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Aug. 2, 2022: Day of Decision, part 2


AUGUST 2, 2022: DAY OF DECISION is the title of the public forum that was to have taken place on Wednesday, July 13. Due to unforeseen circumstances which arose, that public forum has been adapted so that panelists’ responses to the questions they would have shared with their fellow residents of Pittsburg are being presented in a written format. The responses of the panelists to the second question follow. Responses to question three will be published shortly. 




Dr. Emily Walters is a graduate of PHS in 1995 and PSU in 2009. She went on to earn a combined MD/Phd at the U. of Rochester and is at present an anesthesiologist at an area hospital. 


I know that the “Vote Yes” side really believes that they are saving children’s lives. I appreciate the pain and urgency that they must feel to act, to save. I have been there. I know how it can sometimes hurt to breathe because you care so much. I also know how it feels to save the life of a child — saving lives is my job. If I truly believed babies were dying, I would move heaven and earth to act. I have dedicated my life to saving the lives of both children and adults — this is what I do every day. 

I have been present for the death of an infant. Sometimes babies are born with such profound defects — for example, being born with no lungs and none of the vasculature that supply the lungs — that there is no intervention that will save them. It is the worst thing I have ever experienced — wanting to save, needing to intervene, but being completely helpless. My heart goes out to the “Vote Yes” people who believe that they are in that same situation now. 

They have been told, and sincerely believe, that surgical abortions are currently completely unregulated in Kansas. This is categorically untrue, but they believe it. They might believe that there are no bills written waiting to be passed that will define life as beginning at fertilization, effectively allowing not just abortion, but also appropriate miscarriage care, treatment of ectopic pregnancies, IVF fertilization, and many forms of birth control (or maybe they do know that and believe it and hope for it, but if so why do they not admit that? I prefer to think better of people.) They believe abortion means that babies are “partially born” only to be brutally dismembered. They have been told this over and over again by people whom they trust. Of course, they are opposed to that! To support that would be monstrous. And I want to repeat: this absolutely does not happen. There is not even a medical procedure called “partial birth abortion!” 

I also know that the “Vote Yes” proponents are wrong, that the termination of a pregnancy is not the same as the death of a child. Tragically, this incorrect belief is now causing terrible harm. I still hurt for them. What they believe they are doing is heroic — but they have been grossly misled. 


Dr. Chad Stewart is a family care medical doctor and resident of Pittsburg. 


Pro-abortion advocates want safe abortions — I would ask who is the abortion safe for?  

Abortion is not exactly safe for woman (mentally living with guilt of killing her innocent, helpless, voiceless baby). Women have complications and even die from abortions. Abortion sure isn’t safe for the baby. Dare I say “it is deadly to the baby.” 

In regards to timing and methods of abortions — if abortion is done at/before 10 weeks chemical abortion (pills) is available. Simply, the first medication blocks a hormone breaking uterine lining down, cutting off blood supply to the fetus. A second medication contracts the uterus forcing the dead fetus out. Result: In a matter of days there will be cramping pain and vaginal bleeding. The woman may see the fetus in the bloody discharge. If this fails she may need surgical abortion. Surgical abortion can be done at any time: Before 12 weeks — dilate the cervix, suction/vacuum the fetus out. After 12 weeks — Dilate the cervix. Remove the fetus in parts by pulling arms/legs off with toothed forceps or remove the fetus intact (without tearing arms/legs off). But the head has to be cut open — brain suctioned out and head crushed then the whole body can be removed intact. A feticidal injection can be used prior to the surgery- this injection kills the fetus (stops its heart), so the fetus won’t move while it is being ripped apart or its head is crushed.  

Legally and literally in Kansas, it is easier to kill and evict a baby from the uterus, than it is to evict a non-paying tenant from a rental house. 


Scott Squires is an associate pastor at Covenant Harvest Church and teaches philosophy and ethics as an assistant instructional professor at Pittsburg State University. He holds a master’s degree in philosophy of religion and ethics from the University of Birmingham (UK). 


Before I answer the question directly, I would like to say how much I value this question. In philosophy, it is imperative that one be able to charitably examine the opposing viewpoint and not only appreciate their view, but also learn from what that opposing view has to say. The current cultural climate has become hostile to even glancing at opposing viewpoints, let alone examining them in a charitable way. This is especially true when it comes to sensitive topics like the Value Them Both amendment and the status of pre-born life. I hope that forums like this will give us encouragement to engage in these sorts of vital conversations instead of living in the epistemic bubbles and echo chambers that we have recently found ourselves so comfortable in these days. 

With that in mind, there are definitely some ideas that the opposing side values that speak to me. For the sake of brevity, I will only highlight two of them here. First, it is clear that the opposing side values the lives of women. This is something that has been in such short supply throughout the history of our nation and it is something that needs to be seriously considered, no matter what happens on Aug. 2. Pregnancy and giving birth are probably the most dangerous normative activity that as humans experience and this danger is only conveyed to women. As valuing the life of the pre-born is important, making sure that “life-ers” understand that valuing the life of the woman that must bring that life into the world is also of vital importance and any law that the legislature makes should keep this in mind, as much as possible, wherever possible. Second, it is also clear that the opposing side values the autonomy of women, also something that has been tragically trampled on throughout history. Autonomy is a right that should be extended to all where it can be and only limited when absolutely required, as it is one of the foundation stones of a free society. The other side definitely values the autonomy of women and that is something that we should all consider when thinking about the passage of this amendment. While it should not be overlooked that autonomy was in play in the choices that led up to the point where lives are potentially in conflict, any voter looking to vote “yes” on Aug. 2 or any lawmaker that is going to make a law regarding abortion regulation in Kansas, provided the amendment is approved, should keep in mind that the restriction of autonomy by the government is a serious step. “Life-ers” need to listen carefully to what the “choice-ers” have to say on this matter, as they have excellent points to make here and “life-ers” generally would not like their autonomy restricted unless completely necessary either. In closing, I would remind everyone on both sides to be charitable to one another and actually listen to the arguments/perspectives that those that oppose you present. The only way forward is together and that will never happen if we continue to live in the sorts of bubbles and echo chambers that eliminate the voices of those that oppose us. 


Fr. Jerome Spexarth is a Roman Catholic priest who has served as the pastor of Our Lady of Lourdes Church and St. Mary’s Colgan Schools since 2018.   


The “vote NO” camp seems to highly value “Control” & personal/constitutional rights. I too love to fly the Stars and Stripes and am grateful for freedom and security won by sacrifice over the years. But as a Christian, actually as a human being, I know that unlimited freedom is not helpful to me individually or collectively for society. I cannot drive 90mph in a 20mph school zone, or my “freedom” will hurt others. Unchecked promiscuous license unfortunately over the years has similarly moved us as a nation to see abortion as a right &/or birth control. In some ethnicities in NY for example, half of all pregnancies end by abortion and even occur up to the day a child is born! But this is not the will of the majority of Americans. A Pew Research study found that 2⁄3 of Americans are in favor of regulating abortions. But unfortunately an action in 2019 by our KS Supreme Court justices have made all prior restrictions and regulations on abortion impotent or “presumed unconstitutional” (Hodes ruling pg. 72). There were two regulations, for example, that had been subsequently struck down in 2021: a ban on live-dismemberment abortions (pulling arms and legs off a child while alive within the womb without anesthesia), and a law involving regular inspections. Hopefully, yet it is not guaranteed, that parental notifications would remain; surely any active sex trafficking rings in our area would hope it would go away. We need an amendment to keep such regulations in place! 

Secondly, what about the freedom of the child within the womb? Some argue that the fetus does not become human until late in the 3rd term or outside the womb. But there is in fact a new person in the womb with new DNA and a separate blood type from the mother — beating through a heart that begins at just 3 weeks after conception. A beautiful National Geographic video titled In the Womb in fact reveals marvelously how pre-born babies yawn, dream, & play. Sure, the child requires an umbilical cord and protection for survival, but so does a Bald Eagle’s egg, which is protected by law. If a pregnant mother is killed by a drunk driver, legally this is considered a double homicide. What if the woman was on her way to an abortion clinic intending to abort her child? Is that a child one minute and then not a child the next minute? This violates the basic principle of non-contradiction; something cannot be and not be at the same time. “My body, my choice” — sure, but what about the little body within your body? Adoption is a beautiful & BETTER choice! 

Finally, what about my freedom as a taxpayer? Some advocate using tax money to help pay for abortions. I can sympathize with peoples’ desire to help women in what can sometimes be very desperate situations. Without much (or any) family, with little money, with very little self esteem, I truly feel sorry for many women who may be also facing an unwanted pregnancy. Often it is a failure on behalf of her parents, herself, the man involved, and a society becoming more disconnected and socially dire. This is why I have been involved in helping the Vie crisis pregnancy center in Pittsburg and other centers around the state. My aunt, for example, had started one in Wichita even before Roe in 1971 to help women with diapers, formula, car seats, baby clothes, and a loving pair of ears and shoulder to cry on. This is the way to help women, not by trying to correct a wrong with another wrong. We all know people who have been adopted and likely know couples seeking to adopt. Let love win out over fear, patience and empathy over destruction. This is the Christian thing to do. 


Dr. Michael Nagle is a Pittsburg resident for the past 7 yrs., and a semi-retired physician specializing in treating patients with chronic wounds. He previously worked as a General Surgeon in Joplin for 25 years. 


An infant is born and takes her first breath. At that moment, we all agree that she is a human being, deserving of our protection; any act, endangering her well-being, would be seen by all as immoral and by the state as illegal. 

So allow me to pose this question: What was her status five minutes before she took her first breath? If the response is that, at that time, she is not a human being, then what has changed in five minutes? If the answer is that, at that time, she is a human being, then why would we not afford her all the protections due a human being? 

This line of reasoning can be repeated and carried to the moment of conception. At what moment in time, between its conception and the infant's first breath, does a person transform from a blob of protoplasm into that object of our protection, a human being? 


Dr. Al Mendez is a Pittsburg resident since 1993, has been married 32 years, is the father of five, grandfather of ten, and a business owner. 


I am 100% for Freed of Choice — how I live my life, how I raise my children and grandchildren, and how I spend my hard-earned dollars. No one wants to be to be made to do anything in a forced way.  Conversely, if I make a choice, I need to accept responsibility for it and not expect others to fix it for me. 


Dawn McNay is a Pittsburg resident for 30 years and longtime volunteer with organizations that support families and children. 


I am proud to live in a community where there is a shared concern for the welfare of women and children. There is community support for the Family Resource Center, Children’s Advocacy Center, Big Brothers Big Sisters among many other non-profit agencies that often supplement the limitations of State/Federal government. Safety, education and financial security for children and families are values that both sides share.   

Beyond the question of abortion access, can we show our state and national leaders what “Value Them Both” should look like. Our elected officials should be accountable to fund the infrastructure that helps raise children and families out of poverty. How powerful for those on both sides to work together advocating for fully funding special education, removing the State’s arbitrary constraints to access child care and food assistance, funding universal preschool, and expanding Medicaid to support rural healthcare. So often, those advocating for restrictions on abortion, also advocate for limited funding for the social network that values supporting families through difficult times. My express hope is that resources will expand to meet what many analysts predict would be a jump in poverty, child neglect and abuse, homicides of pregnant women by their partners, and deaths or permanent disability from denial of needed healthcare. Together we should work toward abortion being rare, not through legislation, but with improved access to healthcare, providing comprehensive sex education in schools and systems to access free contraception. 


Cheryl Mayo is Director of Pittsburg Mother to Mother Ministry, a non-profit organization assisting women with minor children who need extra mentoring and support. 


Valuing Both is noble, and if I read the amendment without really looking into it, I would be quite swayed by that opinion. IF they really did Value them Both I would be overjoyed, but the reality is they don’t, at least from my interpretation. “States’ Rights” has its place in certain circumstances; this is not one of them. 

There really is nothing else in the amendment that speaks to me in a positive way. 


Hilary Gorman, R.N., is a local wife and mother with a Master of Science in Nursing with an Education Emphasis. She has over a decade of experience in nursing care. 


It appears that those opposed to the amendment have convictions that are rooted in a deep compassion for women. Both sides can easily find common ground in our desire to care for women, especially women in difficult situations. But as Edith Stein once said, “do not accept anything as love which lacks truth.”  

When we look at the truth of what the Value Them Both amendment is, we see that it does seek to protect both women as well as preborn babies by allowing for reasonable limits to be placed on the abortion industry. Value Them Both does not strip women of their rights. Voting YES on Aug. 2 ensures that whatever choice women make about their pregnancy, they receive the respectful and dignified care that all women deserve regardless of their circumstances. Value Them Both gets to the heart of what all people want: basic safety and protection for women.  

A NO vote on Value Them Both means no limits on the abortion industry. In 2019, The Kansas Supreme Court disregarded 159 years of bipartisan passed and settled law, and decided that the a right to abortion was guaranteed in the Constitution of the State of Kansas. This is why we need Value Them Both. These laws were sued by the abortion industry, which fought against common sense limits on abortion at the legislature. All of the limits we have now are "presumed unconstitutional" by the KS Supreme Court and are unenforceable. If Value Them Both fails, every remaining abortion limit will be sued by the abortion industry and struck down. That is what has happened in other states where their supreme courts had found a "right to abortion" in their constitutions. Again... Voting NO on Value Them Both equals NO LIMITS on abortion. This is the truth.  

“We won’t go back. Not now, not ever!” I agree. Let’s never again go back to surgical instruments being “sanitized” in a dishwasher. Let’s never go back to surgical abortion procedures being performed on carpeted floors. Let’s never go back to taking advantage of the fears of vulnerable women which the abortion industry has done time and time again. This is where we are headed if Value Them Both is not passed. 


Rev. James Fredette served congregations in New Hampshire, New York, Texas, California and Arizona and currently lives in Crawford County.  He has a Bachelor of Science, Masters of Divinity, and has studied for his Doctorate of Ministry at the School of Theology in Claremont, CA.  


I do not doubt for a moment that those who believe that life begins at conception are not deeply sincere. I also do not doubt the integrity of those who favor the proposed amendment. 

Laws pertaining to the practice of voluntary abortion may be found in the literature of the Ancient Near East and Hellenistic worlds in which biblical texts were written. 

But the Bible is simply silent on the question on which the Supreme Court has now pronounced ending Roe vs Wade. Old Testament scholar John Collins** is right to say, “…on this issue, there is no divine revelation to be had”. 

Two important questions should be addressed for a fair, and I feel, thoughtful exploration of abortion: 

  1. The morality of the act of induced abortion is in a considerable sense significantly dependent upon the moment when a life begins. For some, the moment of conception of an embryo is when life begins. Others turn to Genesis 2:7 in their understanding of when a human life begins. “The Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life and the man became a living being.” Is an embryo or a fetus totally dependent upon the mother's womb a living being or does life begin with the first breath? 
  2. Who should determine when life begins and by what criterion? Science? Medicine? A particular religion? Or should abortion rest on responsible decision-making by a woman with the guidance of her physician? Abortion is therefore a choice which should be made, if it is the most correct and responsible action, in view of one's own circumstances.

Sincerity in one's religious beliefs may be admired, but the question remains: Whose beliefs and who should be subject to them? 

**John J. Collins is the Holmes Professor of Old Testament Criticism and Interpretation at Yale Divinity School. He is noted for his research in the Hebrew Bible, as well as the apocryphal works of the Second Temple period including the sectarian works found in the Dead Sea Scrolls and their relation to Christian origins.