By Kathy Ostrowski
Legislative Director for Kansans for Life
Kansas passed three pro-life measures Tuesday. Two of them (SB 142 and SCR 1606) are headed to Gov. Sam Brownback’s desk, the third (SB 199, creating a stem cell center) is temporarily stalled in conference due to the addition of a friendly amendment.
Pro-lifers are acutely aware that over 55 million unborn children have been denied the right to life because of Roe v. Wade. However Roe’s interior logic has also infiltrated courtrooms increasingly in the form of ‘wrongful birth’ and ‘wrongful life’ lawsuits. These are suits brought under the claim that money damages are owed the parents because the baby—most often one with some significant disability—should not be alive.
Kansas passed SB 142, ‘Civil Rights for the Unborn’ by a vote Tuesday of 89-33 in the House, following earlier Senate passage by a vote of 34-5. Currently, thirteen states bar wrongful birth claims by statute or case law and 34 bar wrongful life suits by statute or case law.
This bill does not interfere with the proper filing of malpractice for obstetric negligence and incompetence. However, this simple truth did not deter abortion supporters from telling the nation that Kansas doctors will be free under this bill to “lie to women.”
After making that claim at the bill’s hearing in the House Corrections & Juvenile Justice committee, when challenged directly by pro-life Rep. Jan Pauls, the Kansas N.O.W. lobbyist reasserted that only pro-choice doctors will not lie to women.
Additionally noteworthy is the provision in SB 142 that allows civil causes of action for wrongful death of an unborn child (outside of the abortion context) to be filed throughout the entire nine months of gestation, not just after viability. SB 142 is the civil counterpart of Kansas’ 2007 “Alexa’s Law,” allowing criminal prosecution when the unborn is a victim of crime.
Also on Tuesday, SCR 1606, a joint chamber resolution recognizing the work of pregnancy maintenance centers in Kansas and across the nation, passed the House 122-0 after having passed the Senate.
Kansas has eighty pregnancy maintenance help centers. (If you divide the estimated 2,000 national centers by 50 states that would work out to be an average of 40 per state.) These centers are a vital component of the pro-life movement. Recent testimony from one center in the Kansans City area indicated 95% of their clients are being pressured to abort by the father of the unborn child. (See http://nrlc.cc/10VWJlW.)
Finally on Tuesday, SB 199 passed the House by a vote of 90-32, having previously passed the Senate with a vote of 33-7. Procedurally, the bill had to return to the Senate for re-passage because of a small technical addition.
SB 199 establishes the Midwest Adult Stem Cell Therapy Center at the University of Kansas Medical Center in collaboration with the Blood and Marrow Transplant Center of Kansas and the Via Christi Cancer Institute in Wichita. All funds and facilities shall be dedicated to treatments and research with adult, cord blood and related stem cells and non-embryonic stem cells. No funds or facilities shall involve embryonic stem cells or fetal tissue cells.
The Center will:
- serve as a core facility to produce clinical grade stem cells;
- create and maintain a database resource for physicians and patients that provides a comprehensive global list of available stem cell clinical trials and therapies;
- initiate clinical trials with adult, cord blood and related stem cells;
- create education modules to train and educate physicians and research scientists.