Kansas House Committee Passes Massive Anti-Choice Omnibus Bill

A full 70 pages worth of anti-choice legislation, all bundled into one bill, has made it to the Kansas House for a vote.

Kansas capitol building in Topeka. Nikopoley / Wikimedia Commons

Only in Kansas can lawmakers take 70 pages to say, in essence, “life begins at fertilization.” That’s exactly what they’ve done in HB 2253, which has just passed a state House committee.

According to its accompanying fiscal note, HB 2253 “would enact eight new statutory provisions commonly known as the ‘personhood measure.’ It would declare that the life of each human being begins at fertilization; that unborn children have interests in life, health and well-being that should be protected; and that parents of unborn children have protectable interests in the life, health and well-being of such children. In addition, HB 2253 would provide that, with limited exception, the laws of Kansas shall be interpreted and construed to acknowledge that an unborn child has all the rights, privileges and immunities available to other persons of the state.”

What does that mean in layperson’s terms? It means state lawmakers will have another go at revamping the information that goes into the state’s “informed consent” materials, including a renewed push to say that abortion causes cancer. They will also get a second chance at forcing the University of Kansas School of Medical to stop training doctors on abortion procedures, even though such procedures are often used in miscarriage management.

And it’s a return to the item-by-item tax code-combing that caused Elizabeth Nash, state issues manager at the Guttmacher Institute’s Washington, D.C., office, to tell Raw Story in March 2012 that “[s]omebody spent hours, if not days, combing through the entire Kansas tax code to find every spot where you could possibly prevent abortion providers from being a non-profit healthcare provider. It’s really amazing …. Somebody spent days trying to figure out how to manipulate the tax code to disqualify abortion providers. That is a level above and beyond what we have ever seen.”

Even the lawmakers who wrote the bill admit, in the fiscal note, that the legislation is so sweeping they have no idea what it will cost the state, especially once all the tax details are brought into the picture. “The Kansas Department of Revenue states that no information exists to accurately estimate the amount and number of taxpayers that would be required to add expenses to income, lose credits due to expenses or donations being disallowed, or the amount of sales taxes collected due to the loss of a sales tax exemption. Therefore, the fiscal effect of HB 2253 on state sales and income tax revenues cannot be estimated,” they wrote.

In other words, even they have no idea exactly what impact their new law would have on the state.

“If #ksleg was as meticulous abt healthcare provision in every area as they are abt abortion, we’d be the healthiest state in the US,” tweeted a representative from the Kansas chapter of the National Organization for Women from the committee hearing

The bill will now head for a vote in the full Kansas House.