Today I gave the following testimony to the House Committee on Federal and State Affairs, concerning SB95. This bill would further restrict medical procedures used during pregnancy, and sometimes specifically for abortion (but not always or exclusively for abortion).
Dear Chairman Brunk, and Distinguished Representatives of the Committee,
Thank you for allowing me time to speak in opposition to SB95. I was born and raised in Topeka; I am currently a mother and a homemaker. Before I had my children, I spent several years working in childcare, helping people learn the skills of Parenting. I wear many hats, but today I would speak to you as a citizen, and as a woman. I’m very tired of having this argument, and I hope you all can understand why we need to keep abortion legal and accessible to all women.
The issue of whether a woman has an abortion is not the State’s business. The State’s creation of laws restricting abortion is an infringement of a person’s Liberty. While the Department of Health may concern itself with the facilities of abortion clinics in matters of cleanliness and licensure of medical professionals; this procedure, and whether any individual Patient requests or requires abortion is a private matter. Current restrictions, and further regulation such as SB95, is the State’s own governmental overreach.
While this law caters to a specific religious perspective on when life begins, in reality it will further remove a woman’s right to make autonomous, independent decisions concerning her own life and the quality of life she may or may not be able to provide for a child. The true nature behind this conservative effort is simply to further divide the rich from the rest of us, and deny any woman or man the same opportunities afforded to previous generations. Statistics do show that the majority of women requesting an abortion are poor. Would the State rather more children be born into poverty? As the State continues to cut funding for social services and education, and more children are born to poverty, the logical conclusion is a cheap labor force of young people with desperate situations. Is that the life the State hopes to preserve?
We’ve all heard the rumors of lascivious women using abortion as an excuse to be reckless, but the truth is that women have innumerable reasons for wanting an abortion. Those women are everyday women, from all walks of life, deciding their own life on their own terms. It is not the State’s responsibility to “save her soul” but rather to protect her Liberty and Pursuit of Happiness. For some women happiness, and even basic survival, is dependent on not having a child.
Thank you again for listening, and I hope you will stop this bill from moving forward, as we already have enough restrictions against abortion in Kansas. Enough is Enough.
During the follow up, I was asked if I thought women in poverty should have abortions. I would like to be clear, and I hope I stated as much: abortion is a woman’s choice. I do not want to prevent women in poverty from having children through forced abortions, I do want them to be afforded the same choice a woman of means is privy to. An affluent woman may fly off to another state for a two week stay to have an abortion and follow up care. A woman without must rely on services available in her community, which in Kansas are few and far between. While I would not force a woman to have an abortion, the State seems to want to further the possibility that she has no choice at all, and must bring her child into the world, even into extreme desperation.
The committee also touched on the issue of mental health and emotional trauma associated with abortion, and while I have not had an abortion, I have given a child up for adoption at birth. I can say there is a high level of emotional trauma and psychological pain associated with giving your child up to complete strangers. Who is to say that the child will, indeed, have a good life? I’ve seen news stories of children who were adopted and then grew up neglected and abused by their supposedly good Christian family. I know some family cultures who would shun a mother for giving her child up for adoption. Adoption is not a cut and dry positive alternative to abortion.
Again, it is not the State’s business. Pregnancy is a private issue between a woman, her doctor, and her deity.
And thanks to Tim Carpenter for the report! http://cjonline.com/news/state/2015-03-09/house-panel-delves-dismemberment-abortion-bill