KSBHA Letter to Sebelius Draws Premature Conclusions About Abortion Death

OR : Letter politically motivated to provide false cover for veto of clinic licensing bill

WICHITA, KS — Operation Rescue has obtained a copy of a letter sent Friday from Kansas State Board of Healing Arts Executive Director Larry Buening to Governor Kathleen Sebelius concerning an investigation into a January 13, 2005 abortion-related death in Wichita. In that letter, Buening attempts to diminish the abortion death and absolve the governor of culpability by indicating that clinic regulations would not have saved a Texas teenager who died during a dangerous late-term abortion at, Women?s Health Care Services in Wichita, KS, an unregulated abortion mill run by the notorious George Tiller.

However, upon further inspection of the document, it is clear that the KSBHA indicates that they cannot be sure that standard of care provided to the dead girl was adequate, whether standard procedures to safeguard women from injuries were followed, or whether the abortion was done legally. This information could not be determined without examining the autopsy report, which has yet to be released.

Sebelius vetoed a clinic licensing bill two years ago. Since then there have been at least five documented abortion injuries, including one abortion death, at Tiller?s abortion mill alone. Sebelius has threatened to veto the current legislation as well, in spite of the fact that HB 2503 was passed with super-majorities in both houses.

Interestingly, and in a potential conflict of interest, Buening is the husband of top Sebelius aide Vicki Buening, who owes her job to the fact that Sebelius received tens of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from Tiller which helped Sebelius win the race for governor.

The KSBHA launched an investigation into the abortion death at the request of a complaint filed by Operation Rescue staff member Cheryl Sullenger on January 26. Buening indicated that the investigation was concluded on March 9. However, his letter was not sent to Gov. Sebelius until late Friday, after the Senate passed HB 2503, the clinic licensing bill, by an unexpected two-thirds vote. The timing and lack of evidence raises questions of political posturing and attempting to provide Sebelius with dubious cover for a gubernatorial veto even though Buening admits final, conclusive decisions cannot be made with the information currently available.

Buening;s letter stated, “The Board is aware that office-based procedures and clinic licensure are currently being considered by the Legislature and wanted to provide you with an interim report.”

“Buening admits that they do not have adequate information to make a final determination about the safety, quality, or even the legality of the abortion given the patient who died, yet wants to assure the Governor that clinic licensing and regulations would not have prevented her death. The KSBHA based this solely upon the word of the clinic workers who have a vested interest in covering any fatal misdeeds, and not on the most reliable piece of information — the autopsy report that is not yet available. We call on the Governor and the KSBHA to stop playing politics with women?s lives. Sign HB 2503 before more women needlessly die and the hands of unregulated and dangerous Kansas abortionists.” -Troy Newman, President, Operation Rescue

View page 1 of Buening letter to Sebelius
View page 2 of Buening letter to Sebelius
Read Letter from Sebelius that prompted KSBHA’s Response (Courtesy of Kansans for Life)
Read about the teenager who died