Letters to the Editor

Health at stake

May 5, 2012


To the editor:

H Sub SB 62, known as the Birth Control Refusal and Referral Denial bill, was passed Wednesday and is on its way to Gov. Brownback’s desk to become law. This bill was NEVER introduced, given a hearing or debated in the Senate. It was queued up into a “gut and go” bill by anti-choice leaders in the Legislature to bypass the standard democratic process as they ran out of time.

If this bill becomes law, it would mean:

• A hospital treating a woman who has survived sexual assault could refuse to give that woman emergency contraception or even tell her about it.

• A pharmacist could refuse to dispense birth control pills based on his or her personal belief.

• A woman with a condition that significantly increases her health risks during pregnancy — such as cancer, phlebitis, sickle cell anemia or heart disease — could be denied treatment for her condition and/or an abortion to preserve her health. The doctor or pharmacist could also refuse to refer the woman to a clinician who could provide her medically necessary treatment.

This bill and its path to a vote in the Senate was so outrageous that anti-choice Sen. Tim Owens, R-Overland Park, voted against it, saying, “This bill carries with it opportunities for unintended consequences where a person with medical skills and training could be in a situation to deny help resulting in the death of a mother. I do not accept that as a pro-life choice.”

Clearly this is a form of war designed to harm women and families all across our state with full support of our distinguished governor!


Abdu Omar 5 years, 11 months ago

I believe that a bill to deny women their rights will be seen as unconstitutional. Our distinguished (not) govenor can sign this bill but it will be overturned.

Ken Lassman 5 years, 11 months ago

And your moniker is Liberty?? Why do you think the government has the right to intrude on the very personal decisions that this law addresses? Such a hypocrite.

Ragingbear 5 years, 11 months ago

Liberty is in for a nice wakeup call if anything ever happens to him/her/it/them. When nobody is there to fight for you, and you have people denying your basic constitutional rights because of belief systems.

Consider this. There are major religions out there that think that being raped is a sin. Therefore they may be allowed under these laws to refuse to even treat rapist in the ER for anything.

By the way, your comment about money is completely off base. This bill is not about money, it is about treatment. Nobody is saying that you have to give the day after pill away for free. You are confusing your political issues. Please get a clue and learn the difference between this bill that Brownback is pushing through his regime and the Obama healthcare bill, which you have this confused with. Then return and offer a valid point rather than spiting and snarling at your screen until the autocorrect feature on your computer arranges it into some sort of statement resembling English.

Liberty275 5 years, 11 months ago

"and you have people denying your basic constitutional rights because of belief systems"

Where exactly is the right to birth control and abortion mentioned in the Constitution or any of the amendments?

Ragingbear 5 years, 11 months ago

Under your logic, slavery may be illegal, but you can have slaves if you choose. Perhaps you have some sort of dungeon somewhere with people in it that you kidnapped for your post-apocolyptic belief system.

Also, you are incredibly unpatriotic. Your "relationships" are nothing because we are a country. A country of laws of the people, by the people, for the people. Something that defines liberty. Your system of kidnapping innocent people and keeping them in your dungeon is the opposite. If somebody was to forward your comments to DHS, you should be quite worried about what they will find out about you.

That is, unless you are a plant, which you may be. In any case, your statements are invalid.

Liberty275 5 years, 11 months ago

"but you can have slaves if you choose"

You can have all the slaves you can afford. I like most of the stuff I do for money, and am obsessed with some of it, but the mundane bits are just rented slavery. The only thing different from 200 years ago is the seller.

You can't buy slaves any more, but you can rent them.

"post-apocolyptic belief system"

You spelled "post-hypocritical" wrong.

"Blah blah blah Your system of kidnapping blah blah"

That's just dumb.

"If somebody was to forward your comments to DHS, you should be quite worried about what they will find out about you."

That's about as sickening a thing as a person could utter to an American. You should be ashamed of yourself.

JayhawksandHerd 5 years, 11 months ago

So, just to be clear, some of you are proposing that a doctor should be exempt from providing any sort of preventative care or treatment if it conflicts with his or her personal dogma, correct? How does that square with the Hippocratic oath?

Liberty275 5 years, 11 months ago

First line

"I swear to fulfill, to the best of my ability and judgment"

jafs 5 years, 11 months ago

That doesn't mean what you seem to think it means.

It means you'll do the best job you can, not that you'll use your moral judgements to deny treatment.

JayhawksandHerd 5 years, 11 months ago


Perhaps I should have thrown out a personal insult or two?

Cait McKnelly 5 years, 11 months ago

Give it a bit, grasshopper. It's Saturday. People are out mowing lawns, grocery shopping, even getting together with friends. They aren't at work wasting time on their employers computers. To answer your question, the Hippocratic oath is not a legal mandate and isn't even a binding oath (like a governmental oath of office). There is no obligation for any physician to follow it. Which is a good thing. The Hippocratic Oath is a little over 2,000 years old; not as old as the Old Testament but still about as relevant. Hippocrates as a physician practiced medicine with a belief in the "humors" and I'm positive never imagined in his wildest dreams that medicine would advance to a point where people could quite literally be left alive indefinitely with machines, placing doctors in a position of having to judge quality of life over quantity. Even so, the guiding tenet of the oath is "First, do no harm." It's a bit like the Wiccan Rede; "An it harm none, do what thou wilt is the whole of the law." You actually have to define "harm". To some people, anything that interferes with conception, pregnancy or birth is interfering with "life" and causing harm. Others believe that by not using the tools of contraception and abortion that the lives of women are being adversely impacted and their" lives are being harmed. It's the "quality of life vs. quantity of life" question that has been debated since the rise of modern medicine in the last 70 years. Does a physician let a cancer patient suffer horribly to his/her natural end or does that doctor foreshorten that life to prevent that suffering? Which is the greater harm? In terms of women's health care; as a woman and someone who was a nurse for over thirty five years and in the administration of medicine, I come down firmly in the "quality of life" camp. But then I have directly seen the suffering caused by the "quantity of life" belief. The Abrahamic religions firmly believe in the "quantity of life", though. And most people, not being physicians or other medical personnel who see these things on the front line of their lives on a daily basis, have no clue and tend to follow their religious beliefs as their only guidance. They honestly have no other. But to continue to blindly follow that path when presented with evidence with which is truly the greater harm is a very foolish thing. However, that's their choice and I have no quarrel with it. What I do* quarrel with is forcing every other person on the planet to follow that belief, even to the extent of using underhanded and deceptive methods, which is what's being done with this legislation. Capiche?

JayhawksandHerd 5 years, 11 months ago

I'm aware that the oath is pretty much symbolic these days, but what is implied is that, ideally, there should be some sort of guiding ethos in medicine that supersedes individual religious beliefs/political ideology/etc. Otherwise, what's the point? Beyond that, I think you and I share the same point of view, which seems to be incongruous with that of our resident Libertarians. That's why I asked the first question. The second part was more of an afterthought.

jafs 5 years, 11 months ago

There are ethical guidelines that doctors should follow, judge as there are with other professions like lawyers, psychologists, etc.

The HO is one statement of those, but I'm sure there are others, spelled out by the AMA, or the KBHA, etc. so that doctors have clear guidelines for their professional conduct, and there are consequences if they fail to honor those.

They're not free to simply do whatever they want, for whatever reason.

Kirk Larson 5 years, 11 months ago

So if I'm a Christian Scientist (what am oxymoron) doctor who does not believe in conventional medicine, I can just sit on my behind and prescribe "two prayers and call me in the morning"? And because that satisfies my religious beliefs the law says that's OK?

Kirk Larson 5 years, 11 months ago

Or pharmacists go to pharm school so they can deny customers legal birth control drugs prescribed by their doctor? Or doctors go to med school so they can lie to their patients about severe birth defects because they MIGHT get an abortion? Not so far fetched. These things are happening now.

Liberty275 5 years, 11 months ago

In your scenario, the doctor is irrelevant. Christian Scientists make the choice on their own to not utilize conventional health care, and in reality, what health care others use is none of anyone's business unless a minor is put in peril and the state is willing to make that child a ward.

Since your premise is fatally flawed, you question has no meaning.

Resubmit a better thought out question.

Kirk Larson 5 years, 11 months ago

My premise was more or less an argument ad absurdum. This is a stupid law in that legal drugs and procedures can be denied by the professionals entrusted with providing them safely. It inserts distrust into our health care system in that any god-wallopper can make a claim that their religious bias is enough to override the desires of the patient or recommendations of their doctor.

Richard Heckler 5 years, 11 months ago

How in the world does the legislature feel they can recess ever with Gov Sam Brownback in office? Some need to stay to keep Sam Brownback reined in. Sam has no respect for process or democracy much less women.

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