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Measure banning "wrongful birth" claims approved by Kansas Senate

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Topeka — The Kansas Senate on Thursday approved legislation that critics said would allow doctors to withhold information about prenatal problems from pregnant women if they believe it would lead the mother to get an abortion.

Senate Bill 142 bans civil actions for a claim of so-called "wrongful life" or "wrongful birth," in which a doctor withholds information about medical problems with the fetus from the pregnant woman and the baby is born with problems the mother was not warned about.

Abortion rights supporters say the measure will encourage doctors to lie to pregnant women.

State Sen. Pat Pettey, D-Kansas City, said the measure "invites doctors to break the oath of their profession." She added, "This legislation is disrespectful to woman and families."

But supporters of the bill said a doctor who lies to a patient would still be liable for medical malpractice and possible violations of standards set by the Kansas Board of Healing Arts.

State Sen. Mary Pilcher-Cook, R-Shawnee, said the legislation, supported by Kansans for Life, would prohibit parents from filing lawsuits where they want to be compensated for not aborting their child.

The measure was approved by the Senate, 34-5, and now goes to the House for consideration.

Comments

Rae Smith Evans 1 year, 1 month ago

so. Doctors are going to attempt to be mind readers here? How does the Doctor know if a person would choose abortion or not? Having the information of a disability or any other issue BEFORE the child is born is very necessary to the parents who choose to raise this child. It is time to study, learn and prepare. It is time to buy a different house if necessary. It is time to properly prepare a child's space to meet his/her individual needs. It is time for parents to prepare their hearts and minds for the special trials that are to come. It is time for career changes to be made if necessary, budgets to be examined and help lined up. This bill removes this vital time from parents who need it. Why? Get your heads out of where they don't belong Republicans!

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Machiavelli_mania 1 year, 1 month ago

What an incredible waste of time, money and effort! It is just so empty of content and good intentions. I mean to tell you, the people who put this bill together are total and absolute clowns, and so willing to waste our tax-payer dollars.

The people who voted for it were also clowns. So what does that say about the government in Kansas?

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Crazy_Larry 1 year, 1 month ago

"Conservatives want live babies so they can raise them to be dead soldiers." ...and minimum wage workers.

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Crazy_Larry 1 year, 1 month ago

Texas scrambles to re-fund family planning after a $73m in savings turns into a projected $273m loss after a huge spike in unplanned births for low-income families.

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/01/us/texas-may-restore-some-family-planning-budget-cuts.html?_r=2&

Reminds me of this quote from George Carlin:

"Boy, these conservatives are really something, aren't they? They're all in favor of the unborn. They will do anything for the unborn. But once you're born, you're on your own. Pro-life conservatives are obsessed with the fetus from conception to nine months. After that, they don't want to know about you. They don't want to hear from you. No nothing. No neonatal care, no day care, no head start, no school lunch, no food stamps, no welfare, no nothing. If you're preborn, you're fine; if you're preschool, you're F**D."

Conservative "logic"...

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Agnostick 1 year, 1 month ago

If Roe v. Wade is overturned, invitro fertilization could also become a "back alley procedure." That's a fact.

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yourworstnightmare 1 year, 1 month ago

Disgraceful.

To moderate republicans out there: how can you stand by and let these extremist right wing reactionaries represent your party? Take your state back.

You have let the state become governed by immoral and unethical zealots.

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tomatogrower 1 year, 1 month ago

Thankfully I am past chid bearing days, but ladies, listen. If you get pregnant make a doctor sign an agreement to keep you fully informed of all things that have to do with your body. If they won't sign find another doctor, and spread the word.

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dabbindan 1 year, 1 month ago

i've said it before but it's worth repeating. this group has a bicameral steamroller and they are going to try to flatten as many things as they can with it as it may have limited mileage.

here's hoping the more flattening they try, the quicker the keys get taken away.

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Cait McKnelly 1 year, 1 month ago

By any chance, has anybody researched if this would violate HIPAA? There's a lot more to that law than just privacy.

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verity 1 year, 1 month ago

A "lie by omission" is just as dangerous, and in some cases, more dangerous than a spoken lie. One of the reasons it is more dangerous is because a person who judges themselves as ethical and moral and wouldn't ordinarily lie can make a case to themselves that since they didn't say a lie it's not really a lie. One can tell a story leaving out an important detail or even just insinuating something which makes a 180 degree difference.

Having been involved with a few people who, with malicious intent, neglected to say things which they knew were important, I know how dangerous this can be. And, yes, a lie by omission or manipulation is a lie just as much as a spoken one. Any person who feels they shouldn't by conscience give out information that would lead to a decision they don't like does not have the moral fortitude to be a doctor---or anything else for that matter. What a person does with the information is their decision. And telling you they may not tell you the whole truth is not an acceptable out. There is no excuse ever for a doctor to not tell the patient the truth. I should not have to go to another doctor to see if the first one is telling me the truth. The whole idea is unbelievable nonsense.

That anyone would even consider legislation that a doctor does not have to be honest with his patients if it is against his/her conscience is unbelievably vile. Doesn't speak much for the integrity of the legislators who support this vile concept.

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Cait McKnelly 1 year, 1 month ago

You know, in a way, I can't wait for these people to actually get around to challenging Roe. I believe that in the end, abortion is going to be protected under a whole different Constitutional amendment; the 13th amendment outlawing slavery. Under the 13th, one of the definitions of slavery is "forced reproduction". Constitutional lawyers are gearing up for this fight as we speak.
Isn't it nice to know that our fair state has now done a full 180 and is "pro-slavery"?
Oh and by the way, you DO know that if this law passes it will face immediate challenge in Federal Court, right? Kiss another million dollars in tax money goodbye as the state defends another indefensible law.

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Ron Holzwarth 1 year, 1 month ago

Spies, spies, I tell you, they are everywhere! Spies are reading this in Topeka, for the House of Representatives, and they are reporting to their masters that this piece of legislation needs to die a quiet death. We probably won't hear much more about it.

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usesomesense 1 year, 1 month ago

Furthermore - this opens up the possibility of doctors withholding information about STD's because it serves them right if they catch something from that 'immoral' person - survival of the fittest. It's potentially the tip of a very dangerous iceberg that is completely artificially created.

Active omission for profit as well makes this very dangerous. A doctor may claim omission for 'moral reasons' that are really for profit, not to mention the same claim in cases of negligence or incompetence.

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usesomesense 1 year, 1 month ago

The fact of the matter is this: It is completely unethical - COMPLETELY UNETHICAL - not to mention immoral and downright negligent for ANY doctor to actively withhold health information from patients and their parents (or legal guardian) and would be gross negligence to 'forget to mention' ANY pertinent health information from patients for ANY reason. This type of legislation opens the door for a multitude of potential problems down the road: 1. The mother's life is in danger AND the fetus will not likely survive either. Doctor doesn't tell anybody, both die as a result and $50k in medical bills in the process. 2. Early testing indicates the fetus has ZERO chance of survival. Parents tralalala along happy as all get out and ultimately go through entire process resulting in completely predictable still birth at great suffering, not to mention great medical express because the doctor prayed for a miracle, but the prayer wasn't answered. 3. Doctor is truly negligent and uses this as an excuse for not doing their job. 4. Loopholes (or perhaps just plain stupidity or lack of definition) allow the legislation to apply to all kinds of other malpractice situations.

I'm not 'pro abortion' but I am anti-lying. Any professional knows that omission is lying and therefore negligent. If doctors don't want to be involved in things like this they need to specialize in something else or change professions all together, or disclose to every patient that they may lie to them and have them sign a contract clearly stating it.

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Paul R Getto 1 year, 1 month ago

Jesus (the other one, not Sam's muscular C-Street Cult jesusperson union buster) wept. Shortest verse in the bible, I believe.

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Bob Forer 1 year, 1 month ago

So much for "smaller government."

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Cait McKnelly 1 year, 1 month ago

http://evergreenandindigo.blogspot.com/2012/03/open-letter-to-kansas-legislature.html
This "open letter" was actually written about the bill last year that didn't pass and was then reintroduced this year. It is VERY powerful (and I am quite jealous of her writing). The writer states that it applies just as much this year as it did last year and I must agree.
However, I have every belief that legislators are already aware of what is in this piece and the vast majority of them simply don't care. Their drive to CONTROL women outweighs any compassion they may feel for them. That need for control reminds me of the definition of "rape". Rape has nothing to do with sex and everything to do with control. Something to ponder on.

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question4u 1 year, 1 month ago

A doctor who believes that abortion is morally wrong, who openly says so, and who warns patients that they will not be told anything that might lead them to consider an abortion cannot be accused of lacking integrity – as long as that doctor allows other doctors to stand by their convictions too.

This bill is not needed by the doctor with integrity, it simply protects any doctor who is so contemptible that he or she would lie to patients. Are there really any doctors in Kansas who are that despicable? It doesn't seem likely, regardless of their views on abortion and regardless of the low opinion that the Kansas senate seems to have of Kansas doctors.

Why would the Kansas Senate pass a law to protect liars? How much more proof is needed that these are not rational people?

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Ron Holzwarth 1 year, 1 month ago

The bill is nowhere near passage yet, we have a bicameral legislature here in Kansas, like 49 of the states and commonwealths in the United States. Nebraska is the sole exception, with a unicameral house.

That means that next the proposed legislation still needs to pass the house, and after that, it still won't be law until the governor signs it. That's going to be a while yet. I doubt that this bill is going to pass, as controversial as it is. I am sure the medical community is dead set against it, and that's surely enough to tip the scales.

What I think is rather interesting that it's backwards than at the federal level, where proposed legislation usually first has to pass the house, and then the senate. After that, the President signs it, then it's law. Unless successfully challenged by the Supreme Court, of course.

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Alyosha 1 year, 1 month ago

How did Senators representing Lawrence vote? Am I missing that somewhere here?

(Edited to make it clear I was talking about the Senators.)

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Cait McKnelly 1 year, 1 month ago

A petition against this bill has been mounted. Think it's a crock of BS that the state legislature is telling doctors they can actively and passively lie to women and get away with it? Go sign it. http://changekansas.org/action/petition/dont-let-doctors-lie

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mom_of_three 1 year, 1 month ago

So the legislature is concerned with making sure the federal government stays out of their gun laws, but the same legislature has no problem with dictating what women can do with their bodies.

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booklover2 1 year, 1 month ago

The state needs to just stay the hell out of this. As CardHawkFan said there are in utero procedures that could be performed to correct a medical problem, if known.

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Larry Sturm 1 year, 1 month ago

Our state is run by coruption bought by the Koch brothers.

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donttreadonme 1 year, 1 month ago

What happened to small government? Why is the State protecting doctors who do not do their duty?

Whatever happened to honesty and truth?

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jayhawklawrence 1 year, 1 month ago

This is the problem with fundamentalism. When confronted with a real moral test the absurdity of its principles is exposed. Religion is a personal journey that should not be governed by any State power.

This is the opposite of limited government.

Our state is run by a bunch of cartoon characters.

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Ron Holzwarth 1 year, 1 month ago

Here's a cold, uncaring statement: A woman could go to an out of state doctor for a second opinion if she's at all suspicious.

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Greg Cooper 1 year, 1 month ago

OK, Kansas, where have we gone wrong? This is the story of my daughter. You tell me how wrong it would have been to force the doctor to lie to her.

When this woman and her husband learned they were pregnant, the joy they felt was immense, as it was for their entire extended families. As the pregnancy progressed, they planned, as all parents do, their child's life from birth to the Nobel Prize for Anything. They dreamed of its first date, of its growing and learning and experiencing love and loss and joy and sorrow. Of life. And then the news came: the fetus had a fatal condition that would render the baby, after birth, unable to live. Not just to have an issue with quality of life, but unable to live for more than a scant few seconds.

The pregnancy continued, and the couple faced a decision that others have faced. Their doctor pulled no punches: the fetus would be unable to live at all. They prayed, they raved against all manner of things out of their control. They were devastated, but they decided to continue with the pregnancy.

The child was born, lived a few seconds, and died in its mother's arms.

Now, the moral of the story is this: what would have happened had the doctor(s) been told by the state to keep quiet, to lie to the parents? At the least, the parents would have spent a lot of time dreaming of their child's future. They would have purchased clothing, kid's room things. They would have prepared for a normal birth and been totally devastated by the child's death.

What manner of human being can think it is alright to lie to an expectant family, either by omission or by outright statements? What part of the Republican Party's ethos makes truth a one-sided affair and deception a virtue?

This happened to my family, and I, for one, am outraged that this bill even saw the light of day outside the twisted, evil mind of those who conceived it. Saying nothing of the morality of lying to anyone about any medical condition, the pure evil of lying to a pregnant mother for simple misplaced "moral" reasons is repugnant.

Please, Kansas, show the world that we have not returned to the Dark Ages, when "religion" ruled all political thought, when reason was subject to death.

Do this, if not for your own children, for my daughter's dead child. This will not be the only time this happens to someone else. I pray to God (yes, even yours) that it won't happen to your family.

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James Nelson 1 year, 1 month ago

Senator Mary Pilcher-Cook needs to get barefoot and pregnant and stay home cooking for her man like all good republican women. AND KEEP THE HECK OUT FROM BETWEEN DOCTORS AND OTHER WOMEN!!!!!!!!!!!

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DScully 1 year, 1 month ago

And the party of uncaring, morally righteous pigs rolls on in this disgusting state.

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CardHawkFan 1 year, 1 month ago

There are other reasons to inform the parent...like the fact that there are now certain procedures, etc. that can be performed in utero to help prevent severity of certain health concerns. The information is also beneficial because if there is a disability discovered before birth, there are interventions that can be put into place from the time the child is born to improve the child's life course. This bill just might be the dumbest thing I have ever heard.

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Left_of_Lawrence 1 year, 1 month ago

When did every member of the State Senate become an MD? So it's small, limited government except when it comes to Women's Health. What's next, maybe not letting doctors tell patients that they have cancer, or AIDS? It would help keep costs down.

Wake up Kansas! Just about the last place we need government "butting in" is in-between you and your doctor.

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KansasLiberal 1 year, 1 month ago

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

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Notfooled 1 year, 1 month ago

Under no circumstances, should a doctor EVER be allowed to withhold ANY information concerning your body. Period. If you think otherwise, then you are an idiot.

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Patricia Davis 1 year, 1 month ago

I think Brownback is a perfect example of wrongful birth.

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Thomas Bryce 1 year, 1 month ago

If A Doctor Lies to a Patient, Isn't that a Violation Of The Hippocratic Oath? If A Doctor has been found to have Violated the Hippocratic Oath, Can't they be Sanctioned or loose their License to Practice Medicine?

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Hooligan_016 1 year, 1 month ago

Lovely. Glad this is such a priority to the Legislature.

/sarcasm

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