With nearly $500,000 in Kansas taxpayer funds spent in the last year on the legal defense of anti-choice laws, you would think that the Kansas legislature would want to take it easy this year.
Well, they are, if by “taking it easy” you mean not trying to ban the procedure all together, or push through an obvious Roe v. Wade challenge.
No, instead they will just make it incrementally harder to get an abortion, and even birth control, by adding more roadblocks and potential funding problems into the mix.
Anti-abortion leaders in the Republican-controlled Legislature said they plan to strengthen legal protections for physicians, pharmacists and other health care professionals who don’t want to participate in abortions or dispense abortion-inducing drugs. They hope to prevent even indirect taxpayer support for abortions and to add new requirements to a law spelling out what information doctors must provide to women seeking abortions.
Some abortion opponents anticipate interest in trying to prohibit abortion after the first detectable fetal heartbeat, as early as the sixth week of pregnancy, or banning abortion altogether through a “personhood” measure declaring that life begins when an egg is fertilized. But leading anti-abortion legislators and Kansans for Life, the group with the most visible presence at the Statehouse, want to concentrate on proposals that are far more likely to pass and making measurable gains that stand.
“This is like a good ground game in football,” said Mary Kay Culp, executive director of Kansans for Life, discussing its strategy of pursuing incremental legislative gains. “I don’t believe that we have finished fleshing out every law that we can that is currently constitutional.”
Stronger conscience clauses that can cover pharmacists dispensing birth control, removing tax exemptions on donations if they go to groups that support women’s health, and even more “detailed” information before an abortion? When it comes to “fleshing out,” they plan to leave no stone unturned.