Kansas Senate Prepares To Kill Reproductive Rights, Republicans Mock Rape Victims

Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz: "Gee, Toto, I don't think we're in Kansas anymore!"

Image from Flying GMA’s blog.

Kansas Republicans are gearing up to pass one of the most sweeping and dangerous pieces of anti-abortion legislation in America. The GOP dominated Senate gave initial approval to HB 2253 earlier this week and are preparing the measure for final passage.

The provisions in the bill include a ban on tax breaks for abortion providers, a ban on public schools receiving assistance or materials from employees of abortion providers in sex education courses, a measure declaring that life begins at conception and that the unborn have legal rights, and a requirement that forces doctors to lie to women that abortion causes breast cancer.

Worse yet, the bill does not include any exceptions for rape victims and every amendment offered to add these exceptions have been rejected by Republicans, who then went out of their way to belittle rape victims by referring to the amendments as “gotcha amendments.”

“These amendments are little gotcha amendments,” Senate Majority Leader Terry Bruce, a Hutchinson Republican, said, his voice rising,” the Lawrence Journal World reports. “I’m getting a little irritated at it.”

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Democrats also tried “to add language to the measure saying that a woman couldn’t face prosecution or civil lawsuits for using birth control.” Republicans flatly rejected that amendment as well.

Not all Republicans support the bill. State GOP Representative Barbara Bollier said ,”the bill not only injects abortion politics into tax policy but invades women’s privacy. Also, she said, it would create a hostile environment that discourages health care providers from performing even a few abortions in medical emergencies.”

In other words, doctors would fear being arrested for saving a woman’s life by ending her ectopic pregnancy. And since Republicans have included language in the bill that declares life beginning at conception and gives newly joined sperm and eggs rights, the measure paves the way for Kansas to ban abortion entirely. Doctors who perform abortion could be arrested and charged with murder. Women could also be arrested and charged with murder for using some forms of contraception. Republicans claim the provisions in this bill are simply to reinforce the state’s 22 week abortion ban, but the language in this bill suggests otherwise. Granting rights to zygotes gives Republicans the ability to charge women and doctors for ending pregnancies for any reason. Such rights violate the 14th Amendment of the Constitution, but that doesn’t matter to the GOP.

Rep. Bollier made it clear that this bill is the most intrusive example of conservative “small government” values. “We’re going into a whole different realm,” Bollier warned. “It becomes a police state, where you’re afraid.”

It’s not big government that is trying to legislate what Americans do in their private and personal lives. It’s not big government that is trying to decide what we can do with our bodies. The Republican brand of small government is doing these things. They want to force women to get pregnant and give birth. They want to tell people who they can marry and when. And they want us to live in a state of perpetual fear, forever paranoid that we are being watched in our bedrooms, in our doctor’s offices, and wherever our private lives play out. They want us to fear that at any moment, a police officer will burst in and arrest us for making private and personal choices that only affect ourselves. This is what Republicans call “small government,” and that small government has become more dangerous than big government ever was.