Kansas Governor Puts Extreme Biblical Beliefs Before Constitution, Signs Sweeping Anti-Abortion Legislation


Kansas Republican Governor Sam Brownback signed sweeping religiously motivated anti-abortion legislation into law on Friday, nearly two weeks after the Kansas House passed the bill earlier this month. The new laws will take effect this July.

The provisions of the bill known as HB 2253 include barring women from deducting abortion services on their tax forms, banning abortion providers from receiving tax breaks, prohibiting employees of abortion providers from participating in sex education courses in school, forcing doctors to tell women that abortion causes breast cancer even though science says otherwise, and declaring that life begins at conception, a declaration that could be used to ban abortion entirely in the future. The bill does not include exceptions for victims of rape or incest.

According to the Lawrence Journal World,

“An Associated Press photo taken before the signing shows a page of notes about the bill on Brownback’s desk that included a handwritten message at the top: “JESUS + Mary.” Further down the page were typewritten notes spelling out Brownback’s belief that the bill would create “a culture of life.””

Brownback’s own notes at the signing ceremony make it clear that these anti-abortion measures are being forced down women’s throats because an extreme group of Christian fundamentalists demand it. Women’s rights are being wiped out a piece at a time by conservative politicians to appease their Christian Right-wing masters. This legislation specifically targets women and the health care providers who treat them in an effort to ban abortion, a procedure that has been legal in the United States for 40 years.

In 1973, the Supreme Court ruled that women are constitutionally guaranteed the right to seek an abortion via the 14th Amendment. The 14th Amendment also already defines when a person is granted rights, specifically stating that “all persons born” have the right to life, liberty, and property. In other words, only the born have rights, the unborn do not. Despite what the Christian Right believes, the only document that matters is the Constitution. The Bible has no place and no standing in the how the nation and each of the 50 states are governed. The 14th Amendment was passed by a Republican dominated Congress during the Reconstruction Era and approved by the American people. Therefore, any law that seeks to restrict a woman’s right to have an abortion is null and void. The only way to ban abortion, the only way to declare that life begins at fertilization, is to amend the Constitution. And considering the fact that a great majority of Americans support abortion rights in most or all cases, including 70% who oppose overturning Roe v. Wade, such a change to the Constitution is highly unlikely.

Kansas Republicans, by assaulting women’s rights to have a safe and legal abortion, are putting the state on a dangerous path towards becoming the most dangerous place for a woman to live. If abortion continues to be unconstitutionally restricted to the point of being banned entirely, women will be forced to find alternative ways to end their unwanted pregnancies, which means countless women will lose their lives as they did in the time before Roe v. Wade. According to the National Abortion Federation,

“In the years before Roe v. Wade, the estimates of illegal abortions ranged as high as 1.2 million per year [Figure according to the Guttmacher Institute],” the NAF states. “Although accurate records could not be kept, it is known that between the 1880s and 1973, many thousands of women were harmed as a result of illegal abortion. Many women died or suffered serious medical problems after attempting to self-induce their abortions or going to untrained practitioners who performed abortions with primitive methods or in unsanitary conditions. During this time, hospital emergency room staff treated thousands of women who either died or were suffering terrible effects of abortions provided without adequate skill and care.”

If Republicans and their Christian Right-wing sponsors have their way, Kansas will once again be known as ‘Bleeding Kansas,’ and it won’t be because of a battle over slavery this time. It will be because of the deaths of women who get unsafe abortions because they have no choice.