ChoiceWords Blog

Posts Tagged: kansas

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 »

Kansas Is Poised to Ban Second Trimester Abortions

Recently introduced in the Kansas Legislature was a bill that could shape up to be the strictest abortion law in the country. The proposed bill is a ban on a specific type of procedure that is primarily used in the second trimester, Dilation and Evacuation. Anti-choice advocates have been pushing to define this method as “dismemberment abortion.” If this bill were to pass, it could effectively outlaw any access to safe abortion care beyond 14 weeks of pregnancy. This past Monday, I attended an Advocacy Day at the Kansas Legislature that was hosted by URGE. Our focus for the day was a sex education bill that was recently introduced, outlined in my preview several weeks ago. However, in the days leading up to our trip, we were made aware of… Read more »

Fighting Revenge Porn

Over the past several years, the problem of “revenge porn” has been growing. Revenge porn is commonly defined as sexually explicit material (usually photos or videos) posted online without the subject’s consent. This has been used as a tool to get revenge on a former partner, where usually this material was recorded consensually at the time, but is now a weapon to embarrass, harass, or humiliate the subject. It is an example of how sex crimes have adapted to the digital age. Any person can be the victim of this type of cyber sex crime, although it is far more likely for a woman to be the victim at the hands of her male partner. It can be devastating for the subject, with consequences not only for their mental and… Read more »

Kansas Sex Education Fight May Return in 2015

In 2007, the Board of Education in Kansas updated its policy with regard to sex education, removing the prior policy of recommending abstinence-only until marriage curriculum, and replacing it with a recommendation for an abstinence-based curriculum that includes factual information on STI and unintended pregnancy prevention. While this policy, which remains intact, does not have the ability to require any specific curriculum for an individual school district, it has helped improve young people’s access to the information they need. Many school districts have adopted an abstinence-plus curriculum, which falls in line with the recommendations from the Board of Education. This policy also does not include a requirement for any specific type of parental consent mechanism. Instead, the decision what type of parental consent is required has been left to individual… Read more »

What Kansans Can Expect in 2015

We all know how devastating the midterm elections were for certain parts of the country, especially on certain issues. Since I live in Kansas, I am as aware of that as anyone. For reproductive rights, the landscape for the next few years certainly does look bleak here, as it does in many other states. With supportive legislators at an all-time low, and an administration that has abortion restrictions high on its priority list, we can expect many new restrictions to be introduced, and possibly passed, in 2015. Meanwhile, even as anti-choice politicians were overwhelmingly elected nationwide, ballot initiatives and exit polls show that our nation still has a majority in favor of reproductive rights. Knowing this, it is important that we prepare ourselves for the continued rise of restrictions on… Read more »

Why don’t you just leave?

I was born in Kansas. I have always lived in Kansas. All of my family and friends also live in Kansas. I love living here. I don’t plan on leaving my home any time soon. However, there is just one problem: Kansas doesn’t always love me back. You see, in Kansas, people that think like me have very little political power. As advocates for reproductive justice, our concerns and campaigns often come up short. We live in an extremely anti-choice political culture. Kansas has some of the strictest abortion-related laws in the country. It can be a very challenging and frustrating environment to do this work. The solution we are always offered to remedy this situation is to leave. Many people might ask us why we don’t leave if we… Read more »

We Still Have a Long Way to go for True Equality in Kansas

Many of you have probably read about the recent Supreme Court decision not to hear cases from the 4th, 7th, and 10th Circuit courts striking down same-sex marriage bans. This move by the Court paved the way for marriage equality in many states, with the possibility of 30 states having freedom to marry by the end of the year. This is a huge victory for activists and advocates that have been pushing for decisions like this for a long time. We should take the time and celebrate this accomplishment and remember the long road it took to get to this point. But here in Kansas, as well as in many other states across the nation, this fight for marriage equality is far from over. Although Kansas is in the 10th… Read more »

What’s right and mostly wrong with “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes.”

A little over a week ago, the annual “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes” event was put on by the Interfraternity Council (IFC) at Wichita State University. If you’re not familiar with these events, you can read about them here. This year marked the fourth consecutive year I’ve attended this event. The past three years I was a participant in the walk, with considerable support from friends and my wife. Each year I noticed more and more problems with this event in general, as I became more aware and as I engaged in discussions about the event with people much smarter than me. This year I decided to take on a different role. Our student-led URGE group likes to have a table there, to offer resources and information to those… Read more »

What Fighting Sexual Assault Looks Like on My Campus

It’s no surprise to anyone even halfway paying attention to the news as of late that campus sexual assault is a buzzy topic right now. From the release of 55 universities under investigation by the federal government, to the viral picture of an alumni refusing to donate until their alma mater addresses sexual assault, to college students posting a rapist list of students who were found guilty yet never charged—sexual assault on campuses is causing a huge national discussion. Much of this media attention is credited to the White House itself assembling a task force on sexual assault. In April, the White House released a report on how campuses can combat sexual assault. These guidelines, and the task force recommendations (as well as the reason the White House even assembled… Read more »

Fetal Heartbeat: The Great Anti-Choice Divider In Kansas

On March 26th, 2013, The House Federal and State Affairs Committee opened at 8 a.m. the hearing on HB 2324—a bill summarized by the meeting minutes as “prohibiting an abortion of an unborn human individual with a detectable fetal heartbeat.” The hearing closed that day and now having been heard successfully in committee almost a year ago, the bill awaits to see if it will be introduced to the floor of the legislature for a vote, a vote imbedded in the divisionary politics and varying allegiances at play within the “pro-life”/anti-choice legislators, lobbyists, and activists in the capitol. There are multitude of anti-choice organizations in Kansas (and even more groups that actively work for anti-choice causes) but the five main anti-choice organizations in Kansas are “Kansans for Life” (KFL); “Kansas… Read more »