Kansas GOP Wants to Tax Women for Abortion and Lie to Them [updated]

On Monday, the Kansas House Federal and State Affairs Committee will continue discussing a bill similar to the one  the Arizona Senate passed, which allows doctors to withhold from pregnant women prenatal information because it “might lead to abortion.”  But of course, the Kansas bill is worse.

Much worse.

As with the Arizona bill, the Kansas bill prohibits malpractice suits should the woman or child develop health complications as a result of withholding prenatal information.

The bill also forces women to purchase special abortion insurance (Kansas already passed legislation that removed abortions from health insurance plans), and levies a 6.3% sales tax on women who get an abortionincluding rape victims.

I know! But it gets worse.  

The bill also requires doctors to tell women who want to terminate a pregnancy that abortion causes breast cancer, a bullshit claim that has been thoroughly debunked.

Also, too, the bill prohibits state employees from performing abortions on the job.  The likely unintended result of this doozy is that the portion state’s OB/GYN medical residency program which requires abortion training would be rendered illegal, thus potential screwing up the accreditation process.

And of course, the bill requires that women get a potentially medically unnecessary ultrasound… and pay for it.

So, not only is Kansas withholding information from pregnant women — despite all the Forced Birth talky-talk that ultrasound bills and the like are about “knowledge” and “informed consent” — but Kansas is actively telling women bad information and preventing doctors from, you know, learning how to be good doctors.

Cognitive dissonance!  Party of GOP!

Governor Brownback claimed last month that he has not read the bill, but that he will sign it because he is “pro-life.”  Contact him.

The Kansas abortion bill is one of the worst in the country. (You can read it here.)

[I have not yet read this bill.  Most of this information comes from reporting by HuffPo’s John Celocek.  If anyone is keeping track or would like to help keep track of the goings-on in Kansas, please let me know. The HuffPo links are pretty much unavoidable at this point. -ABLxx]

UPDATE: Raw Story has a much better summary of the bill:

Massive in scope, H.B. 2598 includes provisions being considered in other states as well, likeoffering doctors immunity from malpractice lawsuits if they do not inform expectant mothers of prenatal health problems that could lead to an abortion; a removal of important tax credits provided to most healthcare institutions; requiring doctors to lie to patients by claiming that abortions may cause breast cancer; forcing women to hear the heartbeat of their fetus before an abortion; and even prohibiting state employees from contributing to the teaching of basic sexual health facts.

The sales tax, however — an innocuous-sounding 6.5 percent — is layered, effectively making it a repeating tax on every service rendered, every product purchased and every sale made in furtherance of an abortion. It also strips certain tax credits for companies that do business with women’s health providers, making such requests a potentially costly proposition.

“This is a complete turnaround in this idea of small government,” Elizabeth Nash, state issues manager for the Guttmacher Institute, told Raw Story. “Somebody spent hours, if not days, combing through the entire Kansas tax code to find every spot where you could possibly prevent abortion providers from being a non-profit healthcare provider. It’s really amazing. The bill is 68 pages long. Somebody spent days trying to figure out how to manipulate the tax code to disqualify abortion providers. That is a level above and beyond what we have ever seen.”

For individual women, it means financial penalties if a pregnancy must be terminated. The laws could also drive up the cost of abortions in the state, putting them out of reach for lower-income women. It could also make late term abortions to save the life of a mother, which can run up to $20,000, wholly cost prohibitive, even for middle class women.

Worse still, the bill’s prohibitions on teaching medical students how to perform abortions could even prevent Kansas public universities from producing licensed gynecologists – doctors who do much more than just facilitate the end of a pregnancy.

[cross-posted at ABLC]






71 replies
  1. 1
    JC says:

    Where is this crap coming from? All of these laws, introduced at the same time?

    There was ALEC, that was the leading light, distributing the laws and policies to the wingers, as regarding taking down labor.

    These policy wars on women – these policy sheets must be originating from somewhere, right?

  2. 2
    Lee says:

    @JC: I had the exact same thought.

    Think the Bishops are doing it?

  3. 3
    jnfr says:

    Shoot, I read somewhere about the anti-abortion group who was writing all the similar bills, but I can’t find the link now. There is a group behind it. Maybe someone downthread will remember better than I do.

  4. 4
    harlana says:

    @JC:

    1) they are p*ssed that Bush did not ban abortion while in office like they thought he would.
    2) they know the republican party is on it’s way out and they are trying to get as much legislation against abortion and women’s rights passed as possible before it’s all over

    the desperation of the christianists and the right wing – they are running out of time and they know it

  5. 5
    rea says:

    Kansas Dcotor: You aren’t pregnanat. You have a cyst.

    Patient: Oh, no!

    [months later]

    Kansas Dcotor: Congratulations on your new baby!

    Patient: But, but . . . I came to the hospital to have my cyst removed!

    Kansas Doctor: Well, yeah, that’s what I told you . . . couldn’t take the risk you might get an abortion . . .

  6. 6
    debg says:

    Another day to be sorry I live in Kansas. I don’t think contacting Brownback will help, sadly–he’s not just stubborn but stupid, smug, and stubborn.

  7. 7
    JC says:

    @harlana: I think this has a lot of truth in it. Right now, it looks like Obama is going to be elected, and if the trends hold forth, the country from a social perspective, is going to get less white, less conservative. So getting this all rammed through as quickly as possible, is essential to the plan.

    Still wonder what is the ‘ALEC group’ on these social issues though.

  8. 8
    Mark S. says:

    The bill also requires doctors to tell women who want to terminate a pregnancy that abortion causes breast cancer, a bullshit claim that has been thoroughly debunked.

    Shouldn’t doctors be raising hell about that? The AMA? Or do they just care about money? Cause that’s the only thing that seems to get them pissed off.

  9. 9
    crosspalms says:

    Charles Pierce at Esquire linked to this piece about Americans United for Life.

  10. 10
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    Image the first woman that dies because the doctor withheld information and the woman was not going to get an abortion.

  11. 11
    millekat says:

    What puzzles me is, where are all the doctors on this? Shouldn’t there be some blowback from physicians who object to all this meddling, contra their professional ethics?

    Not to mention the implied slander of their professional ethics. What sane physicians would lie to his patients?

    If a doc wants to not do abortions, he/she can say “No.”

    Is there an ethical physician left in Kansas…?

    Oh, wait.

  12. 12
    Egg Berry says:

    Also, too, the bill prohibits state employees from performing abortions on the job.

    So no abortions at the DMV during the driving test? Damn.

  13. 13
    cmorenc says:

    The proponents of these laws clearly expect them to soon make their way up to SCOTUS, and they hopefully anticipate a 5-4 radical-conservative majority will use a consolidated suite of such controversies to at the very least, carve out an enormous erosion of Roe v Wade that whittles it down to a shriveled nub, even if not by an outright overruling of it. My educated guess is that although they will not succeed in getting even a thin majority of the court to outright overrule it the way Scalia and Thomas clearly want, what they will succeed with is getting the concept of what is not considered an “undue burden” on the right (a phrase crafted by Sandra Day O’Connor while she was on the Court) radically extended. The conservative wing will duly note that although abortion remains a right, the state has a right to take measures to promote its own pro-life policies to discourage it. You’ll have five old men lecturing the two women on the court who will be in sharp dissent that somehow vaginal ultrasounds are not an “undue burden” on women, and the jackass blowhards will lose all credibility and respect with a majority of women in this country who are not extreme forced birthers.

  14. 14
    Steve S says:

    The bill also forces women to purchase special abortion insurance

    Really? Even nuns? Even the post-menopausal?

    How bizarre.

  15. 15
    Bondo says:

    I’m hearing mixed things about what the Arizona bill actually does. I’m against all legislation that takes determining fault out of the hands of the courts, but it is possible the legislation is being misrepresented. Apparently the Arizona bill does not protect doctors who intentionally or negligently withhold information. Sometimes it is harmful to the cause to fly out ahead of something before understanding it fully.

  16. 16

    When it comes to anti abortion nuttery, few states can match Kansas in that department. In their favor they also don’t have a death penalty, but are bugfuck crazy when it comes to schemes to shut down any and all abortions in their state. Up to and including murder of abortion providers.

    Governor Brownback claimed last month that he has not read the bill, but that he will sign it because he is “pro-life.”

    And Brownback is a fucking pro life loon, and an all around all purpose loon, to boot. I swear, If it wasn’t for the fact these heinous state laws could spread if not fought tooth and nail, I would say just let Kansas be Kansas. As few abortions occur there now, I suspect, like any number of other states that don’t want abortions performed. But then there would be no doubt young women that would end up dying as a result, and I can’t support that. If the wingnut SCOTUS turns the issue back to the states, that will be that, and they can deal with the social cost and tragedies that will certainly ensue, like that were commonplace pre Roe.

  17. 17
    ABL 2.0 says:

    @Steve S: i was a bit unclear. it forces women who think they might want an abortion to purchase an abortion ryder.

  18. 18
    Karen says:

    @Belafon (formerly anonevent):

    Since a woman is now nothing but a living incubator, who cares if she dies? After all, the only important thing is that the baby lived.

    The poor baby will find out in time that it’s life is worth nothing if they’re a girl until she’s knocked up.

    And the boys? The more girls they knock up, the better.

  19. 19
    millekat says:

    Shouldn’t doctors be raising hell about that?

    I wondered about that, too. WTF…shouldn’t physicians be a little bit ticked off about this meddling. Not to mention the implied slander of their professional ethics.

    If a doc does not want to do abortion, he/she has the option of saying “No.” Is that suddenly too stressful for your average wingnut physician?

  20. 20
    Persia says:

    @debg: Angry letters to the editor?

  21. 21
    rlrr says:

    The bill also forces women to purchase special abortion insurance.

    In other words, a government mandate.

  22. 22
    Disco says:

    Ordinarily I would assail the Democrats for not making political hay out of this bullshit. But at this point I don’t see how they could possibly keep up with it. It seems every day there is some proposal that is even more extreme than what we heard the day before.

  23. 23
    Egg Berry says:

    @General Stuck (Bravo Nope Zero): It isn’t only women who want an abortion who end up dying because of Kansas crazy. Dr. Tiller was gunned down there.

    (edited for clarity)

  24. 24
    nickgb says:

    From the statutory info online, it also appears the bill already went through the Senate and was passed unanimously. Am I reading that wrong?

  25. 25
    beltane says:

    Why don’t they just take the next logical step and require that all female of childbearing age be kept in a cage where they can be impregnated at the whim of the state. No need for prenatal care: women who are proficient breeders will produce healthy offspring with minimal medical assistance (After all, do rats and mice require obstetric care?) while those women who cannot safely produce healthy offspring are not really worse the expense of keeping them alive anyway.

    Puppy mill bitches are all we are to the pro-lifers. The female pro-lifers are especially enraged by those women who have the temerity to think they are human.

  26. 26
    Enhanced Voting Techniques says:

    Just wow, the Right has moved from hippie punching to gang rape.

  27. 27
    canuckistani says:

    Why are people not voting with their feet and getting the hell out of these pestholes?

  28. 28

    @Egg Berry:

    Yes, I know, as I state, ‘including murder of abortion providers’. But letting states decide the issue, that would not have happened, as there would be no legal abortion in Kansas. And no need for a Dr. Tillman to get gunned down. And no need for these awful debasing to women laws with the ugly hoops to jump through to get an abortion. They are never going to stop, ever, with shit like this.

  29. 29
    Richard says:

    @jnfr:

    Shoot, I read somewhere about the anti-abortion group who was writing all the similar bills, but I can’t find the link now. There is a group behind it. Maybe someone downthread will remember better than I do.

    For the life of me, I can’t find it now, but I believe that Talking Points Memo recently had a story about that. As I recall, the story mentioned that someone had run the text of the abortion bills of thirteen or so different states through a computer program that searched for similarities in the wording and text. What they found was that the bills in question all seemed to be taking their language from the website of a single anti-abortion group.

  30. 30
    eric says:

    I cannot see how withholding info passes the undue burden test….sure there are 4 votes, but i cannot see 5 for that…btw, there is no bigger issue at stake right now that the right to appoint the Supremes. Period, end of story. I dont care how corporatist or centrist you think Obama is, there is no way that anyone other than he should be making appoints for the next five years. these folks have decided to go all in with a low pair.

  31. 31
    WyldPirate says:

    This is why I keep saying it is stupid to think Dems are winning the war to protect women from the excesses of the religious right by crowing about “victories” like forcing the VA governor to back down on transvaginal ultrasounds.

    The Rethugs have done untold damage at the state level on all sorts of fronts over the last few years. They are winning the battles almost across the board and doing damage in mere 2-year legislative terms that will take decades to reverse (if they can be reversed at all).

  32. 32
    bemused says:

    These are very sick people. Only the most sadistic of the insane could dream up this stuff. I bet they tortured small critters when they were children…and then extorted ransom from families trying to find their pets.

  33. 33
    beltane says:

    @Egg Berry: But at least DMV workers can still perform abortions as a side gig. That’s good to know.

  34. 34
    Karen says:

    I figure the next thing in these states will be that men will be the only ones who can decide the political party they belong to and women can only be in the party of their husband or their father. And if they have neither, they lose the right to vote. After all, these states are trying to undo the Voting Rights Act, it’s logical that sufferage would be next. Though since it’s still the law of the land that women have the right to vote, they’d just pass a law where doctors suddenly give the women a diagnosis of estrogen derangement, where the presence of estrogen or a xx chromosome makes them too unstable to be trusted with the importance of voting.

    Hey if they can lie about breast cancer, why not lie about that?

  35. 35

    […] at BJ, Kay posts some details on a Kansas bill that is far worse than the Arizona bill we’ve been talking about: As with the Arizona bill, the Kansas bill prohibits malpractice […]

  36. 36
    Karen says:

    @WyldPirate:

    And when the Obama hating left stays home again, that will just ensure that more of these demons will be voted in until they own the Senate, the House of Representatives and the White House.

  37. 37
    Ash Can says:

    Count me among those who are wondering where in hell are all the doctors on this. Regardless of how male the AMA leadership is, I can’t imagine the rank-and-file physicians being the least bit pleased with the state government dictating to them how they are to do their jobs, especially when it requires them to promulgate bogus information. My only possible guess is that they’re all afraid that if they speak out, they’ll get gunned down too.

  38. 38
    harlana says:

    @Ash Can:

    Count me among those who are wondering where in hell are all the doctors

    YES

    for that matter, where are the moderate religious leaders?

  39. 39
    RD says:

    @WyldPirate:

    Gee, a left winger with a score to settle.

    How novel.

  40. 40
    singfoom says:

    I’m originally from Kansas and it always makes me despair when I hear about how they’ve gone farther and farther in their war on women.

    My favorite part about it was the guy who would stand outside of Tillers clinic (this is years ago) with his two small children, holding angry anti-abortion signs. The police cited him multiple times for child endangerment since he was standing outside in 20 degree temperatures with his little boys.

    Unfortunately, due to the electorate in Kansas, I don’t see this changing any time soon.

  41. 41
    Scott says:

    @WyldPirate: Yes, but you think everything is a loss for Democrats.

  42. 42
    What Have The Romans Ever Done for Us? (formerly MarkJ) says:

    Those liberals! They keep injecting contraception into the Presidential campaign because they know it’s a loser for Republicans!

    Seriously last week they’re claiming that all the talk of lady part business is being pushed by Democrats. It’s getting awfully easy to develop the mistaken opinion that conservatives are the ones who keep bringing this stuff into the public discourse.

  43. 43
    scav says:

    @Karen: Oh, but clearly, if they were winning in places when people weren’t paying attention, it is inevitable that they will continue to win Everywhere when people are paying attention, because there is No Such Thing As Dead Air On Rush Limbaugh.

    Examine font carefully for the sans serif of sarcasm(tm)
    ETA: Sorry, had to reach for the serif of sarcasm(tm).

  44. 44
    Nellie in NZ says:

    @canuckistani:

    Left Kansas. Left the United States.

  45. 45
    Spadizzly says:

    Bleeding Kansas updated for the 21st century.

  46. 46
    Karen says:

    @scav:

    The question is, now that everyone is paying attention, what will be done about it.

  47. 47
    CA Doc says:

    Where are the doctors? American College of OB/GYN made public statements against the Blunt amendment, but sometimes the structure of these national organizations make them less nimble about confronting these atrocities on the state level. My own specialty organization tries to leave the response to state issues to their state chapters, but many chapters have a hard time keeping up. And organized medicine has their own loud 27%ers, trying hard to undermine what ought to be a loud unified outcry against this stuff.

  48. 48
    scav says:

    @Karen: That’s always the question and it’s a lot easier to destroy things than build them. I’m pretty sure we can rule out going limp and giving up as the plan du choix. Pay attention, don’t forget, document and broadcast information so that trends can be noticed, vote and encourage same in others is bare minimum. Beyond that is a bit out of my paygrade. I can build you a database and wave dangerous rusty objects. give me enough searoom and I can rant.

  49. 49
    Dave says:

    Well, how much can you do to hold back the idiocy in Kansas when the citizens of Kansas insist on electing these people over and over again? Bills like these are horrendous and disgusting. But there was a reason they named a book on ignorant voting after Kansas.

  50. 50
    Ash Can says:

    @CA Doc: Thanks for chiming in. It sounds like the various organizations are basically failing you physicians in this regard. That’s a real shame.

  51. 51
    scav says:

    @Dave: The canary in a coal mine generally dies, especially if it insists on huffing fumes. Keeping an eye on their latest method of self-harm can serve up clues to watch for in states less extreme.

  52. 52
    Egg Berry says:

    @General Stuck (Bravo Nope Zero): eek, i read right past that part in the original. sorry.

  53. 53
  54. 54
    Smiling Mortician says:

    @JC: IIRC, Rachel Maddow had a segment several months back linking a bunch of this draconian state legislation to Phill Kline (former AG of Kansas and miserable excuse for a human).

  55. 55
    CA Doc says:

    @Ash Can Actually there are a lot of reasons to be hopeful..organized medicine is getting younger, less male and less white slowly but surely. My own group got all kinds of grief for supporting the ACA, but lo and behold we actually gained members when the dust settled.
    One of these days we’ll get to the point where we can confront our internal politics around abortion. To me, these proposed laws are the start of a slippery slope around politics dictating science, and we physicians really should be able to oppose them no matter how we personally feel about abortion.

  56. 56
    daveNYC says:

    This isn’t the worst abortion bill. It’s just the worst abortion bill yet. By next week these wankers will have come up with something even worse.

  57. 57
    evinfuilt says:

    It seems next weeks Doonsebury comic mocking this doesn’t go for enough. This is bat—- insane.

  58. 58
    Clime Acts says:

    @debg:

    Another day to be sorry I live in Kansas.

    I was born and spent most of my life there til I finally got out at 38.

    BUT my ex wife and all three kids, who are all progressive, remain. I just sent them the link to ABL’s post here and asked if they are aware of all this.

    All attended/are attending KU in Lawrence in Douglas County, the one and only reliably Blue county in that sea of Red stupidity.

  59. 59
    rea says:

    Wait a second. Haven’t many of these Kansas politicians signed the oath to Grover Norquist never, never to raise taxes under any circumstances, no exceptions? Where is Americans for Tax Reform when you need it?

  60. 60
    Clime Acts says:

    @General Stuck (Bravo Nope Zero):

    And Brownback is a fucking pro life loon, and an all around all purpose loon, to boot.

    For once I agree with you, Stuck. But how weird is it that the governor of kansas before Bareback, I mean Brownback, was Kathleen Sebelius?

  61. 61
    Clime Acts says:

    @Disco:

    Ordinarily I would assail the Democrats for not making political hay out of this bullshit. But at this point I don’t see how they could possibly keep up with it. It seems every day there is some proposal that is even more extreme than what we heard the day before.

    Yeah, those poor Dems. Always so mysteriously behind the curve. Fail.

  62. 62
    Clime Acts says:

    @Karen:

    And when the Obama hating left stays home again, that will just ensure that more of these demons will be voted in until they own the Senate, the House of Representatives and the White House.

    So Karen, one would think that perhaps Obama and the Dems should maybe DO something that would prevent that. Just a thought.

    I know it pleases you to think real liberals and progressives “hate” Obama because you want to pretend it’s personal which it’s not. The truth is they would turn back to him in a heartbeat if he made a concerted effort to live up to promises and rhetoric, at least in the case of INTENTION.

    Also, too, and furthermore: I dragged myself to the polls here Tuesday and voted FOR President Obama, whom you claim I hate, in the primary. Quit being so childish.

  63. 63
    cermet says:

    Kanass (sic) was taken over by corporate farming long ago – only entitled thugs really control the insane state of Kanass (sic) and the poor peons that aren’t the 1% can suck on it. Amerika – home of the corporate human and whore warehouse for the working middle class poor.

  64. 64
    TenguPhule says:

    Can we evacuate the sane people from Kansas and bomb the rest to the Stone age?

    Not that it would take much bombing….

  65. 65
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @scav:

    The serif is a ni-CLANG!

  66. 66
    Clime Acts says:

    @TenguPhule:

    Please spare Lawrence.

    One of the best college towns in America.

  67. 67

    @Clime Acts:

    The truth is they would turn back to him in a heartbeat if he made a concerted effort to live up to promises and rhetoric, at least in the case of INTENTION.

    The truth is they are but a tiny sliver of the dem base, though louder than their numbers. Obama has maintained record approval from all dems throughout the past 3 years, especially those that self identify as liberal.

    The only time I get annoyed with these folks of the fringe is when they get themselves on teevee claiming to represent more than the handful of folks they actually do represent. Or turn up here claiming the same. And that folks like moi are just not very good liberals, and may even be republicans, when the entire argument is not about ideology, but process and reality of governing and politics in a democracy, in general.

  68. 68
    pseudonymous in nc says:

    @Richard:

    What they found was that the bills in question all seemed to be taking their language from the website of a single anti-abortion group.

    No shit, Sherlock. I’d guess that most GOP state legislators can’t read or write. They just take what comes out of the red fax machine every morning and give it to an intern.

    …and here’s Charmaine YeastInfection’s Big Book Of Mad Lib Laws. States’ rights, in practice, means that dumbfucks copy whatever’s sent by wingnut welfare shops in DC.

  69. 69
    Debbie(aussie) says:

    Is it fair to say that US state govt’s the GOP and y many of citizens have ‘jumped the f-ing shark’, with this. It is truly unbelievable. We have a few wingnots and religous fundies, but this sort of stuff is so far out there it relly boggles the mind. Talk about hating women. I would highly recommend the Lysitrata offensive.

  70. 70
    slightly_peeved says:

    So Karen, one would think that perhaps Obama and the Dems should maybe DO something that would prevent that. Just a thought.

    What, like mandate that all health insurers cover birth control? Like he did in the ACA, and led to a whole lot of this Republican backlash?

    Funnily enough, Obama can’t actually do anything about laws that are still in the process of progressing through state legislatures. What he could do, maybe, is institute a U.S. wide healthcare system that mandates that insurers cover certain treatments, and does so at the federal level. Which he did, in that bill that the angry left wanted killed.

    If there’s one thing that the left shouldn’t be bitching about with regard to Obama, it’s his efforts to improve healthcare access for women. They are unprecedented, and his support of this area has been unwavering. Republicans acting like jackholes from the 1200s? Blame Republicans.

  71. 71
    Gretchen says:

    @Clime Acts:
    And Johnson and Wyandotte counties. Sure, we’re not as reliable as Lawrence, but most of the folks I know here are progressives, and we all have kids. Lot of evangelicals as counterweight, but we’re here.

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