Topeka — The "rubber stamp" incident continues to reverberate in the Statehouse.
Peter Brownlie, president and chief executive officer of Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri, has written a letter critical of the way Kari Ann Rinker, state coordinator for the Kansas chapter of the National Organization for Women, delivered testimony last week in opposition to an abortion regulation bill.
Rinker, pulled an ink pad and rubber stamp from a paper bag, and told the House Federal and State Affairs Committee that since they had the votes to approve the bill to just go ahead and "rubber stamp" it. She also said the committee treated a Kansas NOW shabbily last year during testimony.
Several committee members criticized Rinker.
In a letter to the committee, Brownlie didn't mention Rinker by name, but said Planned Parenthood regretted testimony given that offended some on the committee. "As a trusted health care provider, Planned Parenthood's representatives always maintain a professional tone and respect for the legislative process and we hope others, regardless of their position on abortion, will do the same," Brownlie said.
In a piece Rinker wrote for Reproductive & Sexual Health Justice, she was unapologetic, saying that after years of offering testimony against numerous abortion bills approved by the Legislature, she tried a different tactic. She wrote: "So, how does a women’s reproductive rights advocate work within this establishment as it currently exists? We can stand before them, present all of the facts, try to encourage the legislative committees to consider science and not manufactured pseudo-science and withstand the barrage of ideologically driven, irrelevant line of questioning, thank them and then proceed home to lick our wounds and mourn our losses … or we can step outside of “protocol," challenge the norms and speak truth to power with every ounce of energy we have. This week, I choose the latter. I took a risk and I challenged the process itself, rather than focusing on the details of the latest and greatest legislative attack. I used a visual aid and I really, really ticked some people off."
Last year, Rinker had brought three spare tires to the Capitol in protest of comments made by state Rep. Pete DeGraaf, R-Mulvane.
During debate on a bill requiring women to buy additional insurance to cover abortion, state 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.”
Rinker said the remarks trivialized rape and were demeaning to women.