Kansas House passes dangerous abortion bill
The Kansas City Star
In the process of passing bills to make abortion less accessible, Kansas lawmakers have potentially restricted women’s ability to access other services and undermined the University of Kansas Medical Center.
A draconian 70-page bill passed by the House places new tax demands on patients and providers of abortions. It also shields doctors and medical staffers from lawsuits if they fail to provide medical information about fetal abnormalities or conditions that may prompt a woman to terminate a pregnancy.
The House bill jeopardizes the accreditation status of the medical center by creating uncertainty about whether residents in obstetrics programs will be able to fulfill a requirement that they gain experience with induced abortion and its medical complications, unless they cite a moral objection. KU residents gain that experience at a privately owned facility in Colorado, and the House bill enables them to continue through the end of 2013.
But abortion opponents, especially Republican Lance Kinzer of Olathe, warned that they strongly oppose medical residents in a state-funded school receiving any training in terminating pregnancies.
The House bill also requires doctors to warn patients, among other things, that having an abortion may increase a patient’s chances of developing breast cancer. Recent studies have discredited that suggested link, and the Legislature should not require physicians to tell falsehoods.
This bill is disrespectful and dangerous. The Senate must stop it from getting to Gov. Sam Brownback, who never lets offensive and even unethical provisions deter him from signing a bill limiting abortions.
Unfortunately, the Senate already has approved one damaging abortion-related measure this session.
That bill, which has also passed the House, extends the state’s “conscience” provision for medical personnel to include the right to refuse to refer a woman to an abortion provider, or prescribe or administer a prescription or treatment that terminates a pregnancy.
Taken to its extreme, the legislation could empower doctors and medical staffers to refuse to provide birth control or even chemotherapy to a pregnant cancer patient.
Kansas is already known for placing onerous provisions on abortion providers. These two bills signal a fundamental shift to a strategy that would encourage medical providers to withhold information and services because they are tangentially related to abortion. They show an appalling lack of concern for science and women’s health.