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Will Kansas Legislators Encourage Doctors to Lie and Deny Sick Women Care?

Illustration of two women back to back embracing their pregnant bodies.
Illustration of two women back to back embracing their pregnant bodies.
Elissa Berger,
Advocacy and Policy Counsel,
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May 11, 2012

The Kansas House passed an unwieldy 70-page bill, chock full of troubling provisions aimed at depriving a woman from receiving accurate information about her pregnancy, preventing her from accessing medical care and punishing health professionals who treat her. We need to make sure the Senate doesn’t do the same.

Here are just a few examples of what this bill would do:

• It would provide legal protection to a doctor who discovers that a baby will be born with a devastating condition and deliberately withholds that information from his patient because he doesn’t want her to seek an abortion. That means a doctor could decide to lie about the results of a woman’s prenatal test so that she won’t have information that she needs to make the best decision for her circumstances.
• The bill attempts to scare women by forcing doctors to tell patients about a supposed link between abortion and breast cancer — a risk that the National Cancer Institute, the American Cancer Society, and other medical experts roundly reject .
• This bill would also require public hospitals to turn away a woman who desperately needs an abortion to prevent serious harm to her health. The extremists pushing this bill would have a hospital tell a very sick woman that she should come back when her pregnancy is about to kill her, even if that risks her future fertility or causes organ failure.
• And there’s a provision that targets workers at women’s health centers that provide abortion care. The bill could prohibit those workers from volunteering at their kids’ school. We’ve seen a lot of bizarre provisions about women’s health care, but this is one of the strangest. Imagine the nurse who helps care for women at the local clinic. When she wants to accompany her son on a class field trip will she be told to stay home unless she quits her job?

This bill is long and sweeping in scope. The Senate refused to rush this bill through the process, but extremists are working to force a vote now. We need to stop this legislation once and for all. You can help — tell Kansas lawmakers to oppose this bill. Will Kansas legislators encourage doctors to lie and deny sick women care? Let’s make sure the answer is “no.”

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