Taking Women's Rights Away

First, thank you to everyone who sent email to their Kansas legislators opposing the amendment to the Kansas Constitution to strip Kansas women of their right to make their own decisions about their health. This amendment explicitly gives that right to legislators.

Here's what has happened so far

There was a joint hearing held Tuesday, Jan 21, to listen to proponents and opponents of the amendment. Opponents, including the Mainstream Coalition, outnumbered proponents twofold. These opponents included women, doctors, nurses, clergy, legislators, and a hundred others. Speakers at the event presented scientific arguments, heartfelt entreaties, rational points, and personal stories.

Then, on Wednesday, both committees passed the amendment to their respective chambers, meaning a floor vote could happen at any time in the Kansas Senate (SCR 1613) or the Kansas House of Representatives (HCR 5019).

Again, it is not too late to let your legislators know where you stand.

If you haven't read the amendment, or followed the coverage, here are a few things you should know.

The implication of "Value Them Both"

The amendment was introduced at a press conference under the name "Value Them Both," as displayed on signs at the unveiling, and the language of the legislation makes clear they claim to value the lives of both "women and babies." The stark hypocrisy of the claim is breathtaking, given the Pro-Life movement's history of devaluing the lives of women in poverty, the situations confronting single mothers, and the agency of women and girls to make their own choices.

But it is the implication that the "other side," in this case the Pro-Choice movement, does not value "both," that we cannot countenance. This is the same argument that has labelled Mainstream as "pro-abortion," which is divisive rhetoric we categorically reject.

Nobody is in favor of abortion. Nobody is "pro-abortion."

There are a thousand ways to reduce the number of unplanned pregnancies without stripping from every woman the right to consult with her loved ones, her faith, and her doctors about an incalculable choice. Accessible family planning. Accurate sex education. Strong public schools. Equal pay for equal work. Affordable, accessible health care. And on and on. Help women. Trust women.

That is how you value both women and children.

The hypocrisy of "Let Kansans Vote"

The other sign held at the unveiling of this amendment said "Let Kansans Vote." The implication is that an amendment, placed before Kansas voters, would reflect the will of the people.

There are two problems with this.

First, the same proponents of this amendment are trying to get it placed on the Primary ballot in August, instead of the General election ballot in November. Primaries have poor turnout, usually only those passionate about some political extreme, and the proponents hope their most passionate voters will overwhelm the opposition. Instead of letting Kansans vote, they hope to let only some Kansans vote, by hiding it in the Primary.

But more importantly, the suggestion here is that Kansans will be allowed to vote on abortion rights. "Let Kansans Vote" on this divisive issue, they say. Why would you take the voice of Kansans away?

In fact, what this amendment would do is take away the voices of Kansas women. It would take a woman's right to make a choice about her life, and put it squarely in the hands of legislators.

There are 165 legislators in the Kansas Legislature. Among them, a handful are doctors. Many are farmers, car dealers, some are teachers, others business people. We don't expect teachers, as much as we love and support them, to make medical decisions about how closely a clinic must be tied to a hospital, or about the safety of an untested "abortion reversal" procedure.

We leave that to doctors, to advise their patients. Unless, as in the case of this amendment, we take the right of those patients away, and hand it to legislators, instead.

Here is the crux

This amendment is seated firmly in a strongly held morality that comes from a place of faith. We applaud people of strong religious belief, religious leaders were among our own founders. But they, and we, do not believe that one person’s faith should be imposed on another person. That is the foundation of the separation of church and state, and of religious freedom, and is why Mainstream has testified against this amendment.

Do more than vote in 2020.

- Danny Novo
  Communications Director

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