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Kansas legislature

Kansas Legislature

Anti-abortion legislator has ultrasounds performed in her Senate committee

January 22, 2014

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Bethany Knight, Topeka, right, watches the image of her baby on a large monitor as Cindy Paderson with Wyandotte Pregnancy Clinic, center, performs a sonogram Wednesday, January 22, during a Senate Public Health and Welfare Committee meeting at the Statehouse in Topeka. The committee chairwoman, State Sen. Mary Pilcher-Cook, R-Shawnee, is an opponent of abortion and she said the ultrasound needed to be done in the committee for education purposes.

Bethany Knight, Topeka, right, watches the image of her baby on a large monitor as Cindy Paderson with Wyandotte Pregnancy Clinic, center, performs a sonogram Wednesday, January 22, during a Senate Public Health and Welfare Committee meeting at the Statehouse in Topeka. The committee chairwoman, State Sen. Mary Pilcher-Cook, R-Shawnee, is an opponent of abortion and she said the ultrasound needed to be done in the committee for education purposes.

— One of the Kansas Legislature's top abortion opponents used her committee on Wednesday to conduct live ultrasounds of pregnant women.

"This committee is always interested in the life and health of the unborn child and the mother," said state Sen. Mary Pilcher-Cook, R-Shawnee, and chairwoman of the Senate Public Health and Welfare Committee.

"I thought it would be a great idea to see the science of what is actually happening in the womb," Pilcher-Cook said.

The public display coincided with the 41st anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the U.S. Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion. Hundreds of anti-abortion advocates rallied at the Statehouse, led by Gov. Sam Brownback, to show their opposition to abortion.

During the committee meeting, two women, Amanda Kennedy and Bethany Knight, both of Topeka, submitted to the ultrasound procedure, and their fetuses were show on a widescreen monitor.

Kennedy's pregnancy was 12 weeks along and Hamilton's 24 weeks.

State Sen. Jacob LaTurner, R-Pittsburg, said he appreciated Pilcher-Cook setting up the demonstration and meeting with representatives of crisis pregnancy centers.

"It allows people to see the miracle of life. It allows women in these sometimes terrible positions to really make an informed decision on the best way to move forward," LaTurner said.

Elise Higgins, a spokeswoman for Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Western Missouri, called the ultrasound demonstrations a "public spectacle."

"This is really crossing the line," Higgins said. "Ultrasounds should never be a public spectacle whether that's in a hearing or through legislation."

In Kansas, a woman who wants an abortion undergoes an ultrasound and is given the option of whether to look at it and have it explained to her.

During the demonstration Wednesday, sonographer Cindy Paderson with the Wyandotte Pregnancy Clinic, explained what was being shown on a screen.

She said when a woman comes to the clinic, "we want them to have an ultrasound to see that the baby is a living thing."

Describing the 12-week old fetus, Paderson said, "We are seeing baby's head, body, heart beating. There is its little hand waving at us."

After the demonstration, Pilcher-Cook said, "We are all awestruck."

Comments

Bridgit Smith 3 months ago

The articles noted above on Pregnancy Care Centers, were obviously wrote by those who are pro- abortion. There are some clear misconceptions in the articles.

The Pregnancy Care Center movement began in 1967 prior to the Roe vs Wade decision. These centers were founded and continue to operate as safe, confidential haven for women who find themselves in an unplanned pregnancy. (Even those women who choose abortion).

All of the centers that I am familiar with do not accept government funding. They are funded by generous donors who want to help women in crisis, who believe in the services and support provided by the centers. Nothing is given to the donors in return for their financial gifts and no personal gain is expected when the donors give. Unlike the abortion industry, no one is getting rich off of the services provided at the centers.

Yes, Option counseling is offered in the centers. However, the counseling does not provide “misinformation nor does it harass” the women who are trying to make a decision in regards to their pregnancy. Option counseling provides women with information about adoption, abortion and parenting. Additionally, the center provides emotional support that is often lacking when women go to abortion clinics. Thus, empowering the woman to make an educated, informed decision in regards to her body, emotional well-being and the life of her baby.

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/05/health/pregnancy-centers-gain-influence-in-anti-abortion-fight.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

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William Weissbeck 3 months ago

How this did not make the national news is beyond me. I don't recall it on MSNBC either. Rachel must have missed it, or the national media is so inundated by the stupidity coming out of Kansas that they just can't weed through what's important. And the GOP is pretty fast moving on to the next stupid thing - like the Lesser Prairie Chicken (which despite its reputation, probably is smarter than the average GOP).

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Rae Hudspeth 3 months ago

Showing sonograms performed at 12 and 24 weeks and making a spectacle of the miracle of life is totally ignoring the fact that most abortions are performed in the first trimester. I challenge any of those legislators to recognize and identify the parts of a fetus visible in a sonogram of that stage of pregnancy. "Waving its little hand at us"? Oh puhleaze.

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Richard Heckler 3 months ago

Stop voting GOP in Kansas for we get anti choice,anti women's right and the ALEC ultraconservative right wing party fraudulently misrepresenting the GOP.

Unfortunately for the sane fiscal conservative socially responsible republicans on the planet their party has become a PAC money laundering tool for the ALEC Ultra Conservative Right Wing Party.

The new anti American GOP which gained strong ground when Newt Gingrich brought forward the ALEC influenced Contract for America. Which essentially put into high speed the elimination of republicans ...... yes from the GOP.

This is the ALEC Right Wing Coup that is still taking place in broad daylight and behind the secret doors of ALEC.

The agenda is all about over throwing the USA government and replacing the USA government with the USA of ALEC. NO THANKS!

Bill Moyers http://www.democracynow.org/2012/9/27/the_united_states_of_alec_bill

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Greg Cooper 3 months ago

Matthew, if you are saying that the amount of money wasted is insignificant, then you are the perfect example of a Kansas legislator.

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Paul R Getto 3 months ago

The Insane Klown Posse is back in town. Sheesh.

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Leslie Swearingen 3 months ago

I am mystified as to why people are so deeply opposed to the sight of a healthy baby in the womb. But, I also wonder, if the sonogram had shown that either baby had a serious defect, or even one that would cause the baby to be born dead, or that the baby was now dead, what would their response have been?

These are all possibilities.

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Julius Nolan 3 months ago

A show and tell peep show for the ignorant GOP legislators. And whoever performed the procedures definitely has no professional ethics. Definitely Mary Pilcher-Cook lacks common sense along with having any ethics. Maybe she should have performed these ultrasounds on all her committee members. Or maybe had a proctologist demonstrate his skills on the male GOP members.

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Scott Burkhart 3 months ago

I think showing the child in the womb is important in the argument over where human rights begin. A sonogram that demonstrates a beating heart and active movement at 12 weeks helps distinguish this child from a blob of tissue. I hear lots of lip service about freedom of speech but who speaks for the unborn child? Who is going speak for this child as it is being dismembered limb from limb by a suction device inserted into the womb? Who is going to be there to comfort the mother, years from now, when she realizes that it was a human being and not just a "blob of tissue?" I see well meaning people talk about rights but we treat animals on a leash with more respect than a child in the womb. Thank you Sen. Pilcher-Cook for adding to the discussion.

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Fred Whitehead Jr. 3 months ago

It never ceases to amaze me at the stuipid and incredible lengths that these anti-women's rights people will go to to make a point in their crusade to make women second rate citizens. This is by far the most bizzare and unbelievable stunt that I have seen yet..

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Joseph Jarvis 3 months ago

KHP blocked pro-choice advocates from using rubber tires as props outside the capitol: http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2011/jun...

KHP blocked pro-gay advocates from carrying flags outside the capitol: http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2011/jun...

But pro-life advocates can set up a sonogram station inside the capitol.

How is that not free speech viewpoint discrimination prohibited by First Amendment?

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Terry Lee 3 months ago

This wins for creepiest political move of the year. What's next with these clowns?

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Michael LoBurgio 3 months ago

Cheap anti-abortion stunt: sonograms in Kansas Capitol

Yes, this really happened Wednesday in the great state of Kansas:

On the 41st anniversary of Roe v. Wade, state legislators and others watched sonograms performed on two pregnant women.

The event quickly became the source of regional and national ridicule, for good reasons, especially from women tired of lawmakers thinking they know what’s best when it comes to the very personal and private decision of whether to have a baby.

(Check out this afternoon’s story and Twitter feed from Wichita Eagle reporter Bryan Lowry for full details. Twitter@BryanLowry3)

State Senator Mary Pilcher-Cook, a Shawnee Republican and chairwoman of the Public Health and Welfare Commitee, endorsed the sonograms.

According to the Lawrence Journal-World:

“She said the ultrasound needed to be done for the committee for education purposes. ‘Because we often consider the life and health of the unborn child in the Senate health committee, it is important that committee members are educated as to the science of the life within the womb,’ Pilcher-Cook said.”

In reality, this was nothing more than a cheap publicity stunt for the anti-abortion side of this debate.

There’s obviously room for disagreement over how to handle such an emotional issue.

But performing a sonogram in the Capitol went over the line.

http://www.kansascity.com/2014/01/22/4769166/cheap-abortion-stunt-in-kan...

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Cille King 3 months ago

"Crisis pregnancy centers" are not true health care facilities.

"By and large, CPCs are not medical facilities, and most CPC volunteers who work directly with women are not medical professionals.4 Their main qualifications are a commitment to Christianity and anti-choice beliefs. Although CPCs historically have not employed medical staff, there is an emerging trend on the part of CPCs to gain validity by hiring part-time anti-choice medical professionals and purchasing ultrasound equipment.5"

http://www.prochoice.org/about_abortion/facts/cpc.html

"CPCs use a variety of tactics to lure women into their buildings: they offer free pregnancy testing, are known to list themselves under "abortion" in online directories and search results, and may use misleading names with the hope that women will confuse them for legitimate healthcare providers. Once inside, women are treated to a carefully crafted program of manipulation designed to dissuade them from choosing abortion, birth control, and if they're not married - sex."

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/caitlin-bancroft/crisis-pregnancy-center_b_3763196.html

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Bob Forer 3 months ago

I surmise that the folks who passed this ridiculous law are the same ones who are opposed the ACA as "big government" intruding on a person's right to choose whether to purchase health insurance.

If these folks were truly concerned about the lives of our children, they would be spending their time finding a solution to the school funding crisis iinstead of conducting a political "show and tell" on the floors of our statehouse.

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Steve King 3 months ago

Tasteless. Simply tasteless.

On what page of the Alec handbook is this Meeting Agenda taught?

I read where there have been 600+ laws written in the 2000's concerning restrictions and conditions on the female body but not one, NOT ONE, for males. Every. Never, ever.

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Alice Lieberman 3 months ago

This sonographer is very unprofessional (and should be sanctioned by her Board). But then, of course she thinks its a good idea to force ultrasounds on pregnant women. Ka-ching, ka-ching! If those women want to be used in this way, that's their choice. The sonographer, as a medical professional, should have refused to conduct a needless procedure, staged strictly for entertainment purposes.

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