Gov. Sam Brownback asked Kansans to provide suggestions to rid the state of laws that are “unreasonable, unduly burdensome, duplicative, onerous or conflicting.” In response, this week my organization is delivering nearly 600 petitions to the governor’s Office of the Repealer. These are nearly 600 petitions that support overturning laws that are not only burdensome but also unnecessary.
They are also punitive to the women of Kansas in their greatest hour of need.
These laws include the Woman’s Right to Know Act, which subjects a woman who seeks an abortion to an unnecessary waiting period and requires a physician to offer to show her a sonogram of the fetus, as well as to listen to the fetal heartbeat. There is also the pre-viability ban on abortions, which illegally undermined the U.S. Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision by making abortions illegal in the state of Kansas at 22 weeks, with no exception for the health of the woman or severe fetal abnormalities. The Omnibus Abortion Restriction Bill, which is repetitive and unnecessary, creates a double parental consent law for minors that disregards their health and safety.
Others are duplicative of federal legislation and are in serious conflict with women’s ability to control their reproductive choices.
In Kansas and across the United States, women must travel hundreds of miles in order to obtain basic reproductive health care. That’s why we call these laws burdensome – they place a heavy emotional, financial and physical burden on women, forcing them to take time off from work and time away from their families to travel much farther than should be necessary for basic medical care. If these targeted regulations against abortion providers, or TRAP laws, continue to pass and the courts cannot protect us, access for women will get much worse.
Through the Office of the Repealer, Brownback’s administration has an opportunity to take a long, hard look at the kind of hurdles and obstacles that women and their families must maneuver through in order to access basic medical care. By contacting and petitioning the Office of the Repealer, we, the citizens of Kansas, can tell our state government that we will not stand idly by and watch women and families suffer for the sake of political gain – gain at the expense of women’s time and economic security and potentially even their very lives.