Welcome back to the legislative session, Kansas feminists! We know you missed having legislators discuss your uterus over the past summer and fall, so you’ll be relieved to know that they’re back at it.
On the docket for this session is over 90 pages of anti-abortion legislation, most introduced in the last week. This legislation includes:
- House Bill 2253, the Anti-Abortion Omnibus Bill—A reprisal of similar legislation that failed to pass last year, this bill is a monster in every sense. In 70 pages, it accomplishes 3 things: 1) Creates a “personhood trigger” stating that, pursuant to the Constitution, life begins at fertilization. This means that if the Supreme Court gives the power to decide abortion legality to the states, abortion will be illegal in Kansas. No exceptions. 2) Massively expands scripts and written materials given to women considering abortion in order to shame and coerce women. The most offensive change? Women would be told that abortion causes breast cancer and future miscarriages. Both claims have been proven false by every credible medical authority. 3) Creates taxes on abortions and items used for abortions that invade your privacy and hurt healthcare providers. As you can imagine, we’re watching this bill very closely and will let you know when you need to call your legislator and show in force at the Statehouse.
- Senate Bill 142, the Let Doctors Lie Bill—Another encore that Kansas women didn’t ask for, this bill lets doctors lie to women about their pregnancy, plain and simple. It protects doctors who discover that a baby will be born with a devastating condition and deliberately withhold that information from patients. This bill is the ultimate example of Kansas politicians inserting themselves into your doctor’s office, and its effects would be horrific. As with the omnibus bill, we’ll need all hands on deck when this bill makes its way into a committee hearing.
And that’s not all! Also up for debate is a bill that ostensibly bans sex-selective abortions, but is really just another encroachment on privacy that does nothing to solve an existing problem or support gender equality in Kansas—economic opportunity and strong public education, anyone? There are also the old classics, a personhood constitutional amendment that grants full legal rights to fertilized eggs, and extreme “heartbeat” legislation that’s intended as a challenge to Roe v. Wade.
Clearly, we have our work cut out for us. But we’re up for the challenge. As we’ve said before and will say again, we will win in the court of public opinion even if legislative victories are out of reach. And we won’t do it alone. We have you, the amazing young people mobilized on campus and supported by Choice USA, and our invaluable partner organizations.
So stay tuned, Kansas feminists. Time to get back in the saddle for one more round. And if you can, please support our work with your checkbook as well as your voice—we appreciate your investment in our work.
Till next time,
Elise Higgins, Kansas NOW Lobbyist and the Kansas NOW Board