By Kathy Ostrowski, legislative director, Kansans for Life
A special event took place in Kansas today. Gov. Sam Brownback traveled to four cities for ceremonial signings of SB 95, The Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act.
The model language for the Act was provided by Kansans for Life, from the National Right to Life Committee. It prohibits the barbaric abortion method of dismembering living unborn children. The measure was first enacted in Kansas and then in Oklahoma.
SB 95 was technically signed into law April 7 but this dismemberment ban has such significance in advancing the pro-life cause that Gov. Brownback deemed it important enough to mark its signing with a wide public audience.
The governor traveled with the bill’s lead sponsor, Sen. Garrett Love (R-Montezuma) and the bill’s carrier in the House, Rep. Steve Brunk (R-Wichita) to school locations in the 4 quadrants of the state: Lenexa, Pittsburg, Wichita and Hays. Rep. Brunk was a lead carrier of Kansas’ Unborn Victims of Violence Act in 2007 and Sen. Love was sponsor of Kansas’ Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act in 2011.
The signing events kicked off at 9 a.m. in northeast Kansas at the Holy Trinity Catholic Church and elementary school. Archbishop Joseph Naumann, Kansas Catholic Conference Director Michael Schuttloffel, and representatives of Benedictine College, were among the special guests. Also in attendance were numerous legislators, including Rep. John Rubin (R-Shawnee) who assisted in the defense of the bill during floor debate.
Gov. Brownback commended the “outstanding long-term work of Kansans for Life” and for “bringing this measure to ban a horrific abortion procedure.” He told the audience that when the American public learned about partial-birth abortion, they strongly wanted it banned and the Supreme Court said it could be done. “The people of Kansas don’t support dismembering unborn children.”
Archbishop Naumann, who has been involved in pro-life advocacy for many decades, said, “We look forward to many lives being saved by this law; it is an answer to many peoples’ prayers. This law will educate and awaken people to the horror that is abortion, which is the civil rights issue of our times.”
Mary Kay Culp, executive director of Kansans for Life, offered some introductory remarks to the crowd, which included 7th & 8th grade students.
“The signing of this pro-life law shows Kansas’ deep commitment to protecting innocent life and setting an example for the nation.
Often a formal signing ceremony is done in the Capitol and is witnessed by those most affected by the change in law. In the case of SB 95, those who are most affected, the unborn, cannot be here today. So we stand in solidarity with those unborn children by standing here for them today.
Let us applaud all our pro-life lawmakers and our pro-life governor for achieving this law and pray that Kansas will continue to work to show respect for life.”
Pro-lifers in southeast Kansas gathered at 11:00 at the St. Mary Colgan high school , while pro-lifers from south central and western Kansas attended the signing at Bishop Carroll High School at 1:30.
Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer, who is a physician and who testified in support of SB 95, joined the final signing event at 3:30 at his alma mater, the St. Thomas More Prep school in Hays.