Health care professionals unite to support passage of Value Them Both on Aug. 2

Dr. Kelly Byrd talks about how the rights of parents regarding abortion are in danger and other issues during a news conference Friday afternoon, June 10, at the Sedgwick County Historic Courthouse. Behind her are other representatives of the Value Them Both Coalition of health care professionals. (Advance photos)

Representatives of a Value Them Both Coalition talked about the immense significance of the Aug. 2 Value Them Both vote during a news conference Friday afternoon, June 10, at the Sedgwick County Historic Courthouse.
Mackenzie Haddix, the spokesperson for the coalition, said passage of the amendment is the only way for Kansans to restore the state constitution to what it was before the 2019 Kansas Supreme Court decision that ruled the state constitution contained a right to abortion.

Supreme court ruling usurped rights

“The 2019 state supreme court decision caused all existing bipartisan pass laws regulating the abortion industry to become presumed unconstitutional,” she said. “Just as this ruling by unelected judges removed the legal foundation for basic regulations on abortion, it also usurped the rights of the people to have a voice regarding our state’s governance in this matter.”

Haddix announced the formation of the Value Them Both Coalition of over 200 medical and mental health professionals who are supporting a yes vote to the amendment.

Dr. Lisa Gilbert, a Wichita-based family physician, said the group was formed because they are concerned with the unprecedented Kansas Supreme Court decision that overrode the many common-sense laws regulating abortion practices.

“In doing so, the court decreed that virtually any limitation or regulation on abortion would soon be struck down. Overnight Kansas had become one of the most extreme states in the country in regards to abortion. This sweeping 2019 ruling was then used to strike down basic protections for women, including standard inspection, safety, and sanitation requirements for abortion facilities.”

Kansans approved pro-life laws

The laws regulating abortion were passed because Kansans agreed that protections for women were necessary, Dr. Gilbert said. “We asked our elected officials to work across the aisle to reach a solution.”
The supreme court’s decision, however, reversed that, she said.

“Our state is experiencing the largest increase in abortion numbers in a quarter of a century. Not only do we rank among the most extreme states in the nation, we are one of the only few states where our own voters have no voice and safety regulations are now lacking.”

Dr. Gilbert said the vote on Aug. 2 will change that. “A yes vote is merely a vote to have a voice. It is a vote in favor of letting the people of Kansas have a vote.”

Physicians care about mother and baby

Former Wichitan and now Kansas City-based pediatrician Dr. Kelly Byrd, said the members of the coalition share a dedication to caring for the physical and mental health of their patients.

“Together we have written an open letter to explain why passing the Value Them Both Amendment is vital to returning our state to a place where the abortion industry is not left unlimited or unregulated. It should not be allowed to police itself.”

She said young girls, teens, and pre-teens, have many challenges they must navigate today before they mature.

“A teenager’s ability to communicate with parents to help them through these tough years can literally be life-saving,” Dr. Byrd said. “I hope Kansans can all agree that no 14-year-old girl should be dropped off at an abortion clinic without her parents’ knowledge. But we will lose our parental notification law unless we passed the Value Them Both Amendment. The loss of parental notification laws will harm both daughters and parents and expose young girls to dangers from traffickers and other perpetrators who would no longer be held accountable. Young girls need more protection, not less.”

Parental consent in danger

She said Kansans don’t want to lose parental consent, they don’t want taxpayer-funded abortions, and they do want clinic safety standards and protections for minor girls.

“The members of our coalition embrace core professional principles to protect informed consent and above all, to do no harm. As professionals, we firmly believe patients must be provided all relevant facts about any intervention that will alter her life or body.”

Dr. Byrd said Kansans want reasonable protections for all women and girls. “And above all we want and deserve a voice and how to best protect them. The abortion industry should not get special treatment. At the very least, women deserve abortion clinics to have the highest health and safety standards.”

The news conference was facilitated by Kansans for Life, the Kansas Catholic Conference, and Kansas Family Voice.