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Posts Tagged: kansas

Supporting Sexual Health Care in Kansas Starts with Education

Last week, I attended the Protecting Sexual Health in Kansas forum at Kansas State University. Speakers Jennifer Greene, director of the Riley County Health Center, and Micah Kubic, executive director of the Kansas ACLU, discussed the state of sexual health care in the country and in Kansas, specifically Riley County. Greene called Riley County a “contraceptive desert” as it only has two publicly-funded clinics that offer a range of family planning options. Many of the surrounding counties in the area don’t have a single clinic like that, so the need for contraceptive services are greater there. Looking at the entire state, Greene said that in 2010, 45 percent of pregnancies in Kansas were in unintended. In Riley County alone, 9,190 women (aged 13-44) are in need of publicly-funded sexual health… Read more »

We Need to Stop Sexualizing Breastfeeding

A few weeks ago on a sweltering, Kansas afternoon, a friend and I stopped by a sub shop near my house for lunch. The store was empty because the lunch crowd hadn’t made their way in yet. I had been to this establishment several times before because my partner loved their subs and needed no excuse to go there. We ordered, sat and I nursed my just woken up daughter who was a bit cranky. Our little nursing session ended a few minutes later, just as the manager brought us our food. As he put the food on the table he looked at me and said “would you like a towel? This is a family restaurant, You can’t just be out here like that. Either I can bring you a… Read more »

Kansas’s New Concealed Carry Laws Don’t Belong On Our Campuses

Come July 1st, 2017, Kansas will become the first state that allows students to bring guns on campus without a permit. As a community psychologist and a doctoral student at Wichita State University, I have always held a unique perspective on campus carry; not like the negative rhetoric that you read about from the “alt-right perspective,” where gun safety advocates are perceived as “snowflakes.” You can’t imagine the backlash I have received about my nagging for “extra rights”; they would make anyone want to roll their eyes for an infinite amount of time. But the concerns of hundreds of students on Kansas campuses should not be taken lightly. July 1st will be the start of a new college experience — one where some students will be forced to have a… Read more »

Writing Abortion 20 Feet High

 This article originally appeared on the blog at Planned Parenthood Great Plains Votes.  Growing up in a small Kansas town meant a few things for me. I would forever be haunted by Wizard of Oz jokes whenever I told someone I’m from Kansas, going to Sonic with friends would be an early teen right of passage, and any road trip I took with my parents would mean driving past multiple anti-abortion billboards.   These billboards varied in language, size, and quality but they all had the same message: Abortion is bad. As most people know, Kansas is notorious for its negative outlook on abortion. Although much of our state legislature is rabidly anti-choice, the majority of fellow Kansans I know are okay with abortion. One of the reasons I believe Kansas still… Read more »

Kansas Law Creates a Bounty for Trans Students

This month, the Kansas state legislature passed two bills that pay students to openly discriminate against their trans peers. Unfortunately, Governor Brownback signed both bills into law. One of them forces institutions to pay religious student organizations for partaking in active exclusion of any group under the guise of religious liberties. The second effectively places a bounty on trans students who use the restroom that they are most comfortable in by saying that they are a threat to ‘physical privacy.’ The ironically named Student Physical Privacy Act, states that students using facilities designated for the opposite sex of their biological sex threaten the psychological and physical safety of others. This narrow definition of biological sex completely excludes intersex folks from the discussion. The language of the Act also states that public schools, including universities, need… Read more »

Our Communities Deserve Better

  A lot of times when people talk about gun violence and gun control in the United States, they think of the numbers. Statistics are thrown around more than personal stories, and when we do talk about people involved in shootings it’s usually about labeling the shooter by the different stereotypes we’ve formulated for mass shooters: the terrorist or the mentally ill person. We don’t talk about how mass shootings and loose gun laws affect the community. I did this numbers-over-people type of thinking about gun violence without realizing it, a lot. The past few months changed that for me however. Until I was 9, my family lived in Southern California. The San Bernardino Mountains are my childhood home. A long-time family friend even works as a probation officer for… Read more »

Kansas Gambles with Tax Money to Punish Planned Parenthood

For a state that is struggling with a historically significant budget crisis, Kansas Governor Sam Brownback and his supporters in the legislature sure do know how to gamble tax dollars on actions and legislation that are federally prohibited. In his state address last week, Governor Brownback announced that he was going to follow through on his promise to remove Medicaid funding from Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri (PPKM). According to his letter to the Kansas Secretary of Health and Environment, Governor Brownback’s direction to end Medicare funding to PPKM was “based on their affiliation with the national Planned Parenthood Federation of America and other information provided by [the department].” While the letter is vague in what exactly that information was, it is presumed that the information was that the… Read more »

Public Assistance is Reproductive Justice

Recently, my home state of Kansas passed a law that places several restrictions on the usage of benefits received from the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program (TANF), commonly referred to as welfare. Among other things, the bill prohibits TANF benefits from being used at swimming pools, movie theaters, cruise ships, and tattoo parlors. Also, the bill limits ATM withdrawals from the TANF account to $25 per day. On top of these new restrictions, Kansas also requires recipients of TANF benefits to be working or looking for work, and has instituted a drug testing policy for those who qualify. And Kansas isn’t the only state to be fighting this “problem” of the luxury of being poor. Missouri lawmakers have been pushing for a bill greatly restricting what type of groceries… Read more »

Kansas Regressing on LGBT Workplace Protections

This past Tuesday, Kansas Governor Sam Brownback issued an executive order that removed workplace protections from being harassed, discriminated against, or fired based on sexual orientation and gender identity. The original order that extended those protections was signed in 2007 by former Governor Kathleen Sebelius. The protections included in the original order were fairly narrow in scope, and rarely enforced. As with any executive order, there are limits to what can be done. This particular order applied only to government agencies under direct control of the governor, affecting roughly 25,000 people. These people are important, and removing workplace protections may affect the job status of some. But, in a time when states are expanding protections for people, this move flies in the face of progress. There are few examples of… Read more »