By Kathy Ostrowski, Kansans for Life, Policy & Research director
The Kansas legislature is sending Gov. Sam Brownback another first-in-the-nation pro-life bill.
This morning the state Senate approved, 25-15, Senate sub SB 83, an update to the 1997 Woman’s Right to Know statute, that the House passed Friday 84-38. “I think this is a bill that will help women make the right choice and an informed decision,” said Sen. Rob Olson (R-Olathe), who carried the bill today.
The Disclose Act was introduced this session in both chambers with numerous pro-life co-sponsors, including the three practicing physicians who are state representatives. The bill carrier in the House was Rep. Susan Humphries (R-Wichita).
The Disclose Act requires abortion businesses to provide –in an easily readable typeface –minimum professional information about each abortionist listed on clinics’ online informed consent documents.
Kansas abortion clinics cannot defend failing to provide basic data about the pool of practitioners they list on the informed consent documents they all make available online. State law requires this consent document as the gateway form that must be downloaded and timestamped at least 24 hours prior to the abortion.
Currently if a woman uses the clinic’s form, she doesn’t “choose” the abortionist; she is assigned one. Nor can she evaluate if that practitioner is acceptable to her. She has no idea of the abortionist’s training, age, and professional reliability. This information stranglehold is not faced in any other elective procedure.
The Disclose Act requires these physician minimum topics:
- Kansas residency,
- medical degree year,
- years employed at that abortion location,
- whether hospital privileges are in effect,
- malpractice coverage,
- disciplinary actions completed by the State Board of Healing Arts (which regulates physicians).
Abortion clinics can very easily add this information in a one-time data entry to their online admission forms. Abortion clinics unjustifiably defend withholding this information–calling it harassment–the very words some abortion supporting Senators used today in debate.
A hostile motion by Sen. Dinah Sykes (R- Lenexa) to send the bill back to committee –to extend the disclosures to other medical practitioners– failed 16-23.
Sen. Ty Masterson (R-Andover) chastised opponents for “veiling their opposition” to the Disclose Act under the complaint that abortion was being treated differently. “Abortion is different because there is a third person involved in the procedure [the unborn baby].”
Sen. Steve Fitzgerald (R-Leavenworth) added, “The point is that in this procedure, the intended result is a dead human being.” He hammered at the claims from senators not to know this difference, saying this “must be explained not [due] to ignorance but to insincerity, deceit and self-delusion; and that is offensive.”
Sen. Fitzgerald continued, charging that the actual intent of opponents “cloaked in ‘concern’ [about other medical procedures] was
“to deny women important, relevant information in convenient format at the appropriate time.”
Rebutting claims that the state Healing Arts Board makes providing women disclosure unneeded, Sen. Mary Pilcher-Cook (R-Shawnee) reminded that the Board does not act as a consumer protection agency, and “it is [our] legislative duty to protect, not point to another agency.”
Sen. Pilcher-Cook also read some excerpts from the National Abortion Federation convention which indicated the coarseness of abortionists. “The the nature of abortion is ugly and it’s evil because it kills a human being,” she said.
The comment from one senator that too much time had been spent on this bill when budget issues remained, sparked this rebuttal from Sen. Gene Sullentrop (R-Wichita): “I don’t think money is more important than life…we should be making law about this.”
ABORTION VIA EMAIL
The Disclose Act is a recognition that–unlike decades ago when the Woman’s Right to Know Act became law–the great majority of abortions in Kansas are currently secured with a phone call or internet contact, not an office visit or medical referral.
Under state law enacted in 2013, each abortion clinic’s home page must include a live weblink to the state website for helpful “Woman’s Right to Know” information. However, proponents of the Disclose Act charge that abortion businesses have
- disobeyed the location for that mandate or
- printed it as to be barely-readable in tiny grey type on a tinted background.
That is the reason for requiring baseline data about abortionists be printed in black ink, 12 pt. size, on white paper.