By Kathy Ostrowski, Legislative Director, Kansans for Life
The Kansas legislature reconvened this week for the second half of the session and Kansans for Life testified in hearings for two pro-life bills.
On Thursday, the Senate Public Health & Welfare committee held a hearing on SB 437, Simon’s Law, a bill to insure that the issuance of any Do Not Resuscitate order (DNR) for a minor has parental consent.
Since baby Simon’s death five years ago due to unjustifiable denial of care, Sheryl Crosier, his mother, has been in touch with a myriad of other families whose medically fragile children were harmed and/or denied medical resuscitation– due to negative “quality of life” value judgments from physicians and hospitals.
Simon’s Law, SB 437, was introduced by Sen. Jacob LaTurner (R-Pittsburg), who thanked Crosier for her commitment to the issue and her bravery in describing for the committee the events involved in her son’s death.
Her testimony was indeed both shocking and gut-wrenching for those in the packed committee room. Sheryl and her husband discovered–after Simon’s death– that life-sustaining care had been denied to him due to a secretly-placed DNR based on his status as an infant with Trisomy 18.
Crosier’s experience triggered the production of a 2014 film called “Labeled,” on the topic of the medical discrimination against children with Trisomy 18, Trisomy 13 and related chromosomal disorders.
Kansans for Life is promoting Simon’s Law, on behalf of these families– as well as physicians and researchers– who want parents assured of “an environment that allows medical decisions to be made in an ethical and transparent way.”
The committee will likely work on the bill next week.
BILL THAT PLANNED PARENTHOOD HATES
On Wednesday, March 2, the Senate Ways & Means Committee heard testimony from Kansans for Life supporting SB 436. This measure would make permanent the way the state health department (KDHE),assigns grants using Title X federal funding.
Sen. Caryn Tyson (R-Parker) introduced SB 436 with 26 Senate co-sponsors.
First passed in 2007 as the Huelskamp-Kinzer amendment, SB 436
prioritizes that full-service public clinics and hospitals are first in line for Title X ‘reproductive-services’ money. Remaining money is secondarily prioritized to private, full-service clinics and hospitals.
The emphasis is on providing comprehensive health care for Kansans who qualify for Title X, and for strengthening ‘safety net’ health clinics.
The legislature annually passed the Huelskamp-Kinzer amendment only to have it vetoed by pro-abortion governors. Since 2011, when pro-life Gov. Sam Brownback took office, it has been approved in the budget every year.
Planned Parenthood of Kansas Mid-Missouri (PPKMM) sued the Title X prioritization; they cannot provide the comprehensive care now required. During litigation, however, PPKMM continued to receive over a million dollars when Kansas was forced by an activist court to continue contracting with them.
The Kansas Attorney Generals’ office strongly defended the measure in federal district court, and on appeal. Dr. Robert Moser, then-KDHE Secretary who was named in the lawsuit, justified the state’s position, stating, “Title X was not intended to be an entitlement program for Planned Parenthood.”
In May 2014, the Title X prioritization was upheld in a ruling from the federal Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals. After PPKMM’s loss, they dropped further appeals.