KC Voices: Reflections on the Value them Both results from two sides

Screen Shot 2022 08 10 At 15106 Pm

Roe v. Wade reproductive rights protesters at the Plaza on Friday, June 24, 2022. // Photo by Jim Nimmo

We’ve been asking members of the KC community to submit stories about their thoughts and experiences in all walks of life. If you’ve got a story you’d like to share with our readers, please send it to brock@thepitchkc.com for consideration. Today, former State Representative Lisa Benlon responds to a recent campaign email from Kansas State Senator Mike Thompson, regarding their views on the outcome of the Value The Both campaign. 

KC Voices local submissions

Illustration by Jack Raybuck

KC Voices local submissions

Senator Mike Thompson sent the following in a campaign email on Aug. 3, entitled “Final Thoughts on the failure of the Value Them Both Amendment in Kansas.” Within it, he… well, you’ll see.

It is my fervent hope that the 534,134 Kansans who voted “No” on Value Them Both were simply misled by the millions of dollars spent on a relentless ad campaign that was designed to convince people they would lose constitutional rights, create new government mandates, and ban all abortions outright. It is my hope that they were misled by a complicit media that refused to do their job and accurately report on what Value Them Both really meant and the long-term ramifications of allowing the Hodes & Nauser v Schmidt decision to stand. I hope that they were all misled by these things, because the other alternatives are disturbing and unthinkable.

One alternative is that they are okay with a fully formed infant, capable of feeling pain, and moments from birth, being torn apart limb by limb, extracted from the womb in chunks and allowed to bleed to death on the abortion table. That is called dismemberment abortion…and it is now totally unregulated here.  In the Dark Ages it was called being drawn and quartered…a practice so barbaric that society banned it long ago. Surely Kansans aren’t okay with this.

Another alternative is that they are fine with Kansas being the equivalent of New York, California, and Illinois…states so insane that people are leaving in droves due to horrible decisions like this one. Smart people make decisions about where to live, and they vote with their feet. This cannot be what Kansans want.

Another alternative is that they don’t mind Kansas becoming an even bigger destination site for abortion tourism. That means your tax dollars will increasingly be spent on paying for uninsured, out of state women who show up at our hospital ERs with complications from an abortion performed here. It means your health insurance rates and healthcare costs could rise to cover the costs that the hospitals are forced to pass along to paying customers. This can’t be what the voters were thinking.

Another alternative is that voters are okay with the increase in suicides and depression among young women who decide to have an abortion without considering the long-term implications until after the fact. Or they think that counseling is apparently not that important when being faced with life changing decisions made by a young person. Surely this is not what Kansans believe.

Another alternative is that they are okay with abdicating their voice to a Judicial Oligarchy. The legislature…which is their voice in state government, is now powerless to do anything to stop the next step in our unregulated abortion industry in Kansas. The next step is infanticide where the baby is allowed to be kept “comfortable” for a short while after birth while the mother decides whether to euthanize it like one would an animal. That is already happening in other states. By the way…don’t come to the state legislature with anything important now…we’ll have to check with the State Supreme Court to get permission from this point forward.

Kansans can’t want this.

Another alternative is that voters are fine with abortion clinics using dishwashers to sterilize surgical equipment. I suppose sepsis can be treated in the ER afterward if you catch it in time. Who needs to ensure the sanitation and practices of these clinics are on par with your typical medical facility? Nobody ever mentioned that in any media report I saw.  A good journalist would have picked up on this.

And another alternative is that voters think it’s alright for a 13-year-old to get an abortion without the knowledge and support of her parents. Never mind it could be the one who raped her that is keeping her silent and forcing her to the clinic. No, this can’t be.

If there was one honest media report anywhere about what this amendment was really about…I did not see it. I can’t watch every newscast or read every print story, but I tried to keep up as much as possible, and everything I saw was so biased that I could see how some people could have been confused over what this amendment would have accomplished. But it’s hard to believe that all 523,134 didn’t have a clue about some of the things I mention above. I know that some are absolutely satisfied with the end result…and are likely celebrating today. I hope and pray that someday they realize the devastation they have left behind.

May God have mercy on Kansas…we will need to reprove to Him, somehow, that we deserve His grace.

Senator Mike Thompson
Kansas 10th District

And now, the response from former State Representative Lisa Benlon:

I read Senator Mike Thompson’s “Final Thoughts on the Failure of the Value Them Both Amendment” and I will take each one of his “alternatives” and state the facts.

You deserve to know the truth.

He begins by claiming citizens were misled by the millions of dollars spent by the opponents. Yet, he fails to mention Value Them Both also spent millions of dollars. A large portion came from the Catholic Archdiocese. In fact, each campaign independently raised and spent over 7 million dollars from Jan 1 – July 18, 2022.

Follow the money.

I am convinced the people of Kansas would lose a constitutional right if this campaign had been successful. With a veto-proof House and Senate, leadership planned to ban all abortions in Kansas. Your camp has stated its intent to ban all abortions in this state multiple times. We have House bill 2746 which was introduced last session, and leaked audio of comments by Kansans for Life regional director and by Senator Steffen. 

Your first alternative claims your opponents are advocating abortion “moments from birth” a fully developed baby is torn limb by limb. I assume you are quite graphic in your description to rile your base. If what you say were true, I would also be upset. To say this procedure is totally unregulated here is nothing short of a lie. I have contacted three individuals who have extensive experience in Labor and Delivery. None of them has heard the term “dismemberment abortion” and I’ve been told it is not a medical term. It appears to be a term originated by the anti-choice to fear monger. The truth is, a fetus which appears normal, may only be aborted no later than 21 weeks and 6 days unless a complication exist which puts the mother’s or fetus’s life in danger. Your description implies there are women who would choose to abort just before the moment of birth. I don’t believe you can find a case of this in Kansas. Obviously you don’t know much about Kansas women. To have an abortion is a very difficult decision not taken lightly by women who choose it, according to the 2021 Kansas Department of Health and Environment Abortions in Kansas report (page 4), no partial-birth abortions have been reported in Kansas since 2019. 

Your second alternative claims Kansas will become the equivalent to New York, California, or Illinois. You claim Kansans will leave in droves due to the failure of the constitutional amendment on August 2nd. People do not come to live in a state dependent on abortion laws there. Instead, they are drawn to states with great schools, good infrastructure and roads, good paying jobs, a great workforce, and great quality of life. I suggest people will come to Kansas because on August 2nd we proved Kansans trust women to make choices about their reproductive health and family planning. 

Your third alternative is another scare tactic. “Abortion tourism.” Really? Our health insurance rates will not increase due to women coming from other states for an abortion. You won’t have to see these women unless you hang out at the clinics. No abortions are paid for by tax dollars—that’s the law. Kansas Statue 65-6733 There are less complications from abortions than from live births. Women had abortions before it became legal and women will continue to have abortions if they become illegal again. When abortions are banned, women may feel desperate and find a back alley non-physician to perform the procedure. Women can die. Let’s instead make abortion rare and safe by regulating them. 

Your fourth alternative is another falsehood. Women currently are required to undergo education before an abortion. After the education, they are required by law to wait 24 hours before the abortion. When she arrives 24 hours later, she is given another 30 minute education session before the abortion takes place. At any time prior to the procedure, she is free to change her mind. Maybe we should be discussing the lies that must be told during education. Things such as “abortion causes breast cancer.”

This has been proven to be false (American Cancer Society), yet these women are required to hear it. Anti-choice legislators place language in law that is not true, as a scare tactic. There may be some women who later regret having an abortion. But, many feel they have made the right decision for that place and time in their life, and never regret their decision. 

Your fifth alternative: Please quit saying Kansas has no regulations on abortions. We have pages and pages of regulations. Anti-choice legislators continue to add more. You are being irresponsible to even mention infanticide. Kansas statute 65-4a05 and Kansas statute 65-4a09 This has not and will never happen in Kansas. Your language is intended to incite your base. What you describe is murder. You claim this is happening in other states. I challenge you to list in which states this is happening. 

Your sixth alternative: Where did you hear clinics use dishwashers to sterilize equipment in the world? I know the clinics in Kansas have a sterilization area within each clinic. They are required by both federal and state laws to follow strict guidelines set out by CLIA (Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments). Every clinic is monitored monthly and audited. These clinics are inspected at least twice a year. One is an unannounced visit. If you read current law, you’d find the answers to your questions and you would know this. How many sepsis cases from clinics have hospitals seen? I’m unaware of any. 

And finally, your seventh alternative: It refers to girls under the age of 14 having abortions without her parents’ knowledge. In reality, parents ARE required to be notified. In girls this age, a tissue sample is taken for DNA testing. It will help identify the perpetrator, Kansas statute 65-67 a09 and Kansas statute 65-67 05 Last year in Kansas, there was not one, not two, but six girls under the age of 14 who received abortions. I hope you will agree with me, a 13-year- old is unable to consent at that age and should not be required to carry a potential baby, created through violence, to full term. 

You claim you expect media reports to be honest. I’m suggesting it is not honesty you are seeking, but instead you want media to mirror your views. Your views on abortion lack facts. You claim your opponents lacked truthfulness. Explain to me, please, the text messages sent at the last minute of the campaign, encouraging people who want to keep choice, to vote yes. That was as deceitful as it gets. This last-minute effort was traced back to former State Senator and former US Representative Tim Huelskamp. 

Leadership thought they were being coy to place this constitutional amendment on the August ballot expecting a win due to the normal lackluster voter turnout for a primary election. There are two other amendments placed on the November ballot. This could have been on the November ballot as well. Leadership was hoping to slip this amendment by without people knowing. That is disingenuous. The language on the question was so convoluted the average person would have difficulty in knowing how to vote. 

You and Republican leadership may think Kansas citizens can be easily misled. But we proved August 2nd we are much smarter than you give us credit. 

There was absolutely no reason to put the amendment on the ballot if leadership had no plans to ban abortion. Why would the amendment question be written the way it was if a total ban wasn’t the goal? 

Republicans claim they are for more privacy and smaller government. But, they demand more government when it comes to our bedrooms and our doctors’ office. Why is that? When we elect people to represent us in Topeka, we expect them to be truthful.

Sen. Thompson has failed to do his homework to find the truth, or he’s deliberately lying to us.

Either way, he is attempting to deceive us. Not much of what Sen. Thompson wrote is based in fact.

Categories: Politics