By Kathy Ostrowski, Legislative Director, Kansans for Life
Days after Planned Parenthood conceded defeat to Kansas in a three-years-running lawsuit, another abortion lawsuit over a pro-life Kansas law is rapidly crumbling.
Last week, attorneys for Herb Hodes & Traci Nauser, who operate the Center for Women’s Health (CWH) in Overland Park, acknowledged that an injunction they’d obtained on small portions of a 2013 law is no longer in effect. In addition, they have officially withdrawn sections of their lawsuit against the 2013 Pro-Life Protections Act in which they claimed that free speech rights guaranteed under the Kansas Constitution were infringed.
The Pro-Life Protections Act improves informed consent, bans sex-selection abortions and removes tax advantages for abortionists. In June 2013, Shawnee District Court Judge Rebecca Crotty ruled that CWH had not met the legal standard for winning a restraining order against the entire law, meaning nearly 99 % of the Kansas Pro-life Protections Act, HB 2253 would go into effect.
Judge Crotty did grant CWH attorneys a temporary injunction on two small provisions:
1) the definition of medical emergency that could have been interpreted to affect ectopic pregnancies, and
2) a first-in-the-nation mandate that each Kansas abortion clinic website homepage provide an easily identifiable link to the state health department’s “Woman’s Right to Know” information.
To address the Court’s concerns, the Kansas legislature tweaked those provisions slightly, effective April 24, 2014, as Senate Bill 54.
The legislature agreed to take away the description of the state website as “objective, nonjudgmental, scientifically accurate” –which Hodes-Nauser (and Planned Parenthood in a federal suit) objected to.
Although not conceding the description is wrong, legislators judged that SB 54 would end the state court injunction, and allow abortion-seeking women to immediately click to state information, including the best-in-nation fetal development video-information.
Now, both the abortion attorneys and the Kansas defense attorneys have officially declared the original injunction is no longer operative.
The live link that abortion clinics must feature on their homepage reads:
‘‘The Kansas Department of Health and Environment maintains a website containing information about the development of the unborn child, as well as video of sonogram images of the unborn child at various stages of development. The Kansas Department of Health and Environment’s website can be reached by clicking here at www.womansrighttoknow.org.”
Apart from the now-voided injunction, CWH is still pressing their June 2013 lawsuit that attacks the Pro-Life Protections Act from head to foot. Here, too, however, the defense attorneys for the state of Kansas have been whittling it down.
In October, CWH dropped their objection to the state-developed informed consent information about the unborn child’s pain-capability, and the possible risks of premature future births and breast cancer linked to abortion.
In November, the court ruled against CWH’s ridiculous claim that the Act wrongly contained “non-abortion” topics of prenatal diagnostic support and the rights of unborn children and their parents.
In their newest concession, filed May 12, CWH dropped their fight against the “abortion coercion” warning that must be posted inside each abortion business. This required onsite posting became law in 2009, and was type-formatted to the appropriate size by the state medical board. Additional wording was added in the 2013 Pro-Life Protections Act.
The 2009 Notice read:
It is against the law for anyone, regardless of their relationship to you, to force you to have an abortion.
By law, we cannot perform an abortion on you unless we have your freely given and voluntary consent.
It is against the law to perform an abortion on you against your will.
You have the right to contact any local or state law enforcement agency to receive protection from any actual or threatened physical abuse or violence.
You have the right to change your mind at any time prior to the actual abortion and request that the abortion procedure cease.
The 2013 Pro-Life Protections Act retained that language, and added:
It is unlawful for anyone to make you have an abortion against your will, even if you are a minor.
The father of your child must provide support for the child, even if he has offered to pay for an abortion.
If you decide not to have an abortion, you may qualify for financial help for pregnancy, childbirth and newborn care.
If you qualify, medicaid will pay or help pay the cost of doctor, clinic, hospital and other related medical expenses, including childbirth delivery services and care for your newborn baby.
Many agencies are willing to provide assistance so that you may carry your child to term, and to assist you after your child’s birth.
Also, as reported last week, on May 9th, Planned Parenthood of Kansas & Mid-Missouri (PPKMM) withdrew its litigation against the state of Kansas that had challenged the state’s decision to send federal family planning funds to public full-service clinics.
This lawsuit was originally filed in June 2011 by PPKMM and landed in the court of U.S. District Judge Thomas Marten. It targeted a budget mandate (drafted by Kansans for Life) that directs the state health department to award Federal Title X family planning contracts primarily to full service public health clinics. In this way, tax money subsidizes full-service healthcare for the indigent.
PPKMM won the first round in October 2011, but lost in the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals this March. The appeals panel ruled that Planned Parenthood lacked standing to pursue its claims in federal court, and that its claim of a First Amendment violation lacked merit– about as resounding a defeat as you could get.