Coalition Criticizes Continued Assault on Women’s Health

February 8, 2012


Holly Weatherford, ACLU,  913.269.9181
Sarah Gillooly, PPKM, 913.334.8288

Published: 02.08.12| Updated: 02.08.12


Coalition Criticizes Continued Assault on Women’s Health

Brownback & Legislature Once Again Prioritize Politics Over Women’s Health


Topeka, KS — At a joint press conference, a group of non-profit organizations and physicians sharply criticized the Kansas legislature for their continued focus on abortion restriction legislation and outrageous government intrusion into the private medical decisions of Kansas families. Participants included MainStream Coalition, American Civil Liberties Union of Kansas and Western Missouri, Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri, Trust Women, Dr. Herbert Hodes, and Dr. Harry Jonas.

“In 2011, 5 bills limiting access to abortion services and affordable contraception were passed by the Kansas Legislature and signed by Governor Brownback and the legislature spent over 25 public hours on these bills. The state has already spent hundreds of thousands of dollars implementing and defending those laws,” said Gail James, Board Member of Mainstream Coalition. “It’s time for our elected officials to focus on the critical issues facing our State - strong public schools, job creation and a fair tax code.  This divisive social agenda does not reflect the values or priorities of the majority of Kansans."

“Our lawmakers, Governor Brownback and members of the legislature, including Rep. Lance Kinzer (R-Olathe), who authored this bill, are ignoring the serious issues facing our state – jobs, the economy and education – while spending an extraordinary amount of time and taxpayer money writing and working to pass a sweeping, meddlesome 68 page bill to interfere with women’s access to medical care and intrude into the personal decisions of Kansas families,” added Virginia Phillips of Trust Women.

Dr. Herbert Hodes, an OBGYN physician in Overland Park, in practice for 37 years, noted, “It is important for Women’s Health to be continuously improved based on scientific advancements. Doctors – not Governor Brownback and Rep. Kinzer– should decide what information and care is best for the patient’s circumstances. Politicians like Rep. Kinzer should not be interfering in personal, private medical decisions that should be left to a woman and her doctor.”

“Over 90% of what Planned Parenthood does in Kansas and across the country is preventive – providing life-saving cancer screenings, affordable birth control, prevention and treatment of STDs, breast health services, pap tests, sexual health education, information and health counseling. 1 in 5 women have turned to Planned Parenthood at some time in their lives for high-quality, affordable, non-judgmental care. Planned Parenthood works every day to reduce the number of unintended pregnancies and keep women and families healthy. Creating a tax penalty on Planned Parenthood, their patients, and their donors and banning Planned Parenthood from providing education services to students is truly a political attack on women’s health. It is outrageous. Kansans are tired of the legislature putting politics over women’s health,” said Dr. Harry Jonas, OBGYN and Past-President of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

The group spoke in the Statehouse prior to the hearing of HB 2598 before the House Committee on Federal & State Affairs. HB 2598 is a 68-page sweeping overhaul of the state’s abortion restriction statutes. Among many other provisions, the bill: creates 12 new income and property taxes for Kansas families; requires physicians to provide medically inaccurate misinformation to women; bans doctors and nurses from volunteering at their child’s school in any capacity; and effectively strips Planned Parenthood and other charitable organizations of their state non-profit tax status. However, the coalition criticized not only HB 2598, but the misplaced priorities of the legislature demonstrated by the extraordinary amount of time and taxpayer dollars spent on the issue including the three other abortion restriction bills filed in 2012 and the five bills signed into law in 2011.

“Kansans expect our legislators to address school financing, the Governor’s Medicaid overhaul, redistricting, and the budget and unemployment crisis – not legislate medicine. Kansans expect our elected officials to stop putting politics before women’s health,” concluded Sarah Gillooly of Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri.


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