May 9th was a victory in Kansas for women, KU medical school, and the practice of medicine. The draconian anti-abortion bill (SB 313) was sent back to the Committee on Federal and State affairs as it was materially changed by the Senate. Among other things, the bill proposed:
- Preventing all doctors at KU medical center from doing abortions while in the State’s employment. Currently no abortions are allowed at KU Medical Center unless the life of the mother is in jeopardy, but this bill would prevent a doctor who worked at KU from performing elective abortions at another facility (it is common practice for doctor to have admitting privileges at other hospitals).
- Preventing residents (OB/GYNs in training) from obtaining abortion training during their work hours. This is in violation of the rules governing accreditation of residencies. The medical school was rightly concerned that this would affect accreditation of the OB/GYN program. If the OB/GYN program lost accreditation, the pool of trainees would dwindle as no one wants to spend 4 years in training and not have that training recognized. Secondly, the medical school would risk losing accreditation as an accredited OB/GYN training program is a requirement. KU is the only medical school in the state.
- Providing false medical information to women seeking abortion. And I quote: “A description of risks related to the proposed abortion method, including risk of premature birth in future pregnancies, risk of breast cancer.” Abortion is neither a risk factor for premature delivery nor for breast cancer. In what foul perversion of medicine is a doctor required to give false information to a patient at the behest of the government?
- Defining life as begining at fertilization (i.e. a personhood bill). Per SB 313, “The term “human being” means an individual living member of the species of homo sapiens, including the unborn human being during the entire embryonic and fetal ages from fertilization to full gestation.”
- That all women seeking an abortion be provided with pages of misleading material about the development of an embryo/fetus. There is mention of movement and taste buds and it is all written to sound as if a 14 week fetus is like a baby joey that could hop out of the pouch at any time, go for a walk, and then hop right back in. There is no mention of the fact that everything a fetus does before 24 weeks is reflexive, not purposeful or conscious. In addition, there is no evidence that suggests educational materials impact a woman’s decision to have an abortion so the purpose of these materials is anything but educational.
Those are just the “highlights” of the bill. There are many other aspects that are unscientific, punitive and just plain ridiculous.
It appears the bill went back to committee over the residency training component. While that is a very important point, it is easily removed. Given the political scene in Kansas it would not be surprising at all to see this bill re-emerge at some point with the false medical information and the personhood language intact.
I want to put the personhood amendment aside and focus on the medical misinformation and affecting residency training. Make no mistake about it, these bills represent the intrusion of government into the practice of medicine. Ask yourself, if the government can require that doctors not receive certain training and provide false information about abortion, what is to stop them from enacting legislation that mandates false information about contraception or any other medical condition or treatment? After all, why use facts for your medical care when you can rely on your friendly big republican government and their Medispeak. You certainly won’t be able to rely on your doctor, because their education has been “carefully supervised”.
Perhaps the new state motto for Kansas should be “Ignorance is strength.”