Kansas House Advances Pro-Life Conscience Protection Bill

State   |   Kathy Ostrowski   |   Mar 29, 2012   |   12:05PM   |   Topeka, KS

The Kansas House gave first round approval for the Healthcare Rights of Protection bill today after one hour’s debate. A recorded vote will take place tomorrow and then further action will be required from the Senate.

This measure was a key objective of the Kansans for Life legislative agenda this year, and this was the first step to passage. Pro-life leader and Judiciary chair, Rep. Lance Kinzer (R-Olathe). was the bill author and spokesman during debate.

Rep. Kinzer said this bill broadened protections already in law for 40 years and would provide additional security to the types of physicians and pharmacists who testified to the judiciary committee on its behalf. In summation, Rep. Kinzer paraphrased the recent judicial ruling upholding a similar law in Arizona:

when it comes to individuals asserting a right to obtain an abortion, abortion-causing drugs or sterilization, it has nowhere ever been legal to force someone else to participate in providing those things.
Speaking in opposition were Reps. Annie Tietze (D-Shawnee), Gail FInney (D-Wichita) and Barbra Bollier (R-Mission Hills). Basically, no matter what hypothetical scenarios they invoked, any bill that weakens the mainstreaming of abortion offends these lawmakers.
If it is a reasonable belief on the part of the pharmacist or other provider that the prescription could also work as an abortifacient, then the law would protect his right to conscience. If the drug or device is purely contraceptive, then the bill is non relevant. By the way, Rep. Bollier was really incorrect to say one cannot obtain emergency contraception online.

In response to Rep. Tietze’s claims that the bill is bad for sexual assault victims, it is also noteworthy that a bill this session heard in the Senate (SB 91) pushing more emergency contraceptive education and endorsement from pharmacists was OPPOSED by the domestic abuse lobby who told both pro-life and pro-choice committee members they were satisfied with the protocols surrounding sexual assault in emergency rooms, even in rural settings. If that group is not persuaded that there is a real threat from conscientious objectors, that is significant.

LifeNews.com Note: Kathy Ostrowski is the legislative director for Kansans for Life, a statewide pro-life group.