Politics & Government

Kansas senator compares long-term contraceptive use to eugenics

Kansas state Sens. Julia Lynn, left, an Olathe Republican, and Mary Pilcher-Cook, right, a Shawnee Republican, converse in the House chamber as state representatives debate an anti-abortion bill in 2012 in Topeka, Kan. Both senators strongly oppose abortion. This week, during the Kansas Legislature’s 2016 session, Pilcher-Cook opposed an amendment that would have instructed the Kansas Department of Health and Environment to contract with family planning providers to offer long-acting reversible contraceptives, similar to a Colorado initiative that reduced teen pregnancy rates.
Kansas state Sens. Julia Lynn, left, an Olathe Republican, and Mary Pilcher-Cook, right, a Shawnee Republican, converse in the House chamber as state representatives debate an anti-abortion bill in 2012 in Topeka, Kan. Both senators strongly oppose abortion. This week, during the Kansas Legislature’s 2016 session, Pilcher-Cook opposed an amendment that would have instructed the Kansas Department of Health and Environment to contract with family planning providers to offer long-acting reversible contraceptives, similar to a Colorado initiative that reduced teen pregnancy rates. AP

A member of the Kansas Senate compared long-term contraceptives to fascist eugenics during a debate Monday.

Sen. Mary Pilcher-Cook, R-Shawnee, opposed an amendment that would have instructed the Kansas Department of Health and Environment to contract with family planning providers to offer long-acting reversible contraceptives, similar to a Colorado initiative that reduced teen pregnancy rates.

“I think it’s government treading on very dangerous territory,” Pilcher-Cook said. “Because government should not be in the authoritative position of being discriminatory by promoting contraception. These long-acting contraceptions are being recommended by HHS (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services) to target the poor and minority populations. And in the ’30s and ’40s, our country firmly and finally rejected eugenics. Let’s not bring it back.”

Government should not be in the authoritative position of being discriminatory by promoting contraception. … In the ’30s and ’40s, our country firmly and finally rejected eugenics. Let’s not bring it back.

Sen. Mary Pilcher-Cook, R-Shawnee

Eugenics was the practice used by Nazi Germany to prevent people with genetic traits it deemed undesirable from giving birth.

The amendment, offered by Sen. Marci Francisco, D-Lawrence, was defeated.

Elise Higgins, a lobbyist for Planned Parenthood, said in a message that Pilcher-Cook showed that she’s “wildly out of step with most Kansans.”

“The majority of Kansas women of all faiths and races use birth control,” Higgins said. “This is 2016, and every Kansan deserves the ability to plan their family without being condemned by their elected officials.”

The majority of Kansas women of all faiths and races use birth control. This is 2016, and every Kansan deserves the ability to plan their family without being condemned by their elected officials.

Elise Higgins, a lobbyist for Planned Parenthood

The Senate advanced the underlying bill, SB 436. It will establish in statute a tiered structure for how federal Title X funds are distributed, requiring KDHE to distribute the money to public entities, such as the Sedgwick County Health Department, before providing any remaining money to hospitals and health centers that provide family planning services.

Gov. Sam Brownback’s administration has been distributing the funds that way since 2011 as a policy.

Bryan Lowry: 785-296-3006, @BryanLowry3

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