By Kathy Ostrowski, Kansans for Life legislative director
Pro-life legislation is broader than just abortion limitations, as the pro-life
Kansas Senate demonstrated by passing two measures today: SB 199, establishing an adult stem cell clearinghouse and therapy center, and SB 142, enhancing civil litigation rights for the unborn.
On Thursday, the Senate endorsed creating a novel and globally important Midwest Stem Cell Therapy Center at the University of Kansas (KU). Before the vote was taken, Senate President, Susan Wagle (R-Wichita) provided a ringing endorsement.
“I am pleased to see this legislation, endorsed completely by KU. My son, Paul, relapsed in 2006 from leukemia after 2 and a half years of chemotherapy. We tested family members and could not find a match for bone marrow.
“We called Gov. Sam Brownback, who was U.S. Senator at the time, because he had worked for years to promote stem cell research. The governor connected us with a New York doctor doing research trials who had established a cord blood bank. We found a match with a baby in NY and Paul got the [resulting stem cell] treatment in Texas.
“When you vote for this bill, you are planting a seed…this is about cures, saving lives and new research. I ask you all to vote for it.”
The bill’s prime sponsor, Sen. Mary Pilcher-Cook (R-Shawnee) asked her fellow Senators to consider that, “everyone has some kind of disease in family that has caused tragedy, our family has Huntington’s Disease. Kansas needs to be in the forefront to help people.”
Kansas City Ethicist at Rockhurst University, Dr. John Morris, had testified in support of the center as a deterrent to the alarming phenomenon of “stem cell tourism” in which suffering Americans are lured abroad – largely via internet– for unproven stem cell applications by unqualified personnel. The proposed center will be located in the Kansas City metro area, and will:
· treat patients,
· process and multiply stem cells,
· create a centrally-located global database,
· network physicians and scientists, and
· initiate educational outreach.
In other action Thursday, the Senate passed SB 142, “Civil Rights for the Unborn” by a vote of 34-5-1. SB 142 will ban any so-called “wrongful birth and wrongful life” lawsuits claiming that the child, in essence, is a ‘damage. ’ Nine other states statutorily bar wrongful birth suits and ten statutorily bar wrongful life suits.
SB 142 also addresses civil suits brought on behalf of the wrongful death of an unborn child, so that they can be filed on behalf of a child throughout gestation, not just after viability. The unborn child in Kansas since 2007 has enjoyed such protection under criminal law, as the second victim when a pregnant mother is a victim of crime.
Both SB 199 and SB 142 go to the House for consideration.