The GOP-controlled House in Kansas passed a sweeping abortion bill that is easily the worst in the country. In March, I wrote the following about it:
On Monday, the Kansas House Federal and State Affairs Committee will continue discussing a bill similar to the one the Arizona Senate passed, which allows doctors to withhold from pregnant women prenatal information because it “might lead to abortion.” But of course, the Kansas bill is worse.
As with the Arizona bill, the Kansas bill prohibits malpractice suits should the woman or child develop health complications as a result of withholding prenatal information.
The bill also forces women to purchase special abortion insurance (Kansas already passed legislation that removed abortions from health insurance plans), and levies a 6.3% sales tax on women who get an abortion — including rape victims.
I know! But it gets worse.
The bill also requires doctors to tell women who want to terminate a pregnancy that abortion causes breast cancer, a bullshit claim that has been thoroughly debunked.
Also, too, the bill prohibits state employees from performing abortions on the job. The likely unintended result of this doozy is that the portion state’s OB/GYN medical residency program which requires abortion training would be rendered illegal, thus potential screwing up the accreditation process.
And of course, the bill requires that women get a potentially medically unnecessary ultrasound… and pay for it.
So, not only is Kansas withholding information from pregnant women — despite all the Forced Birth talky-talk that ultrasound bills and the like are about “knowledge” and “informed consent” — but Kansas is actively telling women bad information and preventing doctors from, you know, learning how to be good doctors.
Cognitive dissonance! Party of GOP!
Governor Brownback claimed last month that he has not read the bill, but that he will sign it because he is “pro-life.” Contact him.
The Kansas abortion bill is one of the worst in the country. (You can read it here.)
[I have not yet read this bill. Most of this information comes from reporting by HuffPo’s John Celocek. If anyone is keeping track or would like to help keep track of the goings-on in Kansas, please let me know. THe HuffPo links are pretty much unavoidable.]
UPDATE: Raw Story has a much better summary of the bill:
Massive in scope, H.B. 2598 includes provisions being considered in other states as well, likeoffering doctors immunity from malpractice lawsuits if they do not inform expectant mothers of prenatal health problems that could lead to an abortion; a removal of important tax credits provided to most healthcare institutions; requiring doctors to lie to patients by claiming that abortions may cause breast cancer; forcing women to hear the heartbeat of their fetus before an abortion; and even prohibiting state employees from contributing to the teaching of basic sexual health facts.
The sales tax, however — an innocuous-sounding 6.5 percent — is layered, effectively making it a repeating tax on every service rendered, every product purchased and every sale made in furtherance of an abortion. It also strips certain tax credits for companies that do business with women’s health providers, making such requests a potentially costly proposition.
“This is a complete turnaround in this idea of small government,” Elizabeth Nash, state issues manager for the Guttmacher Institute, told Raw Story. “Somebody spent hours, if not days, combing through the entire Kansas tax code to find every spot where you could possibly prevent abortion providers from being a non-profit healthcare provider. It’s really amazing. The bill is 68 pages long. Somebody spent days trying to figure out how to manipulate the tax code to disqualify abortion providers. That is a level above and beyond what we have ever seen.”
For individual women, it means financial penalties if a pregnancy must be terminated. The laws could also drive up the cost of abortions in the state, putting them out of reach for lower-income women. It could also make late term abortions to save the life of a mother, which can run up to $20,000, wholly cost prohibitive, even for middle class women.
Worse still, the bill’s prohibitions on teaching medical students how to perform abortions could even prevent Kansas public universities from producing licensed gynecologists – doctors who do much more than just facilitate the end of a pregnancy.
The bill is headed to the Senate.
*** The TeamU Wiki page for Kansas is here. It is currently blank; I hope to have it complete by the end of the day.
*** To find out more about The TeamU Wiki Project, read our project plan.