Archive for Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Reproductive rights supporters criticize legislator for controversial comments on abortion

2011 session called ‘war on women’

Kari Ann Rinker, state coordinator for the Kansas chapter of the National Organization for Women, on Wednesday held a news conference outside the Capitol, saying that state Rep. Pete DeGraaf, R-Mulvane, should apologize for comments he made while debating an insurance bill that restricts abortion coverage and requires that women purchase additional insurance coverage for abortions. DeGraaf said women must plan ahead, noting that he had a spare tire in his car. DeGraaf told the Lawrence Journal-World that his comments were taken out of context, but he declined to say how.

June 1, 2011


Kari Ann Rinker, Kansas state coordinator for the National Organization for Women, points out the tires she brought to a news conference to protest recent remarks by state Rep. Pete DeGraaf, a Mulvane Republican, Wednesday, June 1, 2011 outside the Statehouse, in Topeka. DeGraaf supports a new state law requiring women to buy separate health insurance policies if they want most abortions covered and compared buying them to having a spare tire on a car.

Kari Ann Rinker, Kansas state coordinator for the National Organization for Women, points out the tires she brought to a news conference to protest recent remarks by state Rep. Pete DeGraaf, a Mulvane Republican, Wednesday, June 1, 2011 outside the Statehouse, in Topeka. DeGraaf supports a new state law requiring women to buy separate health insurance policies if they want most abortions covered and compared buying them to having a spare tire on a car.

— Abortion rights supporters Wednesday criticized Kansas legislators for approving controversial abortion restrictions and making controversial comments along the way.

“Far too many Kansas legislators feel women’s health doesn’t matter,” said Sarah Gillooly, a lobbyist for Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri. She said the 2011 legislative session, which concluded Wednesday, was a “war on women.”

The Kansas chapter of the National Organization for Women demanded that Rep. Pete DeGraaf, R-Mulvane, apologize for a comment he made during debate May 13 on a bill requiring women to buy additional insurance to cover abortion; coverage that could only be used to save the life of the mother.

During that debate, Rep. Barbara Bollier, R-Mission Hills, noted that abortions would not be covered for cases of rape and incest.

DeGraaf responded, “We do need to plan ahead, don’t we, in life?”

Bollier then asked, “And so, women need to plan ahead for issues that they have no control over with pregnancy?”

DeGraaf responded, “I have a spare tire in my car. I also have life insurance. I have a lot of things that I plan ahead for.”

NOW State Coordinator Kari Ann Rinker said the remarks trivialized rape and were demeaning to women.

Asked by the Lawrence Journal-World if he wanted to explain further what he meant, DeGraaf said his comments were taken out of context and “grossly misrepresented.” When asked how, he declined to say. He said it was time to “move on.”

Rinker had brought three spare tires with her to the Capitol and wanted to give them to DeGraaf, but she was prevented by police from bringing them into the building.

Several legislators who support abortion rights were at the Kansas NOW news conference including Sen. Marci Francisco and Rep. Barbara Ballard, both Democrats from Lawrence.

Abortion opponents hailed the 2011 session as a success.

“We have established a beachhead of protection for the developing unborn child based on accurate medical knowledge about the human capacity to feel pain and responded to the public's ever-growing revulsion to direct and indirect funding of abortion businesses,” said Kathy Ostrowski, legislative director for Kansans for Life.

In addition to the abortion insurance law, the Legislature passed and Gov. Sam Brownback signed into law bills that will:

  • Require annual, unannounced inspections of abortion clinics, impose new rules for them and prevent the clinics from prescribing over the phone the use of pregnancy terminating drugs.
  • Direct $334,000 in federal family planning funds to local health clinics instead of Planned Parenthood clinics.
  • In the case of a minor, require a doctor to obtain consent from at least one parent or guardian, and both parents if they are still married.
  • Prohibit abortions after the 21st week of pregnancy unless the woman or girl’s life is in danger or unless she faces substantial and permanent harm to her physical health.


Richard Heckler 2 years, 10 months ago

Meet todays Republican Party: The neocon christian fundamentalists are not necessarily a friend to women or families for that matter. They want to rule the world and women's bodies.

Anti-Abortion Groups Push To Outlaw Contraceptives By Redefining Personhood

Saturday 4 June 2011 by: Marie Diamond, ThinkProgress

A fringe anti-abortion group, Personhood USA, has been startlingly successful at pushing forward legislation across the country that would redefine life as beginning at the moment of fertilization, effectively outlawing contraceptives like birth control pills.

Although the medical community has long been in agreement that fertilization does not mark the beginning of a pregnancy — fertilized eggs must first be implanted, and only about half of fertilized eggs actually result in a pregnancy — a growing number of lawmakers are supporting Personhood USA’s efforts to buck medical expertise and legally define life as the moment a sperm meets an egg.

If they succeed in passing such a law — and if such a law survives judicial scrutiny — it could turn common forms of birth control into the legal equivalent of a homicide.

While “personhood” laws have always been a transparent attempt to outlaw abortion, the legislation supported by groups like Personhood USA goes much further in trying to assert government control over women’s bodies.

These laws would recognize every fertilized egg as an individual and complete human being with full rights, and place millions of women in legal jeopardy. According to 2008 numbers, around 11 million American women use birth control pills and another 2 million use intrauterine devices (IUDs).

Contraceptives like the pill and IUDs not only act to prevent fertilization, but, if fertilization does occur, may prevent that fertilized egg from implanting in a woman’s uterus. Personhood USA considers this tantamount to abortion, and wants to make it a punishable offense for women to control their own fertility.

More to this story:


Kathy Getto 2 years, 10 months ago

nascent means emerging KJ, you might want to rethink your choice of words if you are trying to be convincing re: a zygote or fetus=child.


kansanjayhawk 2 years, 10 months ago

Pro-life Christian people are supportive of the victims of rape! In fact, religious organization provide support and caring for women in these situations. We want healing from the violence and that healing cannot come if we advocate and endorse another act of violence: the act of dismembering and destroying a small nascent human child in the womb. This violence is a stain and blot upon modern American society and it destroys us from within.


Armored_One 2 years, 10 months ago

The funniest thing out of all of this is nobody like carrying insurance in the first place. Pay for something every month, like clockwork, and how often does it truly ever get used?

I suppose that is probably beyond the point, but still, it's worth a chuckle, if only to me.

And whoever it was that commented that rape victims should be forced to wait until after there is a trial, at the very least, needs to be put into a 72 hour examination. Involuntarily. Did your brain hiccup or something to spew something that completely stupid?

Next time you have a thought, do the rest of us a favor and just let it go.

It's not rape until court is adjourned. What a bunch of buffalo bagels.


Agnostick 2 years, 10 months ago

If men could get pregnant, abortions would be available in most every office, clinic, hospital, convenience store, and shopping mall. Taxpayer-funded, paid for in full by the federal government.

If little boys could get pregnant, abortions would be sanctioned by The Vatican, and blessed by the pope.


tange 2 years, 10 months ago

Abortion... geez... are there any noncontroversial comments to be made?


ferrislives 2 years, 10 months ago

Any true conservative that thinks it's ok for our government to tell a private company what they can and cannot cover is an absolute hypocrite, as well as a fool.

Let's see what's next:

Birth Control Plan B Viagra... Oh wait, I'm wrong; they'll make sure to cover that. Staying alert (so to speak) for 4 hours is much more important than protecting a woman from being forced to carry a child that's the result of rape or incest, isn't it?


kthxbi 2 years, 10 months ago

And yet: "The unemployment figures for April have been released, and the number of people working in the state of Kansas is not holding pace with the national average. Linda Nickisch of the U-S Department of Labor Statistics office in Kansas City says while the employment rate grew nationwide, Kansas saw a decline." from:


beatrice 2 years, 10 months ago

Amazingly, this is coming from the same group of people all up in arms about wanting to limit the government's role in healthcare.


Cait McKnelly 2 years, 10 months ago

"Prohibit abortions after the 21st week of pregnancy unless the woman or girl’s life is in danger or unless she faces substantial and permanent harm to her physical health." Thus outlawing any abortion where the fetus has no chance to live or will be born with such congenital defects that it will live only a short time and suffer every minute for it.


Ray Parker 2 years, 10 months ago

Related: A letter from Medicaid Administrator Donald M. Berwick declared Indiana’s new law withholding taxpayer funding from Planned Parenthood abortion mills to be illegal. The letter indicates that Medicaid programs may not exclude Planned Parenthood merely because their filthy, unsafe, criminal, racist abortion mills contract the mangling, dismembering, poisoning, and beheading of babies, and therefore threatens Indiana with penalties. The Department of HHS also posted a notice written by Cindy Mann on Wednesday indicating a federal dim view of similar efforts by states to cut taxpayer funding to Planned Parenthood abortion mills. Since when do federal bureaucrats void state laws by writing a letter? 8 Indiana lawmakers have sent a letter to HHS head Bilious Sebelius demanding that she support Indiana’s new law cutting taxpayer funding to Planned Parenthood, and state officials of Indiana are indicating they will not accept federal interference with their new state law, and will refuse to distribute any taxpayer funds to Planned Parenthood.


Ray Parker 2 years, 10 months ago

No taxpayer or insurance coverage for any abortion under any circumstance, no excpections. Abortion loopholes have been abused and exploited too often for too long, at the expense of taxpayers and medical insurance premium payers. You commit an abortion for any reason, you pay the entire bill. No exceptions.


ksjayhawk74 2 years, 10 months ago

The new regulations about being able to inspect abortion clinics is specifically designed to be able to shut down abortion clinics, no matter how they do in the "inspection".


sr80 2 years, 10 months ago

I think Weiner and Degraaf need to get together,they are such fine examples of our politicians !!


pinballqueen 2 years, 10 months ago

Does anyone know if the morning after pill is allowed in Kansas, because it could provide women with an alternative to an abortion, but still prevent her further trauma. I am concerned with the implications of women/men who raise the children who are products of rape or incest? What man is going to love a woman and her baby who is her father/brother/uncle's child? If the rape was by a nonfamily member, if she is experiencing PTSD and carries her baby to full term, what if she is experiencing one of many feelings of shame/guilt, trauma, depression? What long term risk factors does the child face? Does anyone want to know, growing up, that they are a product of familial/nonfamilial rape?

I don't see abortion stopping by limiting services, but rather through education and prosocial/mental health services. Making abortion illegal won't stop abortion any more than all the other things we've made illegal. If there is a demand, someone will meet that need. My great aunt had a 'back alley' abortion in 1932, she almost bled to death later that day.


Shane Garrett 2 years, 10 months ago

So, I am wondering why Kari Ann Rinker took her glasses off to do the on camera interview. She looked a little less like Tina Fey and more like a hot chick. Agree with Kontum1972 on her looks. On abortion, I support all life. Keeping in mind that people eat tasty animals. And what sort of analogy would work best when comparing abortion insurance to....? A safety net? Or would nets show up on the steps of the statehouse?


itwasthedukes 2 years, 10 months ago

Is pregnancy a choice (in most cases) or do you catch it like a cold? I'm confused...


Kontum1972 2 years, 10 months ago

so is he having sex with this "spare tire"...?


Kontum1972 2 years, 10 months ago

another meat head politician....he and "feral hog boy" should hook up and conceive a child

i have been in Mulvane....they could of use this place as a secondary back-up for shooting Deliverance..............................."Squeal like a Pig"......


Barry Watts 2 years, 10 months ago

Is it just me, or do these comments (DeGraff & Gillooly) sound like 2 preschoolers arguing on the playground? Grow up. Apologize. Talk about the issues.


panzermike007 2 years, 10 months ago

Before you whiners start, let me say, i am conservative, but pro-choics. That being said, i think NOW is a bunch of lunatics that have been into leftist politics far too long.


Bob_Keeshan 2 years, 10 months ago

An important point -- Il Marrone and his GOP partisans are pro-insurance mandates barring coverage for abortion.

They are anti-insurance mandates to cover pregnancy.

Because, you know, government shouldn't be telling private insurance companies they have to cover pregnancy. Government's only role is to tell private insurance companies what they cannot cover.

The brilliance of Il Marrone.


smvequist 2 years, 10 months ago

so...lets have these women keep their babies....stay on welfare, section eight, and food stamps to support the baby. also free daycare while the woman works a job making $7 an hr for maybe 20hrs a show she has a job to get the daycare funding. All tax payer money people!!!! come on!!!


deathpenaltyliberal 2 years, 10 months ago

Nobody is demanding the taxpayer foot the bill.

I don't have a problem with a private insurance company covering abortions. After all, my premiums have to pay for all you fat, lazy couch potatoes. It also covers the smokers and alcoholics who say "Hey hold my beer" right before they flip their quad.

Maybe you need to understand the concept of shared risk pools, and stop the whining about your special interests.


cheeseburger 2 years, 10 months ago

DeGraaf's statement was probably ill-advised, but the behavior of the protesters on the Capitol steps wasn't much better.


Dan Eyler 2 years, 10 months ago

Although the congressman could have used better words I agree with the language of the legislation/law. My insurance doesn't always cover the types of care I want and I decide on spending money for the add on's. I have to decide if I need better cancer coverage, dental coverage, eye coverage. I guess I am paying to travel with a spare tire. Rape is a serious crime. But I don't think insurance should pay for a rape until it is declared by the courts that a rape was committed. So only after a trial and conviction should insurance pay regardless if it is provided in your coverage or not. That isn't what NOW wants to hear but rape is a crime and a conviction is needed to validate the act. I suggest that you decide whether or not want that extra coverage. Another way to get it paid for might be your flex spending account. Stop behaving like you don't have options and stop demanding that the tax payer should foot the bill.


autie 2 years, 10 months ago

Ever notice how when these idiots say something incredibly stupid the refuse to apologize and think it best to move on? Peck and DeGraaf. Morons cut from the same cloth.


Paul R Getto 2 years, 10 months ago

Women are chattel. Read your bible. If they behave, they get their reward in 'heaven.' This is only the beginning. Birth control is on the radar too. Save the zygotes.


kernal 2 years, 10 months ago

How long will it take "Spare Tire" DeGraaf to apologize?

Come on, Spare Tire, you won't lose face if you admit your statement was inappropriate.


Commenting has been disabled for this item.