March 14 was a big day for Kansas voters to voice their concerns about reproductive rights in the state legislature.
Trust Women hosted a lobby day as an effort to enable constituents to speak with their state legislators about bills threatening women’s reproductive rights.
Volunteers lobbied with Founder and Executive Director of Trust Women Julie Burkhart and Virginia Phillips, who is in charge of Trust Women’s grants and regional outreach. They were able to speak with about fifty legislators – some who were pro-choice and also legislators without definite positions on abortion.
Phillips said that the volunteers received a warm reception, and that legislators were eager to have thoughtful discussions on the topic of reproductive rights.
The bills the volunteers were specifically addressing were HB 2523, a bill that would make it more difficult for women to obtain contraception, and HB 2598, an omnibus bill that would require doctors tell patients seeking abortion that it causes breast cancer (even though it doesn’t) among other abortion restrictions. HB 2598 had also been a threat to the Kansas University medical program’s accreditation.
“Access to reproductive healthcare is under attack in Kansas. The Kansas Legislature is chipping away at rights provided under Roe, and now, even access to contraception – birth control pills – is being threatened,” said Phillips, “We absolutely must not stand by in silence as Kansas turns the clock back decades on reproductive healthcare rights.”
Legislators responded with a supportive tone and said that the current anti-choice legislation was clearly harmful to women. The volunteers distributed talking points on the anti-choice bills, and some legislators took more than one copy so that they could share with their colleagues.
“It’s imperative that legislators hear from Kansans who oppose this dangerous anti-woman legislation; if pro-choice voters don’t speak up, it’s much easier for legislators to believe that everyone agrees with the anti-choice bills,” Phillips said.
Following the lobby day Burkhart hosted an informative meet and greet cocktail hour in Kansas City to discuss the state of reproductive rights in Kansas. The room was full of men and women of all ages. Participants were eager to learn more about women’s reproductive access in Kansas and how they could be a part of positive change.
“Kansans don’t want legislators inserted into their relationship with their healthcare provider. The provision of healthcare should be between a woman and her doctor,” Phillips said .
At the March 14 lobby day, Kansas voters made clear that they would continue to speak on behalf of women’s reproductive rights.