, that point is given a low place in practice.

The general point I was attempting to make was that, in an environment where abortion is legal, safe, and affordable, a woman has a choice. The choice comes with a certain responsibility.

If she knows what all the variables are, and decides to carry the fetus to term regardless, then she's made that decision.

gatekeeper 4 years, 11 months ago

When you find a way for him to carry the child, then he can have a say. Sorry, but the father should have thought about the possibility of pregnancy BEFORE he had sex. Afterwards, it's the woman's body and HER decision what to do with HER own body. If she has an abortion, that's her right. If she keeps it, that 's her right and the father has to pay to raise it. Again, he should have thought everything through BEFORE he had sex.

You think we should live in a world where the men will dictate what a woman does with her own body? Funny, I thought I was living in the 21st century and a free society and full rights.

Armored_One 4 years, 11 months ago

How does it communicate it's needs, wants and desires? Given that it, going by your assumptions, is a minor, who is assigned to speak to and for the minor? How does that person communicate with the unborn in privacy without the mother intruding on the conversation?

Seth Peterson 4 years, 11 months ago

I think anyone who doesn't want to die will be sorely disappointed in the end.

jafs 4 years, 11 months ago

So should the mother, no?

I find it wrong for fathers to have no participation in the decision, but then be forced to pay for children they didn't want, and/or for fathers who really wanted the child to have no part of the decision as well.

You seem to feel that the only two choices are that the woman decides on her own, or that the man "dictates" the decision - that leaves out the possibility of a decision made jointly by both parties.

I find the "woman's body" rhetoric insufficient for explaining pregnancy and childbirth.

jhawkinsf 4 years, 11 months ago

I also find it insufficient, but can think of no reasonable way to give the man a voice without intruding on the rights of the woman. As I asked above, how would that work?

verity 4 years, 11 months ago

On this issue I agree with you. Once the male puts it out there, he's lost that control. May be an unfortunate act of nature/evolution, but there you have it.

jafs 4 years, 11 months ago

Well, it's complex.

But, if one wants to have a right to make unilateral decisions, then one should be willing to accept unilateral responsibility, I think.

This combination of "It's my body, and I can do whatever I want, and you have to pay child support" seems off to me - it's not equality, it's domination. Real equality means both people get to be part of the decision as well as having responsibilities. I'd say this either way, by the way - if the guy really wants the child and the gal doesn't, he can't say "You have to have the child, and then parent it for the rest of your life". He'd have to be willing to raise the child on his own.

Glenn has some good ideas, I think.

verity 4 years, 11 months ago

These problems usually come up only when the people are not involved in a good relationship, otherwise they would work them out themselves. There seems to be an issue of conflicting rights here. I do not agree that a man should be able to force a woman to bear a child if she chooses not to, even if he agrees to be solely responsible for it.

Not only do I think it's wrong, it could and would be used to harass women.

After the birth, it becomes an entirely different situation. Anecdotally, I know of at least two, and possibly three, cases where the father was blindsided when an official appeared with adoption papers for him to sign. Don't know if the third knew before of the pregnancy, but all decided to raise the child themselves. (Actually their mother or current girlfriends were involved in the raising.)

jafs 4 years, 11 months ago

Yes, that's what I'm saying - it's a question of conflicting rights.

And, I agree that forcing women to have children is a bad thing - perhaps a better way of saying it might be "I really want this child - can you please give birth to it, and I'll raise it on my own if you don't want to".

But, why should a woman be able to force a man to support a child he doesn't want?

jhawkinsf 4 years, 11 months ago

Jafs, you're locked into this idea of conflicting rights of the man vs. the woman. Once the child is born, that person also has rights. And absolving either the man or the woman of their obligations to that child is a violation of the child's rights. Additionally, should one or the other be absolved of their financial obligations, the likely result would be innocent third parties will become victims of that decision in that taxpayers will be forced to step in and fill that void.

There really is no good solution to what you think is an unequal situation. Yes, it's unequal, but making innocent third parties victims just to make things equal (or near equal), isn't really a good solution.

jafs 4 years, 11 months ago

But there's a decision made about whether or not to have the child - that's what we're discussing. And, the attitudes of the people involved.

If a man doesn't want the child, the woman can choose to abort, or give birth and adopt, or give birth and raise the child on her own or with help from others (family, new relationship, etc.)

Practically speaking, we have a huge problem with deadbeat dads - ignoring whether or not the man wants the child can only make that problem worse.

If women knew that the men wouldn't necessarily be liable for child support, then they might make different/better choices.

I just find it wrong and unfair for women to say "It's my body, and my choice, but your responsibility".

jhawkinsf 4 years, 11 months ago

The decision is her's and her's alone. You can't put that genie back in the bottle. At least not without trampling on her rights, if you assume it is her right.

You speak of deadbeat dads in a very practical way. And you're correct. But let's follow that logic a bit further. Armed with greater information, the knowledge that the father will have no financial responsibility, if that's your suggestion, wouldn't that just encourage women to have more abortions? I don't know of anyone on either side of this issue who would support any suggestion that would lead to more abortions.

Sometimes, life just ain't fair. This may be one of them.

jafs 4 years, 10 months ago

Well, that's the question. Is the decision hers and hers alone, and should it be, if there are serious consequences for the men involved?

Or the other possibilities I mentioned.

By the way, this question sort of ties in with the issue of minimum wages and decent jobs - the more people that can't afford to support their children on their own, the more help we have to give them via government.

So, if we want to reduce the amount of tax funded aid, we should fight to increase wages and create decent jobs.

Oh, and maybe if women knew that men who didn't want the children wouldn't be liable for child support, they might be more inclined to make sure they didn't get pregnant by that guy - I don't know, but it's possible.

ebyrdstarr 4 years, 10 months ago

"Oh, and maybe if women knew that men who didn't want the children wouldn't be liable for child support, they might be more inclined to make sure they didn't get pregnant by that guy"

How about if a guy knows a particular woman wouldn't be willing to have an abortion, he might be more inclined to make sure he doesn't get that woman pregnant?

jafs 4 years, 10 months ago

Also a good, reasonable idea.

When I was dating somebody who said that if she got pregnant, she wouldn't consider having an abortion, I knew the relationship wouldn't last. It's not that I would necessarily have disagreed with her, but it was clear that she wouldn't even discuss it with me, and that bothered me a lot.

If it takes two to get pregnant, and two to raise a child, then it should take two to make the decision, from where I stand.

ebyrdstarr 4 years, 10 months ago

I understand why that seems fair and I'm not unsympathetic. But biology makes it an unequal situation and there's just nothing we can do about that.

In an ideal world, male-female intercourse would only involve grown adults who made sure they were on the same page on this before hand. Also in an ideal world, should an unexpected pregnancy occur, the two parties would discuss it and be able to come to a decision.

But where the two parties would each choose different outcomes, her choice controls because it isn't his body. It isn't equal but there's no helping that because, well, that which is so biologically unequal cannot be made otherwise.

ebyrdstarr 4 years, 11 months ago

The thing is, though, it's an inherently unequal situation as a result of biology and there's just no way to equalize it. It sucks, I get that. I really do. But one party does get to make a unilateral decision because only one person's body is involved. We should stop pretending that we can somehow use laws to make something equal that just isn't equal. As long as only one person can carry the pregnancy to term, one person's vote counts for more. You may think it's unfair that a woman gets to make the decision. I think it's unfair that a man never has to deal with organ prolapse.

jafs 4 years, 10 months ago

Thank you - I appreciate that.

If you want to make unilateral decisions, then you should accept unilateral responsibility.

It's not just that women get to make the decision without the participation of the men involved (that does suck in many situations), it's also that they can then turn around and make the men pay child support.

And, although we're focusing on one variation of this, there's the other one, in which a man really wants to have a child and the woman doesn't, which creates a set of different problems.

I don't know what organ prolapse is (and don't tell me, I get squeamish), but there are numerous differences between men and women that mean we have different sets of health issues. Women do seem to have more problems, in a certain light, but on the other hand, they can give birth and nurse children, which is an amazing thing. Overall, I don't know if one gender has it better or worse that way.

ebyrdstarr 4 years, 10 months ago

No. Understand that when you imply it's somehow offensive or wrong for women to make unilateral decisions about their own bodies, you will elicit strong visceral reactions in many women. Reactions of fear, anger, outrage. You do not get a say in what we do with our bodies. End of story. Suggesting that you do offends us. Deeply. And it terrifies us because it suggests to us you view us as less than fully-autonomous human beings who get to control our own bodies.

Organ prolapse is a serious and life-long possibility that hovers over women who have given birth. It is the first thing I cite when people act like pregnancy is nothing more than 9 months of inconvenience. It isn't. It's so much more than that. It's potentially a lifetime of an altered body, up to and including the risk of organs literally slipping out of the vaginal canal. I'm sorry that you're squeamish, but you need to be confronted with why it is that the woman gets the say in this.

You're revealing something that concerns me about your attitude toward women when you complain that "they can then turn around and make the men pay child support." It's the law that requires child support. And it isn't for the women who are somehow forcing fatherhood upon poor, unsuspecting men. It's for the children whose beginnings were fully within the control of those men. If men don't want to be fathers, they should be more careful in picking their sexual partners. They should have these conversations before engaging in sexual activity. The child that results shouldn't suffer because the man is angry that the woman wouldn't have an abortion.

jafs 4 years, 10 months ago

Well, we're getting into emotionally charged territory here, and I don't know how well we'll be able to navigate it.

I understand you're having a lot of reactions to my post, and I appreciate that you're trying to keep the conversation civil - I hope that continues, if you want to keep discussing this with me.

I find the "my body" stance insufficient, when women get pregnant - it's not "just" their body anymore - there's a potential (at least) human life growing inside of her. This makes the rhetoric on both sides flawed, and unsatisfying for me.

When the issue becomes control and power, it makes things very difficult.

If you want to get a haircut, it's none of my business, even if we're romantically involved. What you do if you get pregnant is a very, very different thing to me. It took both of us to create the situation, and it will take both of us to deal with it either way. The fact that it happened can be traced to decisions made by both of us, and so we're both responsible for it.

I said if you want to make the decision unilaterally, then you should take unilateral responsibility for it - seems only fair to me.

That's a terrible thing, and I hadn't heard of it before. It certainly means that the decision affects the woman physically in ways that it doesn't affect men, even after giving birth.

As far as I know, the law doesn't go out and find fathers and make them pay - women have to go to court and sue for it. If women don't want to be mothers,... And abortion isn't the only possible outcome there.

Or if women do want to be mothers, then they should also be careful about picking their partners, etc.

The fact is that, although it sounds very good to say that people should be more careful, and I think they should, we were all young once, and not that careful - as others have pointed out, birth control isn't 100% effective. If somebody of either gender knows for sure they'll never want kids, they can have surgery. If people want to use the most effective birth control, women can take the Pill (but there are some concerns about that).

Unfortunately, there aren't ideal methods for people who may want kids later, but not now, and who don't want to take hormones. And, relationships and sex often involve strong energetic and emotional pulls that aren't always amenable to being careful and thorough before getting involved. So, I think that we'll always (at least until we come up with better birth control without health concerns) have the problem of dealing with unwanted pregnancies.

I think I'll stop here - I hope that I've navigated this well.

jhawkinsf 4 years, 10 months ago

Jafs, the woman isn't making the men pay child support, courts do that. And they make that decision based on the best interests of the child. Again, you keep wanting to limit the discussion to his rights vs. her rights. The rights of the child must be taken into account as well.

Then again, he can get out of child support payments by asking the court to award him full custody. Then he would reap that windfall that is child support.

Glenn Reed 4 years, 11 months ago

"Sorry, but the father should have thought about the possibility of pregnancy BEFORE he had sex."

This statement suggests that the women are incapable of thinking about the possibility of pregnancy BEFORE she had sex.

"Afterwards, it's the woman's body and HER decision what to do with HER own body. If she has an abortion, that's her right."

I can agree with that statement. If a woman gets knocked up, a man can protest. But she still has the final decision.

"If she keeps it, that 's her right and the father has to pay to raise it."

Here's where you found the deep end of an empty pool, and jumped. "Fair" would give the man involved some decision making power. Here, he has none. He's got lots of responsibilities, but no rights.

"You think we should live in a world where the men will dictate what a woman does with her own body?"

No, I don't think Boiled does, either.

"Funny, I thought I was living in the 21st century and a free society and full rights."

What you just described stripped men of most of their reproductive rights.

chicago95 4 years, 11 months ago

@LJW This is the story you missed: "Texas senator Wendy Davis stages marathon filibuster against abortion bill" ( ).

Compare and contrast Texas and Kansas legislative minority leadership and strategies.

Cait McKnelly 4 years, 11 months ago

What happened in Texas quite literally reverberated around the world. It even showed up in papers in Australia (specefically, NSW). Meantime, In the US, MSM coverage was non-existent while the filibuster was ongoing and incomplete after the fact (including the fact that there was an attempt at legislative fraud with the altered timestamp of the vote). The fact that the LJ World has chosen to ignore a historic event on the level of MLK's "I Have a Dream" speech is not unusual, not unexpected and very, very typical.

Cait McKnelly 4 years, 11 months ago

Governor Perry personally attacked Davis and her family in a very nasty way by basically saying SHE should have been aborted. (Her mother was a single parent at the time of her birth.)

verity 4 years, 11 months ago

Wendy Davis' response to Perry:

"Rick Perry's statement is without dignity and tarnishes the high office he holds. They are small words that reflect a dark and negative point of view. Our governor should reflect our Texas values."

Those wild Texas women---gotta love 'em!

George_Braziller 4 years, 11 months ago

I fully support a woman's right to have an abortion and support abortion rights. However I have to say I do support the ban on sex-selection abortions. That's eugenics.

Frederic Gutknecht IV 4 years, 11 months ago

Can one person controlling their life and their procreation really be charged with eugenics?

That seems a bit far-fetched.

That said, I tend to think that the sex of a potential child should not be a reason for aborting it, but would not be in favor of dictating policy on the basis of my belief.

George_Braziller 4 years, 11 months ago

Uhhhh, we're talking about the same thing here. Deciding if you're going to have an abortion based solely on the gender of the fetus is eugenics..

Frederic Gutknecht IV 4 years, 10 months ago

"Definition of EUGENICS : a science that deals with the improvement (as by control of human mating) of hereditary qualities of a race or breed"

It's not eugenics.

verity 4 years, 11 months ago

Agree with it or not, that would be a hard thing to enforce.

jhawkinsf 4 years, 11 months ago

Lots of thing are difficult to enforce. That shouldn't prevent us as a society saying we believe the practice to be repugnant and therefore, illegal.

verity 4 years, 11 months ago

If we have abortion on demand---at least until a certain time in the pregnancy, you really couldn't make it illegal up until that time. If you added that you can have it for any reason but sex choice, who'd be fool enough to say that was why they were having one?

jhawkinsf 4 years, 11 months ago

As I said, it may be impossible to enforce. That needn't prevent us from saying it's repugnant and therefore, illegal.

As for abortion on demand, fine with me. As long as you pay for your abortions and I'll pay for mine.

verity 4 years, 11 months ago

I'm not following you on the " . . . it's repugnant and therefore, illegal."

Repugnant does not make it illegal, nor do we outlaw everything we find repugnant. There are a lot of things that I wish were not happening, but I don't think laws should necessarily be made against them.

jhawkinsf 4 years, 11 months ago

What I mean is that we reserve the right to say it's repugnant and we reserve the right to make it illegal, despite the fact that it may well be impossible to enforce.

verity 4 years, 10 months ago


Doesn't mean I agree, just that I see your point.

Liberty275 4 years, 10 months ago

Why does the reason a woman has an abortion matter as long as she makes the choice freely?

More importantly, why is it anyone else's business?

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