For the second time in one month, Kansas activists descended upon the state capitol to ensure that all of our voices are being heard. On February 4th, with the help of Choice USA, we raised our concerns to legislators concerning the impending catch-all abortion bill. Soon after the bill was officially introduced as HB2253 and named: AN ACT concerning abortion; relating to the funding of abortion services; relating to restrictions on late-term abortions; relating to the woman’s right-to-know act.
Of course we couldn’t stop there. Organized by Kansas NOW, a group of more than 40 pink wearing advocates from Wichita, El Dorado, Manhattan, Lawrence, Kansas City and Topeka packed the statehouse to bear testimony in front of the committee. I personally was unable to attend but I did give my written testimony to be read (Read my testimony HERE.) and helped Kansas NOW call over 300 supporters letting them know what our lawmakers were up to. I would have to say my favorite part of doing this work and in Kansas in particular is being able to listen to the stories of the veterans of this movement and feeling how much passion and drive they still have for these protections. I cannot express my thanks enough and I promise to you that we will not let you down; we will never quit fighting for what is true and for what is right.
The most concerning piece of the legislation includes the wording: ”The life of each human being begins at fertilization,” and infers that the unborn child has all the rights available to anyone else. (Lawrence-Journal World) Michael Schuttloffel, executive director of the Kansas Catholic Conference explained to the room that the wording was “legally, scientifically and morally sound.”
Trusted friend and mentor, Elise Higgins, representative for Kansas NOW, warns against the inclusion of this language which could promote the ban of all abortions in Kansas.
I understand that maybe Michael over here was subject to a Kansas-level education where he was probably taught about creationism in Biology, but that doesn’t permit him to deem something “scientifically sound.” Perhaps we could find more truth in the opinion of Dr. Herbert Hodes, an OB-GYN, who refuted the mandate included in the bill that would force doctors to give false information to their patients, “There is no abortion-breast cancer link, yet I am forced by this legislation to tell people this.” I’ll listen to that guy and supporters of the bill can continue to receive unsound medical advice from Jeanne Gawdum, a lobbyist for an anti-choice group in Kansas, who said that there was an “undeniable” link between abortion and breast cancer. Umm… okay Jeanne.
Jennifer Weishaar did an awesome job tweeting for Kansas NOW during the hearing which gives a play-by-play only if you can stomach some of what was said like:
How sickening it is to live in a state where people think my life is worth less than that of a fetus.
Passing this bill would do nothing for the health of Kansas women or for the integrity of our legislature. Do you ever stop to think the great strides we could be making with job growth or education but instead we are fighting against laws that require women to be treated as second-class citizens?
This fight isn’t over yet.