Amendment Confirms Legislature's Conservative Turn

It took just a few days for the Kansas Legislative Leadership to reintroduce their resolution to strip reproductive rights for Kansas women from the Kansas Constitution. They tried last year, and were rebuffed by the Kansas House and Jan Kessinger, a centrist Republican, who voted to keep a woman's medical affairs between her and her doctor and family.

In the 2020 election, the Kansas Legislature got more conservative, and we are seeing that reflected in these first few days of the Legislative Session.

The Amendment

Let's take the amendment, proposed in HCR 5003/SCR 1602, as our example. The amendment explicitly removes from the Kansas Constitution's Bill of Rights the right of a Kansas woman to make her own health care decisions. Instead, it explicitly gives that right to legislators.

Let's be clear about what that means. A mostly conservative, extremely male, very Christian body of elected officials, vanishingly few with any medical credentials, will make reproductive health care decisions for every single Kansas woman.

Let's be clear that this is a political move. The amendment, as currently proposed, would appear on the Primary ballot in 2022. Not this year.

Why? It's not a scheduling issue, as last year they were intent on getting it on last year's Primary ballot. It is a political maneuver, to threaten and cajole legislators, as in 2022 every member of the Kansas House will be up for re-election. Last year, members reported being threatened with being "Primaried" if they did not support the amendment. This is the same. The women and children this amendment supposedly values? They can wait an extra year, sorry.

And let's be clear why we oppose this amendment. Mainstream stands firmly against religious doctrine in public policy. The proponents of this amendment oppose abortion because of their religious beliefs. They will gladly affirm that when asked. And so, this amendment is intended to force a particular religiously-based position on every Kansas woman, regardless of their own religious beliefs. That is not religious freedom, it is religious bigotry.

The Committees

There are two committees holding hearings tomorrow (Friday, January 15, 2021) on these resolutions. The House Federal and State Affairs Committee at 9 am, and the Senate Judiciary Committee at 11 am.

How do these committees stack up on Mainstream's issues, as reflected in our voting scorecards?

The House committee is chaired by Rep. Barker, at *M:21%. As a whole, the committee comes in at 40%, but that is deceptive, as of the 18 members with voting records, there are only six members above 50%, and nine below 10%. Five members are new to the Legislature this year, and have no voting record.

In the Senate committee, it is worse. Led by Sen. Warren at *M:19%, the committee as a whole comes in at 29%. Again, only one member scores above 43%. Two members have no voting records.

And yet...

With a more conservative bent to the chambers, and committees stacked against women's choice, what is to be done? Everything. We will never stop fighting for the rights of our mothers, sisters, and daughters to make decisions about their own health.

Despite the odds against us, Mainstream will be offering testimony tomorrow (virtually at the 9 am hearing) opposing the resolutions, and we urge you to make yourselves heard, too, by sending email to the committee members. Click here.

We can't do it without you.

Thank you for doing more than voting,

Danny Novo
Communications Director

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published this page in Blog 2021-01-14 12:58:52 -0600
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