Kansas and Oklahoma Battle to See Which State is Considering Crappier Abortion Restrictions

Illustration for article titled Kansas and Oklahoma Battle to See Which State is Considering Crappier Abortion Restrictions

There's no better way for lawmakers to impress constituents nowadays than to pass draconian abortion restrictions, and no states are trying harder to enforce pregnancy than Kansas and Oklahoma. But which terrible, totalitarian abortion law is worse? Let's find out.

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Scary innocuousness of the name
Kansas: "No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act"
Oklahoma: "SB1433"
Advantage:: Oklahoma. It's more Hunger Games-y.

Medical inaccuracies
Kansas: The proposed "No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act" would allow doctors to lie to women in an attempt to dissuade them from having abortions by saying that abortion causes breast cancer.
Oklahoma: Oklahoma SB1433 would redefine what a "person" is to include "the unborn child at every stage of development" and would bestow upon it "all the rights, privileges, and immunities available to other persons, citizens, and residents of this state." It doesn't take a rocket surgeon to know that as an acorn is not a mighty oak, so too is an embryo not a baby, but this fact is lost on lawmakers. The aim of SB1433 is to ban all abortion, although it fails to establish a law barring a woman from aborting her fetus because it trespassed on her private property.
Advantage: The abortion/breast cancer link is pure Kansas City horseshit, but Oklahoma's personhood bill is much more patently absurd. Oklahoma wins this round.

New Law vs. Old Law
Kansas Currently limits abortions after 20 weeks, and public funds are already banned from financing aborting pregnancies that aren't the result of rape, incest, or a danger to the mother's life. The new law would go further, seeking bar universities and teaching hospitals that perform abortions from receiving taxpayer money. This would make it difficult for medical schools to teach students how to perform abortions without serious consequences.
Oklahoma: Currently, abortions can legally be performed in the state with minimal restriction up to the point of viability (there are rules about where the procedure can occur, but not whether or not it can occur). The new law would theoretically ban all abortions.
Advantage: Oklahoma, again.

Number of women directly affected
Kansas: About 1.3 million women living in Kansas are currently between 15 and 45.
Oklahoma About 1.6 million women living in Kansas are currently between 15 and 45
Advantage: Oklahoma

Likelihood that a court injunction will block the bill from going into force
Kansas: Extremely
Oklahoma: Nearly inevitably
Advantage: Kansas, because the likelihood that the bill will take effect is greater.

Would women still be able to terminate pregnancy?
Kansas Yes
Oklahoma No
Advantage: Oklahoma

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Exception for rape, incest or health of the mother?
Kansas: Teaching hospitals receiving state money would be allowed to perform abortions on nonviable fetuses or if the life of the mother was in danger. No exception for rape or incest. Women are free to have abortions that are not state hospitals, provided they soldier through the doctor's medically inaccurate speech.
Oklahoma: Depends on whether a fetus's legal status as a fully realized Oklahoman would allow women to kick it off their property/body for trespassing without permission.
Advantage: Oklahoma

Winner: Oklahoma! Way to go, Sooners.

Oklahoma's bill was approved in committee earlier this week. Kansas's bill is still in committee. And thinking people across the country are sitting agape at the baffling irony of "small government" conservatives attempting to legislate people's bodies.

DISCUSSION

burleyqgirl
BurleyQGirl

Yeah, you suck, Oklahoma. Signed, an OKC resident.

Oklahoma also has a bill that would allow doctors to lie to a patient about the presence of fetal abnormalities if they think that that knowledge might lead her to get an abortion. They also attempted to pass one a year or two back that made the demographic info of women who get abortions publicly available on the internet. I don't know if those are dead or just in limbo. It's hard to keep track in Oklahoma, because every time a court rules a law like this unconstitutional, the legislature passes another one just like it. The OK Supreme Court even wrote in one of their decisions that they were tired of the legislature "flagrantly violating" the Oklahoma Constitution and wasting taxpayer money. Obviously it didn't make a difference, since they're still doing it.

Also, I write this on every "personhood" article, but: the rights and privileges of American citizens don't include the right to other people's bodily resources, as seen by the fact that we don't compel blood, tissue or organ donation even to save lives, so I still don't see how these bills would successfully make abortion illegal. (Not that I want them to exist, don't get me wrong.) It seems that they'd have to further codify it into law that a woman has an unprecedented obligation to provide life support to any "person" who requires her womb.