Saturday, March 09, 2013

What's still wrong with Kansas? Conservatives inflicting themselves on the rest of the state. Spoiler.

Kansas. I hate to pick on it. It has it's good qualities.

But it also sometimes makes itself home to some ridiculous politicians, like Governor Brownback. And conservatives like to view it as a testbed for many of their balmy ideas.

One gambit conservatives have been playing across the country has been the childhood classic/irritant "I'm Not Touching You". And the conservative's favorite playmate/victim of this is women and their access to abortion.

So many days of waiting before getting seen. But we aren't touching you! 
Denying access after 30 weeks. But we aren't touching! 
Denying access after 20 weeks. But we aren't touching! 
Denying access after 12 weeks. But we aren't touching! 
Mandatory transvaginal ultrasound probing But they aren't touching! 
...Wait...They're changing the rules. Cheaters!

While conservatives are kept by Roe vs Wade from banning abortion outright. They can throw up hurdles. They can also harass and work to demonize.

Now, they have a new bill working it's way through.

A Kansas House committee passed HB 2253 on Wednesday along party lines, with Republicans pushing the bill through while Democrats opposed it. The bill is a broad spectrum of anti-abortion laws sponsored by GOP state Rep. Lance Kinzer, who is the poster boy for many of the outrageous abortion bills introduced and passed in Kansas these days. Included in the bill are measures declaring that life begins at conception, measures that keep women from deducting the cost of abortion procedures on their tax forms, and measures that affect “information the Kansas Department of Health and Environment distributes on abortion and fetal development,” according to the Topeka Capital-Journal. 

So they want to keep abortion support from getting the tax breaks all other health care gets, and women as well.

It has a further affect.
Much of the debate centered on a portion of the bill that bars anyone associated with an abortion provider from working in a public school. It is meant to prevent districts from contracting with groups like Planned Parenthood to provide sexual education materials, but Rep. Emily Perry, D-Mission, said the bill as written was overly broad.  
"I read this section to prohibit parents from going in and volunteering at their child’s school if they work at a place that provides abortion services,” Perry said. 
Committee Chairman Arlen Siegfreid, R-Olathe, confirmed with a staff attorney that the bill would, for example, prohibit an abortion clinic secretary from "bringing cupcakes" to school for his or her child's birthday party. 
This is the after effect when you rush through law to get extreme results. The Republicans are so eager to bar Planned Parenthood and other honest sources of information and support. They want to isolate.

Though to be fair, Democrats complained, offered an amendment to prevent at least this result, and this led to some republicans agreement. Though it was tweaked by Republicans. It looks like it will allow abortion providers to volunteer at schools. But it also seems to say school workers cannot volunteer at abortion providers. We can't have that, can we, GOP?

And while some Republicans don't want to go the whole hog (leaving some hoof), others are eager to be extreme, laying out the basic trajectory that the party is following.
There was still opposition to the amendment from Rep. Allan Rothlisberg, R-Grandview Plaza, who said he didn't want anyone involved in "killing children or babies" volunteering in public schools in any capacity. 
“If they want to (volunteer) they can find another job that will allow them to do so," Rothlisberg said. "We should have people of integrity and morality teaching our children.” 
Alienation. Ostracism. The favorite toys of the conservatism.

And the GOP of Kansas are now looking at the 12 week bans, and getting very excited. Oh, Kansas.

But that's not all Kansas Republicans are eyeing. They have some great ideas of education and taxes. You see, Republicans have eagerly been cutting the income tax down to nothing. But that means the budget is too big, and something needs to be cut! (How exciting for Republicans!) So, they are going after funds meant to help poorer families send their kids to state schools. Some are saying that they wonder if getting poorer kids and education is a job for government. Shifting from income taxes to sales taxes is important, but education, not so much. But it's not like the Republicans ever show contempt for education, academia, or educated voters.

When they needed a program to go after, it wasn't one that inconvenienced richer Kansas citizens or out-of-staters. They went to the poorest in the state, trying to better themselves. And, sadly, that is what the GOP does. Where do you cut to balance your budget? For Republicans, you slash into education, you slash into hospital funding, you slash into mental health support. And hasn't that benefited us all?

Let me remind Kansas of something. 2014. Over a year until you get your say about these politicians. And you better be sure you're heard at the polls.

And, to remind us all, not that long about the governor of the state was a Democrat. So it shouldn't be an insurmountable effort. Kansas can change it's politics.

No comments: