The Kansas House of Representatives has lately had an ultraconservative agenda, and they are continuing that trend with a conscience clause bill. Across the country, Republican lawmakers have made efforts to restrict women’s access to contraceptives, and now, Kansas Republicans are doing just that.
Republicans look to advance a bill that will allow pharmacists to refuse to fill any prescription they believe will terminate a pregnancy. In other words, Republicans are trying to make it legal to deny women access to contraceptives of any kind. According to the Kansas City Star:
“The chamber tentatively agreed Wednesday to advance the bill, which is primarily intended to broaden the legal protections for health care providers who don’t want to be involved in the abortion procedure. Critics of the bill, however, are pouncing on language that would bar anyone from being required to prescribe or administer a drug they “reasonably believe” might result in the termination of a pregnancy. They believe the law would open the door for a pharmacist to refuse a request for something like the “morning-after” pill, which the Mayo Clinic says can prevent or delay ovulation, block fertilization or keep a fertilized egg from implanting in the uterus.”
This bill is an obvious attempt by Republicans to further deny women access to contraceptives. It allows pharmacists to refuse service to women. You know, kinda like how Southern white business owners were once allowed to refuse service to African-Americans. The sponsor of this bill is none other than GOP Rep. Lance Kinzer, who also is the sponsor of a bill allowing discrimination of homosexuals on religious grounds. Kinzer says this bill isn’t about all forms of contraception but the problem with that claim is that it’s a lie. Many conservatives see ALL forms of contraception as a cause of abortion. That means pharmacists could legally deny women any contraception. For example, “a Topeka pharmacist — a Roman Catholic — told the committee that it was “clear” that all contraceptive products had the potential to cause an abortion. Daniel Sutherland told lawmakers he wanted to remove all contraceptive products from his business but didn’t for fear of being sued. “It is not my desire to foist my religion on anybody. However, I should be free to exercise my conscience without fear of reprisal,” Sutherland told the committee in written testimony.”
So Mr. Sutherland says he doesn’t want to force his religious beliefs on anyone, but he doesn’t mind forcing women to get pregnant against their will. You know what I would call that? Rape. Even though the pharmacist isn’t violating the body of a woman with his own, technically he is FORCING her to get pregnant or to stay pregnant by refusing to sell her contraception. Pharmacists have no right to tell women what they can and can’t do with their own bodies. Plus, you know that these anti-abortion pharmacists carry condoms and Viagra. So in addition to being sexists, these pharmacists are also being hypocrites. They are also dangerous because this bill would also allow pharmacists to deny women emergency contraceptives, like in cases of rape or when a woman’s life is in danger.
These religious freedom/conscience clause bills are a slippery slope. These kinds of bills can be used to justify anything Republicans can think of. Republicans could pass a conscience clause that allows people to hang ‘Whites Only’ signs in their business windows, basically using religious freedom to legalize discrimination of any kind. Don’t believe me? It’s already happening, in Kansas. As noted earlier, Republicans are trying to pass a bill legalizing the discrimination of homosexuals. All a person needs to do is claim a religious defense. Such laws could allow people to stone adulterers, own slaves, beat children, beat women, own women as property, and kill homosexuals. Republicans could even stretch such bills to protect teachers so that they can preach creationism and Bible voodoo in the classroom instead of actual knowledge and facts. Basically, because the Christian Right Wing has infiltrated government so much, Republicans could essentially use religious freedom bills to justify anything to advance their agenda.
The religious freedom scheme has gone too far and needs to be reversed. Religious freedom only gives people the right to be a member of any religion they please and to worship how they please. It does not give people the right to discriminate against others or treat women like cattle.
Once again, Republicans are trying to get their way by making it easier for ordinary conservative citizens to also wage war against women. At the rate the Republicans are going, I wouldn’t be all surprised if they next tried to weaken rape and domestic violence laws. Oh, I forgot. They already are trying to do those things. But don’t be surprised if they actually legalize them in the name of religious freedom.