Committee hearing heats up on Kansas abortion bill

Temperatures rose Thursday during a committee hearing on a bill to add further restrictions on abortions.

Kari Ann Rinker, state coordinator of the Kansas chapter of the National Organization for Women, called the bill a waste of taxpayers’ time and money.

She told the House Federal and State Affairs Committee she knew she wouldn’t change anyone’s mind and the committee should just go ahead approve the bill.

“The committee process is irrelevant,” Rinker said. She took out an ink pad and rubber stamp and told the committee to go ahead and “rubber stamp” the bill.

That brought criticism from several committee members.

Rep. John Rubin, R-Shawnee, said Rinker had committed a scurrilous attack on the committee. He then walked out of the meeting for a few minutes to cool off.

Rep. Joe Seiwert, R-Pretty Prairie, said, “Your little stamp appalls me.”

Rinker said that during hearings last year on another abortion bill, another Kansas NOW official, Amber Versola, was treated shabbily by anti-abortion committee members who peppered her with inappropriate questions, such as, “Have you ever watched someone die?”

Rep. Amanda Grosserode, R-Lenexa, said if committee members were disrespectful they should apologize. She added that while she and Rinker don’t agree on abortion “the method where we communicate can be in respect.”

The committee closed the hearing on House Bill 2598 and took no action on it.

The measure would require a physician to make the fetal heartbeat audible before the woman agrees to an abortion. It would also require doctors provide information that abortion increases the risk of breast cancer, a claim that most cancer researchers dispute. It would also prohibit schools from contracting with groups such as Planned Parenthood for sex education programs.

It would also take away sales tax exemptions for drugs used in abortion, any educational materials purchased by a non-profit that performs abortions. It also prohibits abortion solely on account of the sex of the child.