Kansas Senate President Derails Pro-Life Bill on Abortion

State   |   Kathy Ostrowski   |   May 11, 2012   |   1:51PM   |   Topeka, KS

What kind of double-speak from Senate President Steve Morris (R-Hugoton) is being reported without question by the Kansas press corps?

Despite Morris’ (debatable) claim today that “he will always fight for pro-life values,” he is using the University of Kansas Medical Center (KUMC) propaganda as a pretext for NOT advancing a pro-life bill.

Morris has derailed Senate action on H Sub SB 313 (the Pro-Life Protections Act) and claimed that it was due to his concerns that it could negatively affect KUMC accreditation. This is a phony excuse.

Moreover, the KUMC language in H Sub SB 313 is the EXACT LANGUAGE that already exists in all of this year’s budget proposals in both chambers– including the versions Morris voted for!

Which raises the additional question, will Morris now also attempt to remove the KUMC language from the current budget proposals?

As Kansans for Life has repeatedly explained, accreditation of KUMC is not in jeopardy. 1996 federal legislation (the Coats amendment voted for by then-U.S. Senators Dole and Kassebaum) intentionally protects state med schools from losing accreditation when banning actual abortion participation.

That federal protection was created after the independent accreditation agency for medical schools kowtowed to abortion trade groups to demand all graduate medical training include actual abortion practice. (Read more here, here, here and here)

The Coats law was intended to counteract bullying of state legislatures by the accreditation agency and it focuses on states’ right to keep the entire graduate program out of abortion training, not merely individual OBGYN physicians-in-training who request an “opt-out”.

Arizona in 2011 passed a similar ban on tax-funded abortion training for medical schools and their “flagship” medical school did not lose accreditation.

Morris is now lending his power to preserving KUMC’s abortion fervor under the phony excuse that accreditation is threatened.

Here is the March 21, 2012 Senate Journal (page 1953) showing the pertinent KUMC wording taken from Hsub 313 and amended into the BUDGET BILL H Sub SB 433:

Section 75: (b)Nothing in this section shall be construed to prevent a physician enrolled in a residency program and employed by the university of Kansas medical center from receiving experience with induced abortions, conducted at facilities other than those owned, leased or operated by the University of Kansas hospital authority or any other state entity: Provided, however, That for purposes of this section only, such physicians shall be considered acting outside the scope of such physician’s official employment in such actions.

This language comports with ‘Coats’, such that any physician-in-training wishing to obtain abortion experience may not be discriminated against by the state. However, it is perfectly within the state’s authority to decide that abortion training will not be obtained at taxpayer expense, nor during working hours for state employees.

As reported in the Kansas City Star, Lawrence Journal World, and the Associated Press, Morris claims,he’s concerned about a provision limiting [KUMC] state employees to performing abortions off state property and on their own time.” Why didn’t he raise his concerns long ago?

Morris’ statement itself is problematic, since he should remember that a ban on elective abortions on KUMC property is already law! Morris was in office in 1998 when– after an acrimonious two-year battle to become an independent hospital entity– KUMC accepted a provision barring them from performing abortions, other than those to save the mother’s life.

KUMC interpreted that agreement to mean their resident ob/gyn physicians-in-training could do abortions off-site. KUMC has utilized Planned Parenthood abortionists as instructors for decades and admits they only ended this practice at the startup of the Brownback administration.



H Sub SB 313 would effectuate what the 1998 law did not fully succeed in doing—ending tax-funded, state-employee doctors-in-training from doing abortions.

KFL Executive Director Mary Kay Culp said:  “Senator Morris is being given an undeserved pass in claiming that this false accreditation threat offered by our opponents–some of whom work at KU–excuses his actions to derail this bill. Like their other criticisms of the Pro-Life Protections bill, it too is false. The public deserves the truth: the federal Coats amendment unequivocally protects the loss of medical school accreditation on this issue, and in this case, period.”

LifeNews.com Note: Kathy Ostrowski is the legislative director for Kansans for Life, a statewide pro-life group.