Kansas approves new law restricting reproductive rights

Kansas approves new law restricting reproductive rights
Kansas approves new law restricting reproductive rights
Associated Press

We talked nearly two weeks ago about legislation in Kansas intended to restrict reproductive rights, and to follow up, the measure was signed into law earlier today (thanks to my colleague Tricia Mckinney for the tip).

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback signed sweeping anti-abortion legislation Friday, giving his state a new law to block tax breaks for abortion providers, ban sex-selection abortions and declare that life begins “at fertilization.” […]

“All human life is sacred. It’s beautiful,” Brownback just before signing the measure during a brief ceremony. “With this, we continue to build this culture of life in our state.”

Supporters of the new law contend it will lessen taxpayers’ entanglement with abortion and declare the state’s intent to protect life at all stages. The measure is not as restrictive as laws enacted this year in North Dakota and Arkansas to ban abortions even early in pregnancy, but abortion rights supporters still believe it will significantly restrict access to abortion services.

The tax law provisions are of interest, because they demonstrate how far Kansas Republicans are hoping to go to avoid even indirect public support for abortion. For example, every health care provider in Kansas does not have to pay sales taxes when making purchases for medical offices, but abortion providers have now been excluded from this benefit – even though they are providing legal health care services.

I suspect a legal challenge to the law is likely, but what makes the Kansas measure especially interesting are provisions from state government that instruct medical professionals as to what they must tell women seeking legal abortions. In this case, according to an NPR report, the law “requires doctors to provide controversial information to patients either seeking or inquiring about an abortion of a link between the procedure and breast cancer.”

Science tells us there is no link between abortion and breast cancer, which would appear to raise a series of problems. For one thing, Kansas state government is deliberately putting politics between physicians and their patients, which practically defines big-government conservatism run amok. For another, Kansas state government is forcing medical professionals to mislead patients against their will, which may even raise First Amendment issues (can policymakers force private citizens to say things they know to be false?).