I’ll admit, Kansas was always one of those states that I forgot during my geography class “fill in the blank map” quizzes. Recently, however, it has entered into my consciousness quite frequently, albeit for unfortunate reasons. Governor Sam Brownback has been one of the most vocal opponents of abortion in the country over the past few months, claiming that Kansas’ staunch pro-life stance is their “legacy,” “heritage,” and their “gift to this state and to this country and to this world.” Apparently not allowing women to make their own health-related choices is a gift? I guess we’ve just been looking at this all wrong, ladies. In addition to this condescending statement, Brownback seems to be throwing down the gauntlet and challenging other states to a game of lady-health chicken, proudly proclaiming “We’re going to be the top pro-life state in the country.” Eesh.
I can’t help but be curious about what qualifies a state as being number one in pro-life (gee, that plaque just etches itself, doesn’t it?) Do we measure it by how many women die of pregnancy-related complications because they were unable to obtain an abortion? Or perhaps the number of unwanted children put into foster care? These are the things Brownback and his friends in anti-choice groups need to think about, if they’re not too busy patting themselves on the back for being completely oblivious to the needs of Kansas women. You need some kind of system, guys, or Arizona and Michigan are going to get jealous.
Speaking of being oblivious, it appears as though Kansas anti-choice groups and church leaders have decided that what Kansas really needs is the country’s first (multi-million dollar) pro-life memorial. Tax-exempt, of course. Granted, the memorial is not being funded with state money, but when millions of Kansas residents are suffering through the recession and dealing with layoffs, it seems distinctly un-churchlike to pour millions of dollars into what amounts to an anti-abortion tourist attraction instead of into programs that would help those in need.
This National Pro Life Memorial and International Life Center will consist of the following: a monument called “Not Forgotten,” a replica of the Wailing Wall (abortion = destruction of Temple?), memorial gardens, and 60 crosses to represent the 60 million babies that have been aborted since the Roe v. Wade ruling. It also includes a 24 hour prayer center, a crisis pregnancy hotline and a clearinghouse for counseling and referral services that will direct women to pro-life organizations in their communities. Lastly, the site will house the International Pro Life Institute, which aims at “preserving, promoting, and protecting the unborn and families against the international Holocaust being promoted by governments and individuals (including the United States) against the unborn.”
Well played on the use of Holocaust, guys. That’ll fire people up nicely.
Besides ending the genocide of undeveloped cells, the site’s project leaders, Pastors Rob Rotola and Mark Holick, hope that the memorial will become a tourist attraction and develop Wichita’s reputation as “the pro-life capital of the world.” Holick explained that the idea for the memorial has been around since 1991, when the massive Summer of Mercy abortion protests took place outside several Wichita abortion clinics. It’s important to note that one of those abortion clinics belonged to Dr. George Tiller.
George Tiller was one of the few doctors in the state who provided late-term abortions, despite knowing the risks to his own safety. His clinic was bombed in 1986, and in 1993, he was shot twice. On May 31, 2009, George Tiller was shot in the head while serving as an usher at his church.
The plans for the memorial were announced less than a week after the third anniversary of his murder.