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.
But these measures weren’t the ones that Democrats objected to the most. Republicans apparently included a section in the bill that would affect employees of abortion providers in a most personal way. The Capital-Journal reports:
“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.”
Democratic Rep. Emily Perry opposes HB 2253, and pointed out another egregious section in the bill designed “to prohibit parents from going in and volunteering at their child’s school if they work at a place that provides abortion services.” Perry’s claim was later confirmed by Republican Rep. Arlen Siegfreid, who stated that the bill would “prohibit an abortion clinic secretary from ‘bringing cupcakes to’ school for his or her child’s birthday party.”
An amendment to fix the outrageous section was offered and passed but only after it was “tweaked to limit it to those who work for abortion providers and volunteer in schools, but not those who volunteer in abortion clinics and work in schools.” In other words, employees of clinics that provide abortion services are banned from volunteering at schools, even if their own children attend the school for which they wish to volunteer.
Parents should not be banned from volunteering at their child’s school because of where they work. This action is what most people would call discrimination. It’s also an intimidation tactic designed by Republicans to force abortion clinic employees to quit their jobs if they want to participate at their child’s school. It’s a sleazy personal attack that has no business being a law. People have the right to pursue whatever job they desire, including jobs that legally improve the health and lives of women. Likewise, parents have every right to volunteer at their child’s school; in fact, such participation is key to educating our kids. Teachers want parents to be involved. We shouldn’t prevent a particular group of parents from getting involved with the school system. Republicans would be standing in the way of education and personal liberty if they manage to slam this bill through the House, where it now heads, and the Senate. It’s a perfect demonstration of government over-reach, and this from the party that constantly screeches about “smaller government.”
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