Kansas House GOP Passes ‘Abortion Conscience’ Bill

Kansas’s war on women marches on.

SB62 immunizes doctors and medical care facilities from liability for refusing to provide any care or prescribe any drug that might lead to abortion if those doctors or medical facilities have a moral objection to abortion or birth control:

TOPEKA, Kan. (WTW) — A bill designed to give Kansas health care providers greater legal protections if they refuse any involvement in abortion moved Wednesday toward passage in the state House, despite concerns that it could lessen access to birth control.


Kansas already has laws that say no person or hospital can be forced to participate in abortions or sterilizations or be penalized for refusing. This year’s measure extends “conscience” protections to health care facilities other than hospitals and says providers couldn’t be required to refer patients for abortion care or to prescribe or dispense abortion-inducing drugs.

The anti-abortion group Kansans for Life is pushing the measure, and Kathy Ostrowski, its legislative director, said the bill is written so that doctors or pharmacists couldn’t be penalized for refusing to provide birth control if they had a reasonable belief that it terminates pregnancies. The proposed protection is broad enough to cover moral objections, she said.

“We have professionals who have religious concerns that are not covered in state law,” Ostrowski said. “They would have some protections from losing their jobs.”

Still, during the House’s debate Wednesday, supporters of the bill suggested that fears of women not being able to obtain birth control bills or other widely used contraceptives were unfounded.

The House Judiciary Committee sponsored the bill; Chairman Lance Kinzer, an Olathe Republican, said he wanted to go further to specifically cover birth control and didn’t. Rep. Jan. Pauls, a Hutchinson Democrat who opposes abortion, said even if some doctors and pharmacists wouldn’t dispense birth control, patients have plenty of choices, including mail-order and Internet pharmacy services.

But Sarah Gillooly, a lobbyist for Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri, said doctors could not only refuse to prescribe birth control, but refuse to help patients find providers who would. Abortion rights advocates also suggested the bill could prevent sexual assault victims from receiving emergency medications to block pregnancies.

We must protect the “religious concerns” of doctors who believe the Hippocratic Oath was less an oath and more a set of guiding principles to be ignored when it is convenient. And if women need birth control, they should just buy it on the internet. Because that’s safe and makes sense. Who cares about the needs of women in Kansas. They shouldn’t have gotten pregnant in the first place.

[cross-posted at ABLC]

35 replies
  1. 1

    […] at Balloon Juice] Angry Black Related Posts:Kansas GOP Wants to Tax Women for Abortion and Lie to Them […]

  2. 2
    HelpThe99ers says:

    It’s ironic that La Bachmann probably said it best herself, when she told Washington to keep your politics out of my healthcare.

    Oh. Sorry. I forget that only applies to men.

  3. 3
    Shari says:

    Let’s not forget the feelings of the check-out clerks either. They shouldn’t be forced to accept money that pays for birth control.

  4. 4
    Yutsano says:

    Oh ABL…how are those sluts going to shame themselves when we just let them go round willy-nilly getting birth control and killing their babies and such? Determinism for women, next thing you’ll tell me a woman can initiate a DIVORCE!! Who ever heard such a notion?


  5. 5
    butler says:

    So if you desire birth control but your employer objects based on their “conscience”, you are supposed to find a job somewhere else.

    But if you take a job where your duties conflict with your personal conscience, you can choose to not do part of your job instead of being encouraged to find another one.

  6. 6
    beltane says:

    What about the consciences of non-Christian conservatives? Do our consciences count, or are we dealing with a situation where some consciences are more equal than others?

  7. 7
    Gin & Tonic says:

    Opening myself up to flaming, but first read the Hippocratic Oath.

    I find “But it may also be within my power to take a life; this awesome responsibility must be faced with great humbleness and awareness of my own frailty. Above all, I must not play at God.” to be thoughtful and profound, and although I am pro-choice, I can see physicians making different choices as well.

  8. 8
    Insomniac says:

    @beltane: Welcome to “Animal Farm: The Reboot”

  9. 9
    debg says:

    I live in Kansas, and I’m absolutely sickened by all this. So thanks for a thoughtful, non-inflammatory post*, ABL.

    *I also love your inflammatory posts, by the way. But for Facebook purposes, for my Kansas “friends,” non-inflammatory works better (I hope). I’m a college professor, and so many of my FB friends are students, former or current.

    Now for my inflammation–Brownback will sign this bill if it gets through the legislature because he’s an even more colossal dick than Santorum. GAAH. It’s a day I hate living in Kansas.

  10. 10
    gaz says:

    Wait… isn’t the GOP the party for deadbeat dads, by deadbeat dads?

    heh. fuckers.

  11. 11
    Hungry Joe says:

    Of all the dystopian futures s-f writers conjured up (in my reading range, anyway), only Margaret Atwood — not a true s-f writer at all — seems to have come close. Did anyone else see this superstition-fueled madness coming?

  12. 12
    porter says:

    How is it that Cole’s Drunk Guy singing Bohemian Rhapsody video post appears on brietbart.com website shortly after he posted it here. Coincidence perhaps but still. Things that make me go hmmmm.

  13. 13
    becca says:

    I have come to believe the kochroaches are ginning up The Second American Civil War.

    It is the logical end of their sociopathy.

  14. 14
    ABL 2.0 says:

    @debg: thanks. that’s actually a helpful critique and i hadn’t thought about it in that way.

  15. 15
    gaz says:

    @Hungry Joe: America has a rich history of superstition, bigotry, and illusory superiority. Vast swaths of american history are shot through with all kinds of batshit crazy magical thinking.

    I don’t know how anyone wouldn’t see it coming, frankly. It happens in our politics maybe at least once every 50 years or so (if not more often).

    We don’t have a reasonable 4th estate anymore though – at least not in any kind of familiar sense – so arguably that much, is new territory – and I think that tends to color our perception, as a whole.

    But on the whole, I think we’ve more or less been here before. Several times.

  16. 16
    LiberalTarian says:

    My daughter went to a talk on women in the Middle East yesterday, and some one asked, “What can we do to help women in the Middle East?”. And the woman said, “Fight for and preserve your rights at home. You rights are in danger, and if you do not stand up, you will lose them.”

    She’s got a point. To give my granddaughter the benefits I enjoyed, I have to make sure they survive.

  17. 17
    Lavocat says:

    Here’s what needs to happen:

    When people come into the ER, they need to fill out whether or not they believe in a woman’s right to choose (and, perhaps, whether they think Obama is Muslim, a Kenyan, etc.).

    If the answer is NO, then, because I have a moral objection to treating anyone who does not believe in a woman’s right to choose, I will REFUSE to treat them and, therefore, need legal protection to do so accordingly.

    Also, I have a moral objection to anyone registered as a Republican. I demand to be able to exercise my right to not only refrain from treating registered Republicans but to be able to simply stand there and watch them die. Hey, it’s MY RIGHT to be able to do this and I demand to be insulated from any legal liability for exericisng my legal rights.

    And, seriously, what a great way to give the old gene pool a good cleaning!

    In for a penny, in for a pound, motherfuckers!

  18. 18
    gaz says:

    @Lavocat: Heh. Cosigned. I have a moral and religious objection to abject stupidity.

  19. 19
    R Johnston says:

    Where are the entirely sensible liberal bills declaring that “Whereas abortion and fertility control are fundamental aspects of women’s health care, necessary to preserving the health of women and their right to be treated as human beings equal to the males of the species, no doctor who refuses to perform abortions, refuses to prescribe birth control, or otherwise refuses to assist his patients in fertility control except as medically contraindicated and documented shall be certified as, allowed to practice as, or advertise as a specialist in obstetrics, gynecology, pediatrics, general practice, or emergency medicine.

    Any doctor in a listed specialty refusing such services to patients shall provide the patient with written documentation detailing the reason such services are medically contraindicated and shall refer the patient to a doctor for a second opinion on the matter unless the patient specifically and in writing declines a referral. The state shall maintain a list of doctors who regularly provide abortions and other fertility control services to their patients and such referral shall be to a doctor from this list who regularly provides the requested service.

    Any doctor in any specialty or general practice who offers a patient medically false information in an effort to dissuade the patient from seeking abortion or other fertility control services shall be permanently barred from practicing medicine in the state and shall be guilty of a felony punishable by up to 5 years in prison and a fine of $100,000.

    Any doctor who refuses to perform an abortion for a patient under emergency conditions shall be guilty of attempted homicide or, if the patient dies, shall be guilty of homicide and shall be punished in accord with the laws regarding attempted homicide and homicide.

    Any pharmacist who refuses to dispense legally prescribed medication shall be permanently barred from operating as a pharmacist in the state. The state shall maintain a list of commonly prescribed fertility control drugs and shall require pharmacies to stock such drugs or maintain written referral agreements with pharmacies carrying such drugs that are no more than one mile distant so that such drugs can be dispensed promptly in accordance with legal prescriptions. Any referral agreement under this provision shall be prominently displayed at the entrance to the pharmacy and at any location within the pharmacy where prescriptions may be dropped off or picked up.”

  20. 20
    beth says:

    Are we getting to a point where we need to not only march in the streets but adopt some of the pro-life tactics? Will there be a day soon when we have a directory of all the doctors and medical providers who have objections to birth control/abortion and we start protesting outside their offices and hospitals? I’m really starting to think that may be the only way we can actually do something about this. I hate those tactics but I’m just so sick of this shit. Maybe we should make their patients run the same gauntlet of protesters that abortion seekers have to.

    Mostly I’m just pissed that they’ve even made me consider doing something as shitty as that.

  21. 21
    catclub says:

    Abstinence ‘education’ leads to abortion. I refuse to participate in that.

  22. 22
    sparrow says:

    @Hungry Joe: Not at all. Even a few years ago I remember reading a review of famous dystopias which off-hand mentioned that “Atwood’s rendition is probably the least likely…” I guess we spoke too soon. But maybe the fact that we didn’t even think they would go there is why the went there?

  23. 23
    Barry says:

    @butler: “But if you take a job where your duties conflict with your personal conscience, you can choose to not do part of your job instead of being encouraged to find another one.”

    No, I’m sure that Kansas is a ‘fire at will’ state.

  24. 24
    gaz says:

    @sparrow: You may be on to something. But I don’t know.

    Throughout american history, it’s always the same group of clowns pushing this nonsense. Every 50 years or so somebody beyond the 27%ers finally listens to them, and they take us to hell in a finely crafted hand-basket. We recover, and stay partially immune for the years thereafter – although we never stop the cycle.

    It’s always the same people. With the same backward notions. They are always on the wrong side of history and always refuse to learn from the unintended consequences of magical thinking.

    Part of me thinks you may be right that they “went there” because maybe we thought they wouldn’t. On the other hand, they’ve “went there” before, and I imagine we thought they wouldn’t, but I don’t see why. I mean just look at JBS, see Ralph Reed, see the salem witch trials, etc – shit – this crap goes waay back… There is no excuse for anybody to be surprised really, when you look at it. It’s got plenty of historical precedent.

    I guess the good news is we’ve been here before, and we muddled through it, while the bad news is it will happen again and again and again.

  25. 25
    Mnemosyne says:


    That’s kind of the point, though — by passing these kinds of laws, the state is creating a protected religious class that can’t be fired for not doing their job because of their “conscience,” but it will only apply to people with specific religious beliefs. I find it hard to believe that, say, a Muslim cab driver in Kansas who refused to pick up drunken passengers because s/he found them immoral would be able to keep their job by citing their religious beliefs.

  26. 26
    Groucho48 says:

    @Hungry Joe:

    Heinlein did, in one of his first works…If This Goes On…

    “The story is set in a future theocratic American society, ruled by the latest in a series of “Prophets.” The First Prophet was Nehemiah Scudder, a backwoods preacher turned President (elected in 2012), then dictator (no elections were held in 2016 or later).”

    He even seems to have gotten the timing pretty well, considering this was written in 1940.

  27. 27
    PWL says:

    Well, as someone said, “religious liberty” and “freedom of conscience” now means my right to impose my religious views on you, outside of church, in all activities of life,whether you like it or not.

    Now that’s a definition of “religious liberty” that Osama Bin Laden would’ve been happy with…. l

  28. 28
    gaz says:

    If these people were truly concerned about their occupation placing them in a moral fix, they’d choose some other occupation.

    I can’t be a police officer – because my morals and my faith would interfere with my ability to do the job. No offense to any LEOs – this is strictly a personal thing for me – (and that’s the rub, isn’t it?).

    What they really want, as we all know, is the “freedom” to impose their belief systems on other people.

    It’s always the same game. They need some new material. Seriously. Transparent doesn’t even begin to describe this crap.

  29. 29
    Mr_Gravity says:

    Probably not the best place for this but just so you know – our local representative Matthew Hill (R-Redneckistan) is proposing similar legislation in Tennessee.

    Quizzed about it on local news he suggested it would prevent doctors from flying in from out-of-state to perform abortions. So yeah, we need to keep that from happening.

  30. 30
    Mr_Gravity says:

    Tried to include the link but apparently not holding my mouth right.



  31. 31
    becca says:

    @Gin & Tonic: One really good choice for those MDs, as students, is to not speciialize in women’s va-jay jays.

  32. 32
    becca says:

    @Gin & Tonic: One really good choice for those MDs, as students, is to not speciialize in women’s va-jay jays.

  33. 33
    LiberalTarian says:

    In light of recent numbers coming out about autism, I.e. 1in 88 children and specifically 1 in 53 boys, a gawddamn scary stat, WTF are these people doing about the environmental quality they want all these babies to be born in???

    Maybe I’m an alarmist, but I see perfectly rational people looking at that statistic, getting screened for occurrence and deciding to terminate a pregnancy.

    And I have to ask the GOP, “what are you doing about THAT?”

  34. 34
    Tata says:

    Attention Vagina-Americans,

    Wouldn’t it be fun to move to individual Rednickistans in time to register to vote in these elections? Were I young and footloose again, I could see myself in a band of merry mobile gypsy voter-avengers. Can you?


  35. 35
    Tata says:


    Yes. Medical students with tender feelings can choose to go to dental school.

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