By Kathy Ostrowski, Legislative Director
Kansans for Life
Moving through the Kansas legislative process this week were two measures combating abortion coercion: the Pro-Life Protections Act (HB 2253) and SCR 1606, a resolution commending pregnancy maintenance resource centers (also known as crisis pregnancy centers).
SCR 1606 was adopted by the Senate (fittingly) on January 22 and recognizes the valuable contribution of such centers nationally, as well as the 71 Kansas centers officially found in the state informed consent registry.
The resolution was sent to the House Health & Human Services Committee, which on Wednesday heard presentations of the work done at these centers– work the Kansas Catholic Conference testimony described as the “front lines of the movement” where “caring individuals offer the material and emotional assistance that changes lives, and even saves them”.
But how stunning to hear that 95% of the women at one center were headed for an abortion due to the unborn child’s father! The center’s director described their task as helping the woman “own” her pregnancy decision and providing her with true medical information about her baby. Although the media did not attend this committee hearing, would they have filed the story of rampant abortion coercion had they been there? You know the answer.
The media description of the Pro-Life Protections Act, HB 2253, likewise, overlooks how the bill addresses abortion coercion. HB 2253 passed out favorably from the House Federal & State Affairs committee on Thursday and was reported as a “sweeping regulatory” bill, viewed “by opponents as the biggest threat to access.”
The press angle is all too predictable–but how are abortionists being harmed and how are abortion-seeking women interfered with by the state? Never a politically incorrect story about protecting women from systematic victimization by the abortion industry.
Nevertheless, not only the wonderful pregnancy maintenance centers, but pro-life legislation aims at helping abortion-vulnerable woman who feel the lack of support for giving birth. Women who may be coerced into abortion are addressed in at least 4 ways by HB 2253, which:
- strengthens a state-produced anti-coercion warning which abortion clinics must post inside the premises;
- empowers a pregnant women by insuring she has access to scientific risks that meet the legal standard of information relevant to her pregnancy decision;
- requires abortion businesses to link to the entire state’s “Woman’s Right to Know” website with 4-D ultrasound presentations on gestational development;
- adds new services for women diagnosed with “medically challenging” pregnancies.
The last bullet point addresses the fact that abortion has been promoted, not only as a solution to unborn children diagnosed with serious and lethal conditions, but even for those with Down Syndrome. In HB 2253, a national perinatal (pre- and post- birth) Hospice registry becomes part of state information, as well as a mandate that the state health department co-ordinate and provide support systems for Down syndrome and other prenatally and postnatally diagnosed conditions.
This new mandate to strengthen the information available to help families face challenging medical outcomes is modeled after the Brownback-Kennedy federal bill of 2007, which—while passed—never was properly funded. Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback sponsored the bill as U.S. Senator, noting that, 90% of children prenatally diagnosed with Down syndrome are aborted.
That percentage is similar for children prenatally diagnosed with other conditions such as spina bifida, cystic fibrosis, and dwarfism.
Rep. Steve Brunk (R-Wichita) told the Federal & State Affairs committee of his daughter’s spina bifida condition, and the lack of resources which propelled him to create and lead for ten years, the Spina Bifida Association group in Kansas.
So these are some of the “sweeping” provisions of Kansas pro-life legislation that are never deemed “newsworthy.”