Archive for Monday, March 12, 2012

No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act’ contains more than tax issues

March 12, 2012


— It's called the "No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act," but House Bill 2598, which will be worked on in committee this week, deals with much more than taxes.

The anti-abortion group Kansans for Life says the bill strengthens civil rights for the unborn and increases crucial information given to women who are thinking of getting an abortion.

In testimony on the bill, state Rep. Lance Kinzer, R-Olathe, described it as a comprehensive measure "dealing with a variety of important issues where expansion, clarification or codification is necessary in our law."

But Kari Ann Rinker, the Kansas coordinator of the National Organization for Women, calls the 68-page measure "the most sweeping anti-abortion bill in the nation."

The bill would make dozens of changes in Kansas abortion law.

Related document

House Bill 2598 ( .PDF )

Related document

Fiscal Note for HB 2598 ( .PDF )

A hearing on the legislation held last month produced the annual battle in the Statehouse between anti-abortion groups and abortion rights supporters.

Some fireworks erupted when Rinker, recalling that the Legislature and Gov. Sam Brownback enacted several major anti-abortion bills last year, offered the House Federal and State Affairs Committee a rubber stamp with the word "approved," which angered some committee members.

But then the bill faded in the background for several weeks, as the Legislature hurtled toward other issues and deadlines.

That changed last week when officials at Kansas University Medical Center informed legislators there was a provision in the bill that could jeopardize its accreditation.

According to KU, accreditation requirements say that medical residents being trained as obstretrics-gynecologists must gain experience with induced abortion and complications due to abortion, unless they have a religious or moral objection. The residents gain this experience at facilities not owned or operated by the state.

One part of HB 2598 states: “no health care services provided by any state agency, or any employee of a state agency while acting within the scope of such employee’s employment, shall include abortion.”

When legislators reported that they were working with KU to solve this issue, the influential anti-abortion group, Kansans for Life, sounded the alarm.

"Time to end University of Kansas abortion training," said a call to action by Kansans for Life. Kathy Ostrowski, of Kansans for Life, said, "There is no professional reason that ob/gyn resident physicians have to learn how to destroy unborn children in order to achieve competency in pregnancy management, stillbirth evacuation or treating abortion complications."

And she urged people to contact Brownback and legislators "to stop abortion training by KU!"

The wrangling over the bill concerning KU Medical Center has increased scrutiny of other parts of the bill as the abortion issue has gained heightened publicity across the nation.

Earlier this month, Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell signed into law a bill requiring women seeking abortions undergo abdominal ultrasounds. But dropped from an earlier version of the bill, after a national uproar, was a vaginally invasive form of ultrasound.

Under the Kansas legislation, for pregnancies at least 10 weeks from the last menstrual period, the abortion provider must use a hand-held Doppler fetal monitor and "make the embryonic or fetal heartbeat of the unborn child audible for the pregnant woman to hear."

Dr. Herbert Hodes, an obstetrician-gynecologist who provides abortion services, said, "The Legislature should not be in the business of forcing medical tests on women and requiring physicians to violate their ethical obligations."

The measure would also make it a crime for a person to perform an abortion with the knowledge that the pregnant woman was seeking the abortion solely on account of the sex of the child.

The bill also requires the physician to inform a woman seeking an abortion about the risks of abortion on premature birth in future pregnancies and breast cancer. Abortion rights groups point to scientific studies that dispute this assertion.

The measure also would have the effect of creating new taxes on expenses related to abortion services or insurance coverage for abortion, and imposes state sales taxes on drugs and medications used in an abortion.

The bill also excludes the threat of suicide or self-harm from the definition of substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function for the purposes of seeking a post-viability abortion.

And it would prevent any group providing abortion services, such as Planned Parenthood, from offering materials for human sexuality classes in school districts.

And another part of the bill would eliminate a civil cause of action for wrongful life or wrongful death, according to a state bill summary. Abortion rights supporters say this may allow physicians to conceal from the pregnant woman information about abnormalities in the fetus.

The Federal and State Affairs Committee is scheduled to work on the bill either Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday.


Richard Heckler 6 years, 2 months ago

More BIG GOVERNMENT from the anti big government thinkers who are soooooo bogus.

mom_of_three 6 years, 2 months ago

The group is working for rights for the "unborn.". But what about the rights of the woman? Since she is born, does she not matter? I get that people hate abortion. I don't like it, but its only my body I have to worry about. I can't tell anyone else what to do with theirs. And affordable birth control would help prevent some pregnancies. I think this bill interferes with a woman's life, liberty and pursuit......
And as far as KU med training in abortions, yes I want my Dr. To do whatever and know how to do everything to save someone's life. What happens if both the mother and child die because the dr can't perform a procedure to save one life?

Katara 6 years, 2 months ago

I just wish the Legislature would focus on something that is productive and useful for all Kansans such as creating jobs.

Enlightenment 6 years, 2 months ago

Wow, they don't want to fund prescription contraceptives, don't want organizations like Planned Parenthood to provide educational material to school-aged children, and don't want doctors to learn how to perform or care for patients that have abortions. Seems like they don't want women to have any rights. I bet if this administration had its way, they would take the right to vote away from women too.

Fatty_McButterpants 6 years, 2 months ago

Of course they have rights - the right to act as a human incubator. Sad.

Frank A Janzen 6 years, 2 months ago

I have lived overseas for many years, and the BBC World Service radio programs now and then have leading stories about the bizarre goings on in Kansas, like when the State Board of Education outlawed evolution in the schools. And just now, with the news that Rick Santorum won Kansas.

Shelley Bock 6 years, 2 months ago

I, too, depend on the BBC for information about Kansas when I'm not on the internet.

Kansas has a reputation of being a backwards and regressive place to live. I've not met anyone who's ever visited my home state, other than KU alumni living in England, but many who have flown over it. When seen from outside the country, Kansas has the reputation of being a closed minded community. And, home of Fred's clan that is now banned from entering England.

Crazy_Larry 6 years, 2 months ago

At least the Board of Education debacle spawned a whole new religion!

Crazy_Larry 6 years, 2 months ago

"...I'm continually amazed at how much religion has infiltrated this government..." And Brownback thinks that people don't want to move to Kansas because of the taxes. What an idiot he is!

verity 6 years, 2 months ago

It's all been said again and again, so I'm only going to say one thing:

What is wrong with these people?

Cait McKnelly 6 years, 2 months ago

And what crackpot fantasy novel of a "Bible" do they read from?

Armored_One 6 years, 2 months ago

There is a type of rapist that this type of restriction on abortion empowers. Forced pregnancy rapists is the term, I think, but basically, without contraceptives, morning after pills, or abortions, these type of people can act with impunity because there is no way to prove that they are not essentially raping women.

There are additional reasons that laws like this should not exist, but I cna sum them up in a single word.


Aimee Polson 6 years, 2 months ago

No one is pro-abortion and (pretty much) everyone is pro-life. People are either pro-choice or anti-choice.

Frank A Janzen 6 years, 2 months ago

Right. Like is the opposite of "pro-life", "pro-death"?

kuguardgrl13 6 years, 2 months ago

I hate the term "pro-abortion". No one is truly pro-abortion. I support the rights of women to choose. And a lot of people who claim to be pro-life are mainly anti-abortion. Pro-life is more than just abortion. True pro-lifers are also anti-death penalty and medical death (think Terry Schiavo).

JayhawkFan1985 6 years, 2 months ago

This must be how Alice felt when she fell down the rabbit hole...just when you think it cant get any deeper. We need Neo and Morpheus.

Crazy_Larry 6 years, 2 months ago

The Topeka Capital Journal refuses to run these abortion-related Doonesbury cartoons.

KSManimal 6 years, 2 months ago

So....what happened to the right-wing cries of "no government between doctor and patient"? I guess that only applies if the government is trying to INCREASE access to health care....

And this: "The bill also requires the physician to inform a woman seeking an abortion about the risks of abortion....and breast cancer" means the bill requires doctors to LIE to their patients. Does the bill also protect doctors from liability when the patients discover they were lied to?

verity 6 years, 2 months ago

"Does the bill also protect doctors from liability when the patients discover they were lied to?"

Yes, it does. Which is one of the reasons it will be struck down.

repaste 6 years, 2 months ago

This only going to get more insane. The Koch and their cult are investing large sums of cash in local elections throughout Kansas trying to drive out moderate Repubs and start their revolution from the bottom up. There have always been American Taliban - Now they are getting more organized.

hcother 6 years, 2 months ago

What a waste of legislative effort. Sad. Wake up! Do some useful work!

Mercy 6 years, 2 months ago

Scott, "pro-life group Kansans for Life says...."

Cait McKnelly 6 years, 2 months ago

Mercy, "anti-abortion, anti-woman, pro forced birthing group, Kansans for Life says..."

jafs 6 years, 2 months ago

Then, you'd have to call the other side "pro choice", not "pro abortion".

Cait McKnelly 6 years, 2 months ago

Dear Mary Kay Culp, "There’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help other women." -Madeline Albright

I'm sure they're keeping your place nice and warm for you. No love, Me

Cait McKnelly 6 years, 2 months ago

CC to Kathy Ostrowski. I sometimes wonder if these women are victims of Stockholm syndrome.

LesliePalma 6 years, 2 months ago

I would like to know how the author knows the exact reasons why women have late-term abortions.

Let me repeat: I would like to know how the author knows the exact reasons why women have late-term abortions.

Cait McKnelly 6 years, 2 months ago

I re-read the article and see no area where the reporter made any kind of statement about "reasons for late term abortion". Can you help me out here? Maybe do a quote?

William Weissbeck 6 years, 2 months ago

Why do we even have an elected legislature. These guys and gals didn't write this legislation and they are certainly clueless as to what the provisions mean. They are absolutely and completely beholden to lobbyists. It would be more efficient and probably less costly if the state simply bid for the services of lobbyists directly. Instead of lobbyists paying campaign contributions, they could pay the state directly for the right to write our laws.

Cait McKnelly 6 years, 2 months ago

Replace "lobbyists" with ALEC and AUL (ALEC's "pro-life" arm) and you've hit the nail on the head. Both of those entities provide pre-written legislation to our (Republican) legislators and they introduce it and pass it, often without even reading it. Amazingly, at a public forum in Wichita, when confronted with their ties to ALEC, some legislators actually appeared puzzled that their membership in such an organization was even an issue!

verity 6 years, 2 months ago

You do have an idea there and it just might work.

Crazy_Larry 6 years, 2 months ago

No and nope. This is pure lunacy at its finest and Kansas deserves better. But, the bread and circuses make me apathetic.

"Death of democracy is not likely to be an assassination from ambush. It will be a slow extinction from apathy, indifference, and undernourishment."

Night Life

kuguardgrl13 6 years, 2 months ago

So you can vote at 18 days instead of 18 years after birth?

Cait McKnelly 6 years, 2 months ago

I'm running into an amazing number of Republican women who are abandoning their own party because of this issue. They are fiscally conservative women who are enraged that their party has been taken over by social conservatives pushing an agenda with which they disagree. One of those women is a dear friend in her early 60's who has been a registered Republican since she was 21 and first eligible to vote. The truth is, the GOP is dying and it's because of these issues, along with homophobia and a decided reluctance to support the children they are forcing to be born, that's causing this female flight from the party. Women are like elephants (and not the GOP kind). They don't forget easily. If legislators honestly think that between now and November this will "blow over" and these women will "vote the party line" I'm afraid they're in for a rude awakening. And believe me, no amount of money from the Kochs is going to stem this particular tide. There's a saying that one of the keys to success is knowing how to pick your battles. Picking one with half the human race isn't particularly wise.

Paul R Getto 6 years, 2 months ago

I have an 84 year-old mother-in-law who says much the same thing and won't vote for Brownback if he runs again.

Cait McKnelly 6 years, 2 months ago

That's if, at the age of 84, she can get the "proper ID" to vote.

verity 6 years, 2 months ago

One word, Cait---sociopath.

They have to be in control and fight every battle to the bitter end even when it is obvious to everyone else that they are not going to win, because they really believe that everyone else should do what is in their best interest, real or perceived, and can't imagine why others don't just let them have what they want. The sociopath sees themselves as being special, not subject to the rules others are required to live by. I've had a number of sociopaths in my life and learned this the hard way. They will use every dirty trick they can, then accuse you of doing exactly what they are doing. They will cut off their nose to spite their face. And they are usually very good at manipulating others, often by tapping into their anger or fear. That way they get others to help fight their battles, even when that person has nothing to gain and perhaps a lot to lose. Compromise and working together would be giving up power and control.

Even if these people understood how democracy is supposed to work, it wouldn't matter because they are above the rules/law. Of course, the less educated and knowledgable they are, the more easily they can be manipulated by someone like the Kochs.

Below Niemoller says: "They need to quit because it's not going to work." But they will never realize that---especially since God is on their side. Of course, in their world, they are God.

bad_dog 6 years, 2 months ago

"There's a saying that one of the keys to success is.."

There's another one that says something about Hell, fury & a woman scorned...

Niemoller 6 years, 2 months ago

"along with homophobia and a decided reluctance to support the children they are forcing to be born, that's causing this female flight from the party."

Forcing women to have children, I will say it again - FORCING WOMEN TO HAVE CHILDREN - and NOT protecting the children when they are born from poverty - that is becoming A KANSAS VALUE.

What the republicans are trying to do, is force people to not have sex until they are ready to have a baby. They need to quit because it's not going to work.

Cait McKnelly 6 years, 2 months ago

"If you're preborn, you're fine; if you're preschool, you're f#$%ed." -- George Carlin

usnsnp 6 years, 2 months ago

Just think, if a Republican is elected to the Presidency Brownback will porbably end up in charge of the Federal health dept.

Don Whiteley 6 years, 2 months ago

It makes little difference what the people of Kansas want. Even if it passes, there's not a judge in the country that will let this stand. Hitler had full taxpayer support of the German people to fund the genocide of the Jews, why should American genocide be anything different?

Crazy_Larry 6 years, 2 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

David Reynolds 6 years, 2 months ago

If there was some sanity and objectivity in seeking and administering abortions, this would not be an issue at all.

At 1.2 million abortions a year, & over 50 million abortions since Roe we have gone far beyond any reason to think abortions are administered for "women's health only". I and my family know the issue of women's health regarding abortion, based on actual experience. So please spare me the standard line.

This is a serious issue regarding serious thought. There are legitimate women's health issues & rape is a serious issue. At the same time the death of a fetus is a serious issue as well.

Who speaks for the fetus. Someone has to.

Let's get off the " its my right & its my health so shut up" only thinking of my side mantra. The fetus is a living breathing, feeding, feeling being also & when it is aborted it dies.

The discussion should be focused on defining legitimate cases where abortion is necessary & thus allowed. There are two sides to the issue. In the absence of such rationality governments must act to provide sense to this totally irrational behavior.

Shelley Bock 6 years, 2 months ago

Why is it that the people who are anti-abortion are also anti-contraceptive and anti-sex education? The old saying that an "ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure" is very, very true.

I would be more sympathetic to the arguments of the anti-abortion crowd if sex-education was mandatory and ubiquitous. If contraception was so prevalent that you'd be tripping over it everywhere would be my goal. If there were no excuses for getting pregnant other than acute stupidity, then anti-abortion would have more credibility.

As is, we all know that will not occur as evidenced by many who are now putting their sights on contraception and who have been anti-sex ed for ever.

Paul R Getto 6 years, 2 months ago

+1, From a systems perspective, their attitudes are curious. These are faith-based arguments and we shouldn't get heartburn looking for logic. Don't you trust these people to do the 'right thing?'

mom_of_three 6 years, 2 months ago

You can't get off the "its my right and my health" because the fetus is IN A PERSON, A PERSON WHO HAS RIGHTS. A person is who is an adult and can make their own decisions. You may not like their decisions, but they are still a person. How does a fetus, which is in someone else's body have more rights than the person themselves?How does something without the ability to think or speak have more rights than someone who does? As brought up in a column, I highly doubt that a fetus can feel pain. If it could, then birth would be a nightmare for it. Think about that.

Crazy_Larry 6 years, 2 months ago

You are so ill informed it's sickening...that's what irks me the talk like it's a baby or something. It is not. It is a does NOT breath. Why don't you take some time to actually learn about the subject before spewing whatever B.S. your pastor told you. Educate yourself.

A fetus does not actually breathe in the womb---at least, not in the usual sense. Fetal lungs are not fully functional and are not even able to fully expand until after birth. During the later stages of gestation, the fetus may "practice" breathing by inhaling and exhaling amniotic fluid. The fetus gets all of its oxygen and nutrients through the placenta and umbilical cord---a process called fetal circulation.

Civil rights for a fetus? Free speech for the fetus! My fetus wants to sign a contract! Idiots abound!

Crazy_Larry 6 years, 2 months ago

The mother speaks for the fetus. Who else should? Friggin' mental case!

Celeste Plitz 6 years, 2 months ago

Point is, whether a woman gets an abortion or not is her business. Not yours or anyone else's. If you don't like it, don't get one.

jhawkinsf 6 years, 2 months ago

Speaking of what is and what is not my business, if a parent gives a little swat on the butt of a misbehaving child, it's not my business. And if that swat is just a tiny bit harder than the swat I might administer, that is also none of my business. And if that swat leaves a tiny, tiny mark, it's not my business, nor if the mark is slightly larger, or larger with a welt. And if that mark and welt bruises, it's none of my business, even if it's a bigger bruise and if it draws a drop of blood, it's none of my business. And if they drop of blood is really two drop, of three or four, and maybe a little cartilage is broken about the nose, it's none of my business. And if a small bone is broken or two, maybe three or four, it's still none of my business. Right? No. Wait. A gentle swat on the butt of a misbehaving child is none of my business but several broken bones is child abuse and certainly is the business of all of society. But there is a grey area between the two, when it may be my business and when it may not be my business. And it is within that grey area where honest people of good will may disagree. Where people can engage in civil conversation, respecting the opinions of the other even while disagreeing. What is unfortunate is when the conversation is dominated by those who say not only do I disagree with your position, I won't even listen to you. I will shout so loud that your voice will not be heard. I don't respect your opinion and I don't give a hoot if you respect mine. That those who wish to have a civil dialogue are drowned out is unfortunate, indeed.

Crazy_Larry 6 years, 2 months ago

There is no civil dialogue when your conversing with someone who is ignorant of the facts and who's whole belief system is rooted in myth.

Crazy_Larry 6 years, 2 months ago

Oh, that's too easy. We'd rather talk out our butts and pretend a fetus is something it is not. Because, you know, the world hasn't enough hate. And we need to move our political base so they'll get out and vote. Mandatory abortions for everyone!

Michael LoBurgio 6 years, 2 months ago

Brownback: ‘Go work somewhere else’ if you want contraception

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback (R) has a simple solution for women who work for religious institutions that refuse to cover birth control: Find a new job.

kuguardgrl13 6 years, 2 months ago

Next thing you know Catholic employers will ask you in the job interview whether you use birth control or not. I'm sorry, it's none of your business what I choose to do in my private life.

verity 6 years, 2 months ago

Since the topic of being civil has once again come up and those of us who are angry about this bill and other anti-abortion bills have been called to task for being uncompromising, I have something to say to that.

  1. Yes, we are angry (extremely angry) at being treated like we are so stupid that we need to be lied to in order to make the "right" decisions about O U R lives. We are angry that a doctor can decide to let us die without any responsibility or allow our child to be born with abnormalities that might have been corrected if we had known about them before birth. (If you don't think that is what the bill says, read it.)

  2. When the anti-abortion people have made it very clear that these laws are just a way to get to banning abortion completely and they will not be satisfied until they do, there is no room for compromise. I agree that certain reasonable restrictions should be made and I've not heard of anyone who doesn't. So we are not talking about a fight between a complete restriction and no restrictions, although some would apparently like us to believe that. Tell me, please, how does one compromise in this situation?

By the way, the ACLU has taken notice. This is about to get real interesting.

jhawkinsf 6 years, 2 months ago

Just out of curiosity, you say you and others would be in favor of reasonable compromises. What compromises would that be?

verity 6 years, 2 months ago

I can only speak for myself as to the particulars and others will have to say whether or not they agree with me.

First off, no laws that allow and/or force a doctor to lie to his/her patient. That should not be acceptable to anybody (extreme left, right or anyplace inbetween) under any circumstances about anything. There can be absolutely no compromise on that or on forcing women to have unnecessary tests designed to traumatize and harass rather than enlighten.

Personally, I think there should be a cut off date in the pregnancy after which abortions are not allowed unless there is some mitigating circumstance. I have been smacked down several times for using the word viability, but I do believe that it should be used in making that decision. Before that, in my opinion, it should be the choice of the woman and whoever she decides will be part of the decision.

What mitigating circumstances are would also have to be decided/debated, but the life of the woman should always come first. Other than that, I'm sure there is a lot of room for debate on this factor.

From what I have read and observed, many later term abortions are because the person didn't know they were pregnant or they were afraid to tell their parents/guardians. This usually involves a fairly young girl or someone who has a low mental age. So part of the abortion question needs to be education and access to birth control. I may not approve of twelve or fifteen year olds having sex with kids their own age, but there is not much or anything I can do about it, and not educating them so they won't know what to do and won't do it obviously doesn't work---other species seem to be able to figure it out quite well. We all know about the laws concerning statutory rape, so there is no need to discuss that here.

I don't think that the morality of having sex or the morality of methods of birth control has any part in the abortion debate. That is a completely different issue and not one the law should be concerned about. Once again, I may not approve of certain things being done, but my approval or disapproval is irrelevant.

verity 6 years, 2 months ago

In the last paragraph, I should have used the plural---issues. I didn't mean to imply they are the same issue.

Cait McKnelly 6 years, 2 months ago

I completely agree with Verity. I would add only two things; 1. Doctors should never be restricted from declaring a fetus unviable. The vast majority of legislators are not physicians and didn't exactly spend seven years becoming educated and another four of residency to become physicians. Requiring a second opinion, I can live with. Outright banning it is unacceptable because I have known far too many women who had pregnancies with gross anomalies in the fetus. Unviable pregnancies exist and they cannot be "legislated" away. 2. Any woman with a fetus that has anomalies that can't be corrected surgically and will prevent that fetus from eventually living a quality, self sufficient, self sustaining and self responsible life (and this does include Trisomy 21) should have the right to abort at any stage of pregnancy.

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