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End of Session Brings Two New Cumbersome, Anti-Womenís Health Laws to Kansas

Contacts
Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri
Sheila Kostas, 913.312.5100 x246

American Civil Liberties Union of Kansas and Western Missouri
Holly Weatherford, 816.756.3113 x234

Published: 06.03.13| Updated: 06.03.13

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 3, 2013                                                                       
 
End of Session Brings Two New Cumbersome, Anti-Women’s Health Laws to Kansas
 
Overland Park, KS— With the long-awaited end of veto session, Kansans have two new anti-women’s health laws on the books.  HB 2253, a 73-page Omnibus Abortion Restriction Bill, and SB 142, “Let Doctors Lie,” were both signed into law earlier this session by Governor Brownback.  Another bill, HB 2324, an early abortion ban, was not re-visited during veto session and will likely become active again next session.  HB 2324 could ban abortion as early as 6 weeks.  The passage of both the Omnibus Abortion Restriction Bill and “Let Doctors Lie,” as well as the introduction of the early abortion ban place Kansas firmly among the states with the most stringent abortion restrictions in the country.  This wave of new restrictions signals that 2013 may have been worse than the record-breaking years of 2011 and 2012 for state legislation limiting access to women’s health care.  Together, Holly Weatherford of the American Civil Liberties Union of Kansas and Western Missouri and Peter Brownlie of Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri stand in opposition to the new anti-women’s health legislation.
 
“With the passage of these new restrictions on women’s health, we have been assured that Governor Brownback and members of the Kansas Legislature have chosen to put politics before the health of Kansas women and families.  A doctor’s political affiliation should not be the concern of Kansans seeking quality, trustworthy medical care; unfortunately, now it will have to be.  Women should be able to trust their doctors and not have to worry that their legislators are standing between them and quality medical care,” said Holly Weatherford, American Civil Liberties Union of Kansas and Western Missouri.
 
“HB 2253 and SB 142 are an embarrassment to Kansas, a roadblock between women and families accessing needed medical care and evidence that politicians should not pretend to be doctors in the Statehouse.  The bottom line is that a woman, not politicians, should make informed decisions when it comes to her own pregnancy,” said Peter Brownlie, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri.  It is a true shame that the cost of legislators  playing doctor will fall on the taxpayers when that money could have been used to improve education, infrastructure and public health.  Nonetheless, Planned Parenthood will continue to be here, providing quality health care no matter what.”
 
Both bills, HB 2253 and SB 142 will go into effect July 2013.  Certain provisions in HB 2253, relating to the tax code, will not go into effect until January 1, 2014.
 
BACKGROUND
 
HB 2253, the Omnibus Abortion Restriction Bill, is a 72-page sweeping overhaul of the state’s abortion restriction statutes containing no fewer than 40 provisions.  Among many problematic provisions, the bill:
  • creates additional government regulations of and intrusion into the doctor/patient relationship;
  • requires physicians to provide medically inaccurate information to women;
  • effectively creates at least 12 new income and property taxes for Kansas families, many of which remain unclear;
  • creates a tax penalty on Planned Parenthood and other charitable organizations while allowing no exceptions in the tax provisions for life, rape, incest or health of the woman; and
  • bans abortions based on sex, a dangerous intrusion in the doctor/patient relationship by requiring doctors to become investigators and patients their suspects.  The world’s leading human rights organizations, including the World Health Organization, also point out that policies like this do not address the social, legal, economic, and political conditions that promote discrimination. 
SB 142, “Let Doctors Lie,” jeopardizes the doctor/patient relationship and incentivizes the omission of critical medical information from conversations between doctors and patients.  The bill:
  • prohibits civil action for a claim of “wrongful birth;” and
  • allows medical practitioners to intentionally withhold information about serious genetic or congenital abnormalities from women in an attempt to influence their decision-making about their pregnancies.

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