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Kansas Senate committees pass two pro-life bills

by | Mar 10, 2016

By Kathy Ostrowski, Legislative Director, Kansans for Life

Pro-life Senate chairmen,  O’Donnell & Masterson

Pro-life Senate chairmen, O’Donnell & Masterson

Pro-life Senate Public Health & Welfare chair, Mike O’Donnell and Senate Ways & Means chair, Ty Masterson, expedited committee passage of two pro-life Kansas bills this week.

On Wednesday, March 9, the Senate Public Health & Welfare committee passed Simon’s Law, SB 437, a bill addressing parental rights and life-sustaining treatment for minors.

Only one committee member, Sen. Laura Kelly, voted against passage. Sen. Kelly complained that medical opposition had not come forward to oppose this eminently reasonable and protective bill!

Simon’s Law was named for a baby, Simon Crosier, who was allowed to die due to a DNR (Do Not Resuscitate) medical order issued without knowledge or permission of his parents. His parents believe Simon was discriminated against due to his Trisomy 18 condition.

Kansans for Life brought the committee many compelling testimonials from 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 will do two important things:

1. Prevent any medical facility or practitioner from secretly placing a DNR order for children under 18 years of age without written consent of at least one parent or guardian.

2. Require that, upon request, a facility must disclose any existing written policy on denial of life-sustaining treatment.

The Senate Public Health & Welfare committee added clarifying language defining “futile care” and a process for DNR conflict resolution. The full Senate is expected to vote on Simon’s Law within days.

BILL THAT PLANNED PARENTHOOD HATES

On Tuesday, March 8, the Senate Ways & Means Committee passed out a pro-life bill that would make permanent the way the state health department (KDHE) assigns grants using Title X federal funding.

SB 436 codifies the original 2007 Huelskamp-Kinzer proviso, prioritizing comprehensive care facilities as Title X recipients. The proviso was annually passed– but line-item vetoed– until signed into law in 2011 under Gov. Sam Brownback.

Planned Parenthood sued in 2011 to get that Title X money for which it no longer qualified . The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals denied their claim in 2014 [www.nationalrighttolifenews.org/news/2014/03/fed-appeals-court-overturns-planned-parenthood-funding/#.VuGUHH0rJko].

The ruling vindicated Kansas, and what former KDHE secretary, Robert Moser, had maintained: “Title X was not intended to be an entitlement program for Planned Parenthood.”

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 measure strengthens local ‘safety net’ health clinics.

The Senate Ways & Means committee passed SB 436 with Senator Marci Francisco as the only no vote. This bill is also expected to get a vote from the full Senate in short order.

During committee action, Sen. Francisco, with support from Sen. Kelly, had offered an amendment to SB 436 that would have created a brand new KDHE funding stream for Planned Parenthood!

The committee soundly defeated that amendment.

Categories: Legislation
Tags: Kansas