Well, it’s only February but Kansas seems to be dead set on being named “abortion hater state of the year.” Last year more abortions restrictions were passed by the Federal and State governments since, well ever. 135 anti-abortion and anti-family planning laws were passed in 2011 alone. 92 of those specifically target abortion access. Kansas seems to want to make 2012 a repeat record breaker in the world of limiting abortion access.
Legislators there have proposed an amendment to the state constitution which would declare that a fertilized egg is a person and has the full rights of personhood. In other words it would ban abortions. If approved by the legislature, the amendment then needs to be voted on by the citizens of Kansas to be approved and on an Election Day vote, would be very unlikely to pass. Robin Marty are Care2 points out that this vote will not happen on Election Day though. It will take place on the primary vote, which have a significantly lower turn out that Election Day votes. It also has more restrictions for who can vote which could give an edge to the anti-choice movement.
The amendment still has a long way to go before it becomes a reality, but it’s not the only thing Kansas politicians have cooking. They have also proposed a bill that would announce that as far as the legislature is concerned a fertilized egg is the equivalent of a person. It’s not a “personhood amendment” just a law and includes language that the bill would theoretically protect people who have had a miscarriage but there is no guarantee that would be enacted by law enforcement agencies. The wording is vague and only protects them if the miscarriage results in “failing to properly care for herself or by failing to follow any particular program of prenatal care.” So if you don’t eat well and have a miscarriage you are ok, but what if you fall and have one? Could the police then charge you for intentionally causing the demise of a fetus because the fall wasn’t conclusively accidental? Since this is not an amendment it doesn’t have to be voted on by the general public and could then limit abortion access.
Sadly, that isn’t all Kansas has going on right now. New legislation has recently been introduced to the committee level that is, according to the Huffington Post, “One of the most sweeping state anti-abortion bills to be introduced.” It’s pretty messed up. The bill includes provisions that a doctor must inform their patients of a non-existing link between abortion and breast cancer and make the patient hear the fetal heartbeat. It would take away tax credits for abortion providers as well as remove tax-deductions for the purchase of abortion related insurance coverage. All of these issues are beyond problematic. The part that is really messed up though; is that the bill would exempt doctors from a malpractice suit if they don’t inform their patient about a medical complication or potential birth defects if providing the patient with the information might cause the patient to seek an abortion. Even if the medical complication puts the patient’s health or safety at risk, the doctor can choose not to inform her about it; even if a permanent injury result, the doctor is protected. In fact, the only way they can be held responsible for withholding the information from the patient is in a wrongful death suit. As in when the patient doesn’t get anything out of it.
Clearly some anti-choice craziness is going on over in the “Sunflower State” and needs to be nipped in the bud. Hopefully the more sane lawmakers will keep these laws from becoming reality. Either way, we will keep you posted.