Topeka, KS — Testimony began on Friday at a special interim legislative committee hearing focusing on Kansas late-term abortion laws and their lack of enforcement.
“The theme of the day was ‘Pass the buck,’” said Operation Rescue President Troy Newman. “Everyone who testified acted like enforcement of the law was someone else’s job. It is obvious that no one in the state has really knows if abortionists are in compliance with the law.”
At issue is the Kansas ban on post-viability abortions, K.S.A. 65-6703, which late-term abortionist George R. Tiller of Wichita has been accused of violating. That law states that abortions after 21 weeks can only be done to prevent maternal death that would be caused by the pregnancy or to “prevent substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function of the pregnant woman.” It also states that before such abortions can take place, two doctors not financially or legally associated must both conclude that the abortions are medically justifiable under the provisions of the law. Those abortions must be reported to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) with the reason and basis for the abortion.
However, Greg Crawford of the KDHE told the committee that his job is simply to make sure that the forms submitted by abortionists have no empty fields. He said he makes no “judgment call” about the content of the field nor does he report any incidents where he may suspect an abortion has taken place illegally.
“I think an abortionist could put his dog’s name in those fields, and the KDHE would consider that as acceptable,” said Newman. “It makes the law requiring reporting for the purpose of enforcement a joke.”
Larry Buening, Executive Director of the Kansas State Board of Healing Arts (KSBHA), the agency responsible for policing abortionists, also testified and was aggressively questioned by the committee. He told them that the KSBHA does not automatically receive abortion reporting forms from the KDHE and therefore are unable to make any determinations about whether abortionists are following the law.
Buening indicated that the Board requires that the second concurring abortionist required by law be a Kansas physician so that the Board retains oversight of both doctors. However, Operation Rescue has learned that late-term abortions done as late as a few days ago were done with the signature on out-of-state physicians.
“Operation Rescue possesses solid evidence that non-enforcement of the law is not an oversight, but is done intentionally,” said Newman. “This lack of enforcement has needlessly led to life-threatening abortion-related injuries and at least one death, and we can prove it.”
The hearings are scheduled to resume on September 6, when pro-life groups are planning to hold a noon rally and press conference on the Capitol steps.