|A target for bounty hunters.|
Note—I saw an article on the Addington Post yesterday which piqued my interest. I am frankly very leery of the Addington Post as a source. It is a left/liberal site which often doesn’t let mere facts get in the way of a good argument. They have a habit of exaggeration and taking things out of context to make their point. I don’t appreciate that anymore on a liberal site than I would on the Drudge Report or any of the other unit of the right wing echo chamber.
Anyway, the article that caught my attention was about the annual spate of super restrictive anti-abortion laws proposed by Kansas state Representative Lance Kinzer and dutifully passed by the chamber’s large Republican majority. The man and the party are relentless. This year the bill included a provision that would bar, in the words of the Topeka Capital-Journal, “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.” The Addington Post reports that the provision would extend even to school volunteers and would “prohibit an abortion clinic secretary from ‘bringing cupcakes to’ school for his or her child’s birthday party.”
In Kansas these days, it is difficult to tell fact from parody. But apparently, this has a basis in fact. But it is far from the worst provision of the proposed law.
As I have noted this kind of thing is now an annual ritual in Kansas, which is firmly in the hands of Religious Zealotry wing of the Tea Party. Almost exactly one year ago I commented on last year’s round of nutty legislation with the following blog entry.
A careful examination of the nation’s most stringent anti-abortion legislation yet which is hurtling at break-neck speed through the Kansas House of Representatives and seems destined for the promised signature of Governor Sam Brownback, has turned up a previously un-noticed provision—a $500 bounty on the ears of abortion providers, medical staff, Planned Parenthood members, pro-choice petition signers, and women who have abortions or who are overheard asking about them.
The provision at first escaped notice because it was written in Pig Latin and invisible ink on the back of a page. No matter, sources close to the Republican legislative leadership say, “The bill will pass un-amended and in its entirety.”
The Kansas bill has already attracted national attention and squawks and complaints by the usual suspects for other controversial provisions. The bill would allow doctors to withhold medical information about the health of the mother and the fetus if the physician believed that information might be used to justify an abortion and exempts doctors from malpractice suits for resulting health problems. Doctors would also be required to inform patients that abortion may cause breast cancer and force women to listen to pre-natal heart beats.
The bill also contains several tax measures aimed at punishing both providers and women who seek insurance coverage for the procedure or who obtain an abortion. A sales tax of 6.3% would be leveled on all abortion procedures or prescriptions that can lead to an abortion. No exceptions to tax for victims of rape, to save the life of the mother, or even to have fetal remains removed after a miscarriage—which is still defined as abortion under Kansas law—would be allowed. In addition women would not be able to claim a medical expense tax deduction for the separate special abortion coverage required under Kansas law. Providers would be stripped of a range of tax benefits usually available to health care providers.
The bill would also put restriction on teaching how to perform abortion procedures that would probably lead to the loss of accreditation to the University of Kansas OB/GYN program.
Despite the outcry over these and other provisions, even the most knowledgeable pro-choice leaders were shocked to find the hidden bounty provision. When asked about the need for secrecy, an aid to the House Federal and State Affairs Committee which drew up the bill and is holding hearings on it, said under promise of anonymity, “It’s really for the health of women. They can’t take the excitement it might arouse, God bless their hearts.”
Experienced bounty hunters from as far away as Alaska are reportedly stocking up on ammunition and preparing to relocate to the Sun Flower State. “This will be twice as easy as shooting wolves from helicopters and a hell of a lot warmer,” said veteran hunter Orion “Dead-eye” Nimrod.
A spokesman for the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism, which regulates hunting and has been charged in the bill with administering the bounty program said, “We are excited by the possibility of overseeing the largest cash producing hunt in Kansas history since Buffalo Bill and the hide hunters wiped out the buffalo. We figure it will take even less time to eliminate abortionists, their clients, and advocates, three to five years, max.”
Responding to concerns that there was no way to be sure that ears submitted to the State for the bounty were actually taken from intended targets, a spokesperson for the jubilant Westborough Baptist Church, a strong supporter of the law, said “You have to break a few eggs to make an omelet. God will forgive the innocent, after we picket their funeral.”
Law enforcement officials acknowledge that the system would be challenged to differentiate between lawful bounty hunting and murder. “We’ll probably have to take the word of the hunters. And any shooting in the vicinity of an abortion clinic or women’s organization office, or the home of a registered Democrat will automatically be given a pass.”
Some Republican leaders privately expressed concern that a successful bounty program could accelerate already existing trends of population loss, perhaps eventually endangering one of Kansas’s four Congressional seats. They were relieved when a demographic study privately funded by the Koch Brothers Foundation predicted a population loss of no greater than 15-20% with larger families resulting from future restrictions on contraception making up enough of the loss to prevent the loss of a Republican seat after the 2020 census and reapportionment.