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Minutes for HCR5003 - Committee on Federal and State Affairs

Short Title

Amending the bill of rights of the constitution of the state of Kansas to reserve to the people the right to regulate abortion through their elected state representatives and senators.

Minutes Content for Fri, Jan 15, 2021

(Attachment)Chairperson Barker opened the hearing on HCR5003.  Matt Sterling, Revisor of Statutes, provided an overview of the resolution (Attachment 1).

Chairperson Barker recognized Brittany Jones, Family Policy Alliance, who testified as a proponent of HCR5003 (Attachment 2).  She stated her opinion that the Kansas Supreme Court in its 2019 Hodes & Nauser v. Schmidt decision effectively removed the power of the legislature to regulate abortion, thus silencing the voice of Kansans. She stated her belief that it is imperative that the Value Them Both Amendment be adopted to restore the authority of the people to have a say in regulating the abortion industry.

Chairperson Barker recognized proponent Jeanne Gawdun, Kansans for Life (Attachment 3).  She stated that there are no federal requirements for abortion facility licensing and abortion damage incident collection.  She stated her belief that it is, therefore, incumbent upon the State to ensure that valuable safeguards exist for pregnant women involved with the abortion industry, and that the Value Them Both Amendment will reverse the State Supreme Court's ruling and return to the people the right to regulate abortion through their elected officials.

Elizabeth Kirk was recognized as a proponent of HCR5003 (Attachment 4).  She testified concerning her concerns with the Hodes decision from a legal standpoint.  She urged the Committee to pass the Value Them Both Amendment.  (Note:  Ms. Kirk's testimony stated that her publication entitled, "Impact of the Strict Scrutiny Standard of Judicial Review on Abortion Legislation under the Kansas Supreme Court's Decision in Hodes & Nauser v. Schmidt" was attached and was also available online.  The attachment, however, was not provided to the Committee Assistant.)

Chairperson Barker recognized Dr. Jacque Pfeifer as a proponent (Attachment 5).  As a doctoral level psychologist, she testified concerning parental and informed consents prior to an abortion. She stated that Meta-Analysis and Peer Review studies reveal an 81% higher incidence of mental health problems for women who have had an abortion.

Ann Marie Alvey, Director of Project Rachel & Project Joseph, testified as a proponent of HCR5003 (Attachment 6).  She stated her belief that abortion has a profound effect on the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health of millions of women and provided testimony discussing her concerns.

Chairperson Barker called upon Dr. Catherine Powers who testified in support of HCR5003 (Attachment 7).  She stated her opinion that the implication of the Kansas Supreme Court in the Hodes decision to allow young female adolescents to consent to an abortion without parental or guardian consent is not the standard of care in any other area of health care and could be potentially devastating to their physical, emotional and psychological health.  She urges the Committee to pass HCR5003 for the protection of both women and babies.

Dr. Jonathan Scrafford testified as a proponent on HCR5003 (Attachment 8).  He stated his opinion that the Kansas Supreme Court decision gives members of society who have been born the right to end the lives those who have not yet been born.  He further stated his belief that the field of medicine offers no objective criteria by which to separate living human beings deserving of rights from those undeserving of rights, but that's what the so-called right to abortion and that HCR5003 provides the people of Kansas the chance to acknowledge for all living human beings the same rights and protections we demand for ourselves and which we demand for women in our society.

Chairperson Barker recognized Maria Cangiani, APRN, as a proponent (Attachment 9).  She testified concerning her experience with having an abortion at Planned Parenthood and not being fully informed about the procedure.  She stated her belief that without HCR5003, the abortion industry will not be required to give accurate information about fetal development or the side effects or who is going to perform the abortion.

Chairperson Barker recognized Danette LNU who shared her experience in having an abortion  (Attachment 10).

Bob Corkins, Frontier Peace Advisors, testified as a proponent on HCR5003 (Attachment 11).  He stated his belief that the core premise of libertarianism is that it should be illegal to threaten or initiate violence against a person or his property without his permission; force is justified only in defense or retaliation.  Frontier Peace believes the Kansas Supreme Court has misinterpreted fundamental rights with its Hodes decision with its reasoning that the natural right to personal autonomy includes an inalienable right to decide whether to continue a pregnancy. 

Chairperson Barker directed the Committee's attention to the written proponent testimony of Katie Adkins, M.S. (Attachment 12); Kathleen Ahearn, R.N. (Attachment 13); Deputy Attorney General Jeff Chanay (Attachment 14); Former Governor Jeff Colyer, M.D. (Attachment 15); Dr. Amy E. Curry, M.D., FAAFP (Attachment 16); Lisa Gilbert, M.D. (Attachment 17); Erin Keeley, PA (Attachment 18); Don King, Ascension Via Christie (Attachment 19); Stacy Peterson, M.D. (Attachment 20); Molly Price, APRN, RNP-C, MSN (Attachment 21); and Jeanette Pryor, Kansas Catholic Conference (Attachment 22).

Chairperson Barker allowed questions to be asked of the proponents.  Questions were asked by Representatives Miller, Highberger, and Woodard.

Chairperson Barker closed the proponent portion of the hearing and opened the opponent portion.

Chairperson Barker recognized Former Representative Nancy Lusk as an opponent to HCR5003 (Attachment 23).  She testified why as a practicing Christian, she is pro-choice. 

Chairperson Barker recognized Mallory Lanier as an opponent (Attachment 24).  She testified that she believes this constitutional amendment will drive away young, new physicians from practicing in Kansas because it would prevent them from providing adequate, compassionate care to their patients.

Megan McQuinn testified as an opponent to HCR5003 (Attachment 25).  She believes this amendment seeks to control women and police their bodies.

Rachel Sweet, Planned Parenthood, testified as an opponent (Attachment 26).  Planned Parenthood is strongly opposed to HCR5003 because the organization believes this legislation aims to remove the constitutional protections for reproductive rights as a guaranteed law in Kansas and that the amendment could lead to a total ban on abortion.

Chairperson Barker recognized Phillip Wood as an opponent to HCR5003 (Attachment 27).  The conferee shared his family's experiences with choosing abortion as a representation of the issues parents may face when making that decision.

Julie Burkhart, Trust Women, testified in opposition to HCR5003 (Attachment 28).  Ms. Burkhart testified that she is opposed to this resolution because it is the first step in passing an all-out ban on abortion in Kansas.

Sarah Myose, Unite for Reproductive and Gender Equity, testified in opposition to HCR5003 (Attachment 29).  She testified that abortion must remain legal in Kansas because it is a personal decision and politicians should not create barriers and restrictions that take away those decisions.

Chairperson Barker recognized Michael Poppa, Mainstream Coalition, as an opponent (Attachment 30).  He stated Mainstream Coalition affirms women's rights to access healthcare without discrimination and for them to make their own decisions on reproductive health, and those rights should not be intruded upon by the State.

Sandy Brown, Kansas Abortion Fund, testified as an opponent (Attachment 31).  She testified that marginalized Kansans and their families would be hit the hardest by this constitutional amendment.  She stated her belief that Kansans deserve the right to make their own medical decisions without interference by the legislature.

Margaret Kramar testified as an opponent to HCR5003 (Attachment 32).  She discussed her concerns with government involvement in abortion.

Chairperson Barker recognized Dr. Mae Winchester as an opponent to HCR5003 (Attachment 33).  She stated that she opposes any legislation that endangers access to comprehensive reproductive health care, including abortion.

Dr. Angela Martin testified in opposition to HCR5003 (Attachment 34).   As a high-risk obstetrician, she stated her concern about the proposed amendment.  She stated her belief that women's health decisions belong with the woman, not either political party.  She asks that access to abortion be protected as a fundamental right for women.

The Chair recognized Leslie Butsch as an opponent (Attachment 35).  She urged the Committee to vote no to HCR5003 and protect Kansans' rights to bodily autonomy.

Elise Higgins, MA testified in opposition to HCR5003 (Attachment 36).  She stated her belief that this resolution denies the right to reproductive freedom in the Kansas Constitution and that restrictions on abortion disproportionately impact marginalized groups. 

Chairperson Barker then opened the floor for questions to the opponents.  Questions were asked by Representatives Clayton, Carpenter, Hoye, Penn, Arnberger, Smith, Poetter, Howe, and Highberger.

Chairperson Barker advised the Committee that there was written testimony in opposition to HCR5003 from Jennifer Ancell (Attachment 37); Aneliese Apala-Flaherty (Attachment 38); Dwayne Apala-Flaherty (Attachment 39); Glen Armbruster (Attachment 40); Emily Boevers Solverson, M.D. (Attachment 41); Devin Buckler-Mullins (Attachment 42); Mischa Buckler-Mullins (Attachment 43);  Wendy Budetti (Attachment 44); Christie Burkhart (Attachment 45); Margaret Conrow (Attachment 46); Valerie French, MD, MAS (Attachment 47); Gavriela Geller, Jewish Community Relations Bureau (Attachment 48); Rep. Christina Haswood (Attachment 49); Rev. Ali Haynes (Attachment 50); Nadine Johnson, ACLU (Attachment 51);  Dr. Joy Koesten (Attachment 52);  Margaret Kowalski-Reynolds (Attachment 53); Jae Moyer (Attachment 54); NAPW (Attachment 55); Dawn Olney (Attachment 56);  Physicians for Trust Women (Attachment 57); Jami Reever (Attachment 58); Pamelyn Richardson (Attachment 59); Elisabeth Smith (Attachment 60); Rep. Lindsey Vaughn (Attachment 61);  Priya Walia, National Women's Law Center (Attachment 62); and Teresa Woody (Attachment 63).

Chairperson Barker also noted that there was written neutral testimony from Jay Hall, Kansas Association of Counties (Attachment 64).

There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 10:54 a.m.