It probably comes as no surprise that Republican Governor of Kansas, Sam Brownback, despises big government intrusion into people’s lives. That’s a main tenet of the GOP nowadays, isn’t it? Down with big government! Keep the government out of our homes! Etc. etc. blah blah. Well, it turns out that Brownback is putting his money where his mouth is – if you’re a barber. If you’re a pregnant lady who wants an abortion, please sit down and wait there, because the government still needs to get all up in your business.
In a triumph for barbers everywhere, Brownback vetoed legislation that would have required them to get re-licensed after two years of not working, claiming that he intends to “not only to prevent this small increase of government interference in the marketplace, but also to send the clear message that Kansas will not accept unnecessary government burdens on the free market.” Yeah, you tell ‘em Sam! People should be allowed to determine their own rights, and whether or not they want to participate in a certain activity that…oh wait…so this is just barbers then?
While I take little issue with whether or not someone wants an inexperienced or out of practice barber wielding a blade near their throat, the hypocrisy of it all is where I, and many others, are having a problem. Brownback fights for the freedom of barbers, keeps the government out of their lives, but just last year passed incredibly stringent regulations on Kansas abortion clinics, of which there were only three. One closed down shortly after the passage of the laws.
The legislation he passed is known as a TRAP law, which stands for Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers. These are any laws that put an unnecessary burden on abortion providers, but not other medical professions. The Kansas TRAP law applies to any facility that provides more than five abortions a month (for perspective, the Kansas Planned Parenthood performs 5,000 a year), and I have included some highlights:
- The clinic must maintain supplies for delivering babies, such as newborn-sized blood pressure cuffs, even though these clinics aren’t performing abortions after 21 weeks and therefore are never going to be dealing with a live birth
- The procedure room must be between 68 and 73 degrees
- The recovery room must be between 70 and 75 degrees
- Procedure rooms must be at least 150 square feet, excluding cabinets
- Each procedure room must have a janitor’s closet that is at least 50 square feet
- Each facility needs designated dressing rooms with their own toilets, sinks, and storage facilities
- Each facility needs separate dressing rooms for staff
It seems pretty clear that none of these regulations exist to, as pro-life activists claim, “to protect the health and safety of women.” Dr. Herbert Hodes and Dr. Traci Nauser, a father-daughter team who work at the Center for Women’s Health in Overland Park and filed suit against the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, do a pretty decent job of explaining not only why these regulations are completely unnecessary but also how they can be amended. They are nowhere near the requirements put forth for other medical facilities that participate in far more risky procedures. For example: 3% of early abortions (before 13 weeks) result in any kind of complications, and only 0.5% of those require hospitalization or surgery. By comparison, “rates of complication from tooth extraction can be as high as six percent.” I have had multiple teeth pulled, and each time it took place in my dentist/orthodontist’s office, where I can assure you there were no separate dressing rooms, storage facilities, or special medical equipment on hand. Even when I had my wisdom teeth removed and was under general anesthetic, I’m pretty sure that the janitorial closet, if there was one, was smaller than 50 square feet. How on earth did I survive?!
All of this legislation was drafted back in 2011, and a federal judge blocked the law from taking effect until a trial could be held determining its legality. Let’s not even go into how much taxpayer money these legal battles are wasting. The reason this has all come back into the national spotlight is Governor Brownback’s idiotic and hypocritical statements about limiting government intervention and fighting for the little guy. He might as well have tattooed “I’m a hypocrite” on his forehead and handed out reminders about his TRAP laws during his speech. Just another blatant display of stupidity from the GOP.
But keep it up guys, and watch as in November women prove that we are capable of a whole lot more than just having babies.