Kansas state Rep. Barbara Bollier (R-Mission Hills) may be the bravest Republican in the country right now.
The retired anesthesiologist is speaking out against a radical new anti-abortion bill that exempts doctors from medical malpractice suits if they withhold medical information to prevent an abortion and also protects them from malpractice claims if a woman suffers an injury from a pregnancy as a result of information withheld from her to prevent an abortion mandates doctors tell patients. The bill also mandates doctors disclose a link between abortions and breast cancer, even though medical experts have disproved any link.
Oh but that’s not all. The bill also stops health savings account funds from going to the purchase of abortion insurance coverage (a mandatory purchase for women since Kansas has outlawed general insurance coverage of abortions) and contains a fetal pain provision that makes 20 weeks the latest time for an abortion based. Like all other fetal pain provisions this one is supported with debunked science.
Let me put it this way. The science behind this bill is so bad and the over-reach into women’s lives so great that a pro-life Republican is speaking out against this bill, based on the bad science behind it.
There’s really no way to sugar coat this. The bill’s author state Rep. Lance Kinzer (R-Olathe) has no real interest in science or public health for that matter. He’s interested in controlling women’s lives.
Kinzer and his allies, including Gov. Sam Brownback believe it is good public health policy to mandate that doctors withhold health information from women who need an abortion and will shield them from the consequences. And let’s be clear what those consequences are–lawsuits from health injuries that come from a failure to render competent, complete medical advice.
See, medical malpractice claims require an act of negligence, and negligence is simply the failure to exercise reasonable care in carrying out your duties. If withholding relevant medical information from a woman in order to influence her was a reasonable part of a doctor’s duties there would be no need for protection from malpractice claims. The bill, on it’s face, admits its own unreasonableness.
Once that liability shield is established doctors can also be free, and in fact are mandated by this law, to tell a woman a medical lie if she so much as inquires about an abortion.
And in case that wasn’t enough, the bill sticks it to middle-class and poor women by forbidding them to use their own money to purchase abortion riders after legislating that the only way a woman can have insurance covered abortion care is to purchase an abortion rider.
You know the bill is bad when the fetal pain provision is one of the least outrageous provisions.
Oklahoma passed a similar measure but it’s been blocked. Kansas legislators have to know many parts of this bill we be challenged, and that could be part of their point. Any opportunity to create competing rulings on similar issue is an invitation for a path to Supreme Court review.
Kansas lawmakers have been given a whole six days to consider this bill before it starts the committee process and heads to the House of Representatives where it is expected to pass.
Photo from silviadinatale via flickr.