Target: Kansas State Senator Mary Pilcher-Cook (R-Shawnee)
Goal: Stop leveraging miscarriage as a political tool for anti-abortion campaigns
Recently, Kansas State Representative John Doll (R-Garden City) was contacted by a constituent about a bill that would enable parents of stillborn children to receive a birth certificate, and Doll agreed to bring it forward. The bill would offer, for pregnancies ending after 20 weeks, a “certificate of birth resulting in stillbirth” that could help grieving parents. Doll told The Topeka Capital-Journal, “I put it in my newsletter, and I had three people write back telling me their story and telling me how meaningful this piece of legislation as written would have been for those who had gone through this.” After the bill was passed nearly unanimously by the House, Doll implored the Senate Judiciary Committee to pass it without amendments to delay its implementation; as he commented to the Capital-Journal, “There are some things in life we can truly separate politics from. I felt strongly this was one of those bills.”
The day after Doll’s compassionate appeal and without discussing anything with him, Sen. Mary Pilcher-Cook brought an amendment that would expand the bill to cover all miscarriages at any point in the pregnancy. Furthermore, the amendment would implement a requirement to report all miscarriages at medical facilities or physician’s offices, if the patient had the miscarriage elsewhere and came in later. Despite Pilcher-Cook’s protestation that “I was very, very careful to make sure that it didn’t change anything regarding what he was doing for his constituent,” this amendment represents the opposite of the bill’s original intention; it opens up a conversation about personhood and abortion that has nothing to do with the constituent’s wish and that will only draw more attention and controversy to a delicate subject.
By signing this petition, you are calling on Sen. Pilcher-Cook to drop her amendment and recognize that the Senate passed the bill with only a single negative vote because it represents something that transcends politics: the grief of parents who have lost children.
Dear Senator Pilcher-Cook,
I am highly disappointed in the lack of compassion and respect you showed in altering the intention of Rep. Doll’s bill offering a birth certificate to parents of stillborn children. Instead of recognizing that this bill is not made to bear your political goals, you manipulated it with your amendment into the territory of abortion politics. This bill is something that Kansas parents want, and your amendment is standing in the way of its success and unnecessarily drawing out the suffering of grieving parents.
I urge you to drop your amendment to Rep. Doll’s bill and to acknowledge that the legislature should not force these parents to grieve in a particular way.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons