Governor Brownback, It's Time to Stop Playing Doctor
By Sarah Gillooly, Planned Parenthood Advocates of Kansas and Mid-Missouri
Politicians should not play doctor, just as a baker doesn’t teach our kids math and plumbers don’t pave our roads. It’s just as crazy. Case in point? My state of Kansas.
After passing five new state laws restricting women’s access to preventive health care and abortion last year, Governor (“Doctor?”) Sam Brownback and state legislative leaders weren’t done.
Nevermind that so far they haven’t passed a budget, or that Kansas is the only state in the nation that hasn’t finished its redistricting – and, please, let’s just ignore the public statements by the Speaker of the House that the legislature would pass no more abortion bills (especially not after running a more than $600,000 tab on defending the state’s existing anti-women’s health laws).
Yes, Kansans, let’s do our legislators a favor and forget all of that while they get down to the real business at hand: legislative maneuvering to rush though a 70-plus page bill that will require doctors to lie to their patients.
But that’s not all – the bill also uses the tax code so it becomes an attack on Kansan women and families. It would rewrite state tax law to:
• Increase taxes on any health care provider, including Kansas charitable hospitals, that performs even one lifesaving abortion
• Ban corporations from taking tax credits for making charitable donations to Planned Parenthood and other nonprofit health care providers in Kansas
• Impose a tax on educational brochures purchased by nonprofit organizations like Planned Parenthood that will be distributed for free to the public and which are about basic, preventive health issues – HIV/AIDS education and prevention, information on sexually transmitted infections, materials about the importance of annual Pap tests and breast exams, and brochures to help women determine which method of birth control is best for them and their family.
This 71-page bill passed the House this week and is now headed to the Senate for a straight up or down vote. No formal introduction, no hearings, no debate and no opportunities to amend the bill. Nada.
We must stand up for women in Kansas: Tell state lawmakers in Kansas and beyond to stop playing doctor. They need to stop interfering with women's most private medical decisions.