File this under #ItNeverEndsDoesIt?: Lawmakers in Kansas have passed a bill that would both turn the state’s tax code into a weapon against abortion access and require doctors to lie about the abortions and breast cancer link. Because what’s a little science in the face of blinding ideology, folks?
The bill, passed by the Kansas House of Representatives, is modeled after similar legislation pending in the U.S. Congress and four other states. It would rewrite state tax law to:
• Ban corporations from taking tax credits for making charitable donations to Planned Parenthood.
• Apply sales tax to any drugs used in performing or inducing an abortion. [Does this happen to any other medications?]
• Ban employers from deducting any money they contribute to health insurance plans that include supplemental coverage for abortion.
• Prohibit individuals from deducting any health care costs (including supplemental insurance premiums) related to abortion.
Taken in and of themselves, those may each seem like pretty small moves. But they’re just the latest in a series of schemes hatched by GOP lawmakers to drive Planned Parenthood out of business and limit health insurance coverage for abortion. Call it the ‘death by 1,000 papercuts’ method of policy-making; each seemingly minor step—tax code changes, ultrasound and waiting period requirements, etc.—works to circumvent overturning Roe v. Wade and instead quietly, incrementally and methodically chip away at reproductive rights.
“The anti-abortion forces continue to use the power of the state to impose their views, and impose their views even through the tax system,” said Peter Brownlie, president of Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri.
The bill would also 1) require doctors to tell women that abortion causes breast cancer (despite the fact that no such link exists) and 2) bar state employees—including doctors at state university hospitals—from performing abortions on state property or state time (despite the fact that this could jeopardize the accreditation of a school’s obstetrics and gynecology program).
The chances of the bill passing in the state Senate are still unclear. If it does pass, said Elizabeth Nash, a state issues manager with think tank The Guttmacher Institute, it could be a template for other states to follow.