‘Pro-life’ movement being used as a tool to restrict healthcare

The hypocrisy of Kansas Republicans turns the stomach. In their efforts to appease the anti-choice movement they put at risk the healthcare of hundreds of thousands of Kansans.

By

Opinion

February 10, 2020 - 10:43 AM

Republican lawmakers seem willing to jeopardize the healthcare of 150,000 Kansans in their effort to overturn a Kansas Supreme Court ruling that upholds a woman’s right to abortion. 

Their hypocrisy turns the stomach.

Rather than extend health insurance to our most needy, these “pro-lifers” are using abortion as a political pawn against Medicaid expansion.

On Friday, Democrats and Republican moderates in the House of Representatives gathered  enough votes to block a measure to amend the Kansas constitution to ban abortion.

In retribution, Senate leader Susan Wagle said she will prevent any further discussion of expanding Medicaid, the health insurance program for the infirm and indigent.

“We will not take up Medicaid expansion until the amendment is on the ballot,” declared Wagle Friday afternoon. The Senate passed the measure last week.

IN ALL HONESTY, we saw this coming. 

More and more, the anti-abortion movement is less about saving lives and more about measures that suppress women and punish the poor. Those wishing to deny Medicaid expansion and the anti-choice are virtually one and the same.

In our view, being “pro-life” should include taking care of those among us.

Also, the most effective way to prevent abortion is not by criminalizing it, but by providing free or low-cost birth control and family planning. 

Medicaid is that bridge for the poor to such programs and methods.

By far, it’s poor, young women who have abortions. 

According to the Guttmacher Institute, 75% of all abortions occur in women who live below the federal poverty rate — the very demographic Medicaid expansion would reach. 

Instead of helping these women — of which more than half are in their 20s — the anti-choice movement prefers to paint them as criminals. 

And talking about babies, in states that have expanded Medicaid, infant mortality rates in newborns have dropped by half.

How? 

Healthcare during and after pregnancy is critical to both mother and child. When that care is guaranteed and uninterrupted, both fare better. 

Medicaid also helps the poor and elderly manage their diabetes, high cholesterol and high blood pressure so they can prevent costly medical emergencies.

In many cases, Medicaid is the difference between life and death. 

Conservatives, including our local representatives Kent Thompson, LaHarpe, and Ken Collins, Mulberry, voted Friday for the anti-abortion amendment to the state constitution.

Such legislators say they want the people — not the courts — to decide the state’s law on abortion.

Don’t you believe it.

The proposed amendment declares the state constitution does not secure a woman’s right to abortion, giving legislators untold leeway to go right back to their hostile ways. 

It’s because of their 30 years of tinkering with the law that it became one of the most punitive in the nation.

That legislators deem it their responsibility to have such say over a woman’s personal autonomy under the guise of being “pro-life,” yet at the same time be willing to neglect their care as well as that of hundreds of thousands of other Kansans, reeks of overreach and double-speak.

— Susan Lynn

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