Our rights to life, liberty, property, and the pursuit of happiness
can only be secured by a state strictly separated from religion

02 February 2009

Dirty Tricks in Kansas

By Diana Hsieh

Kansas' Lawrence Journal reports on yet another attempt by the religious right to intimidate women into forgoing their right to abortion:

Topeka — The House Judiciary Committee's chairman has opened the Legislature's annual debate on abortion with what he calls a "woman's right to know and see" bill. Rep. Lance Kinzer, an Olathe Republican, introduced legislation Monday requiring that 30 minutes before performing an abortion, the doctor give the woman a chance to see a sonogram and get a copy of the image. If fetal heart monitoring is done, the woman would have a right to listen.

"There is no better way to know the physiological development than to see," Kinzer said. "This bill is a sincere attempt by those of us on the pro-life side to find an area where we can have some consensus." Peter Brownlie, president of Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri, said the bill "is basically trying to use ultrasound as a political tool rather than a medical procedure."

The bill also requires that 24 hours before an abortion, the woman must be provided a list of free sonogram locations. She also must receive information about counseling and other assistance for medically challenging pregnancies, and contacts for free perinatal hospice services.

Brownlie said Planned Parenthood already provides that information to women. Kinzer's proposal also requires that abortion clinics post "anti-coercion" signs so that women will know their legal rights. "Every woman submitting to an abortion should only do so after giving her voluntary and well-informed consent," Kinzer said.

Brownlie called the signage "unnecessary and intrusive." "It is based on a made-up theory that lots of women are coerced into having abortions," he said.

Many of Kinzer's proposals were included in a wide-ranging abortion bill vetoed last year by Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, who supports abortion rights. Kinzer said none of the provisions in this year's bill were singled out by the governor in her veto message.
Abortion is a medical procedure like any other. It ought to be treated as such in the law. Opponents of abortion have every right to speak their mind in the forums open to them. They have no right to interject themselves into a woman's relationship with her doctor. They have no right to impose government controls on abortion providers in order to discourage women from exercising their rights over their own bodies. That's reprehensible -- and I hope this bill dies a quick death.

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