Nebraska, my state’s neighbor to the north, passed the fetal pain law based on “science” that was against the findings of the Journal of the American Medical Association. So was I worried when I heard Kansas’ legislature was going to try to pass a similar bill? You bet. This is the state where there’s controversy over evolution, and in some places, intelligent design is a mandatory “scientific” part of a biology lecture. Would I be shocked if the legislature voted for something based on “science” because that “science” went hand-in-hand with their religious beliefs? Of course not!
Before anyone says, “Well, how do you know,” believe me, I do. I was a page at the state legislature three times during high school. I attended the political “debates” that occur before state level elections. My grandparents made sure to get to know the people representing us (not to say that they agree with these people, though), sometimes even having dinner or lunch with them, just to find out the legislators’ ideas. One candidate made a big point in her campaign to show that her opponent had supported pro-choice groups. Many make a huge show of going to church or religious functions when they’re home from Topeka.
My grandfather’s high school English teacher is still alive and well, and she writes for the local newspaper on a regular basis. Around the time of the 2008 presidential election, she noted in the newspaper that if Mickey Mouse were to run as a Republican, he would win more votes in our county than Obama. She felt this was incredibly sad, but believed that it was true. When the votes were tallied, only about 150 of our 2,000 county residents had voted for Obama (keep in mind, Obama’s mother is from Kansas). I think this sentiment applies to the other representatives who, regardless of how they feel or vote, call themselves Democrats. Democrat means liberal, socialist, “bad guy” who want to take money away from the farmers, etc. Republicans are generally the safer choice. Now that’s not to say that all Democrats are one thing and all Republicans are another; we all know better than to feel that way. However, around here, most politicians fall into one category or the other without question.
Luckily, we have a sensible governor. Where Nebraska’s Gov. Heineman readily agreed, Gov. Parkinson said no. To be honest, when President Obama invited Gov. Kathleen Sebelius to his cabinet, I worried about her replacement, but I see now that I had no reason for concern. Gov. Parkinson is doing an excellent job of telling the legislature to be reasonable. I’m so thankful he vetoed the Kansas version of the “fetal pain” bill, as well as telling the legislature that he would NOT join a coalition of states suing the government over the new health care plan.
But what happens in November? What happens when Sen. Brownback runs for governor? He’s a nutcase, as far as I’m concerned, someone who is so narrowly focused on keeping things fanatically and religiously conservative that he has no room for common sense. My stronger opinions aside, he’s on my list of anti-choicers who endanger women’s rights. And what about any new legislators who would be elected? Would they be any different?
Kansas lost Dr. George Tiller to a fanatic with a gun. Now, Kansas women risk losing their rights to fanatics with voting power. Other states face this risk as well if those who stand for choice choose to stay away from the polls on the various election dates. If you believe in choice (whether you live in Kansas or elsewhere), vote appropriately, and please, please, encourage your family and friends to do the same.
After after I wrote this blog and submitted it, Oklahoma’s legislators approved bills requiring a vaginal ultrasound before early abortions. This is an invasive procedure that will be enforced even on rape victims and younger women. Fetal pain laws to our north, vaginal probes to our south, and Right to Life groups have been pushing for fetal “personhood” rights in Colorado for the last several years. Kansas is in danger, real danger, and how long until that danger spreads from the Midwest to other states? We have to speak up louder than ever and not back down under the pressure of loud mouthed politicians because if we don’t, we could be the next Oklahoma or Nebraska.