Kansas abortion bill is cruel, ignorant
The Kansas City Star
With the passage of an anti-abortion bill on Wednesday, Kansas House members revealed themselves as callous and backward-thinking.
Along with imposing new restrictions on patients and providers, the House rejected an amendment to change current law and allow abortions after 22 weeks if the pregnancy was a result of rape or incest.
In rejecting pleas to allow those exceptions, the bill’s supporters displayed a shocking lack of empathy for women.
Young girls, especially, may not understand or acknowledge the physical changes resulting from a pregnancy until that pregnancy is well underway. By removing the option of abortion, legislators are imposing their will and beliefs on people in desperate situations.
The bill contains several overbearing and offensive requirements for doctors. The worst is a requirement that physicians must falsely inform patients that abortion may increase the risk of breast cancer.
An abortion-breast cancer link is wishful thinking on the part of anti-abortion crusaders, buoyed by a few small, early studies. Later, more comprehensive research found no connection. In the early 2000s, the National Cancer Institute convened more than 100 leading experts to review the research. They concluded that neither abortion nor miscarriage increases a woman’s chances of developing breast cancer.
But Kansas Rep. Lance Kinzer, an Olathe Republican who is the driver of the Legislature’s anti-abortion legislation, asserted in debate that the Legislature has the authority to tell doctors what to tell patients, even in the face of doubt or conflicting studies.
Kinzer’s thinking is arrogant and harmful. Why would a talented young doctor want to practice in a state that requires physicians to perpetuate a discredited scare tactic?
The 70-page House bill’s overreaching effort to deny women the right to a private medical decision even prohibits a woman from deducting the cost of an abortion as a medical expense on her income tax form. Abortion providers could no longer claim an exemption from state sales taxes for medical supplies, as other medical providers can do.
In testimony to the triumph of zealotry, the House voted 92-31 for the abortion restrictions. We must now hope that the Senate will show some compassion for young women facing the anguish of an unwanted, late-term pregnancy, and understand the negative consequences that would come from promoting a blatant falsehood.