Monday, May 07, 2012

Dear Kansas State Legislators

I see you have again proven that you have your feet firmly planted in 1600's Puritan Massachusetts, where religious beliefs shaped governmental policies. You have shown this by voting to withhold $334,000 of Title X money from Planned Parenthood and transferring it to The Stan Clark Grand Matching Fund For Pregnancy Support and Adoption Counseling. As you know the Stan Clark Fund gives state tax money to organizations which provide services that are related to what is called by former Kansas State Senator Stan Clark "pregnancy maintenance." This year the Stan Clark Fund distributed $297,113 of Kansas tax money to the following organizations:

1. *Bethlehem House, El Dorado, $22,000

2. *Catholic Charities, Wichita, $155,237

3. Community Health Center of Southeastern Kansas, Pittsburgh, $27,800

4. *Family Life Service of Southern Kansas, Arkansas City, $36,455

5. *Gerald House, Via Christi Health (A Catholic organization), Wichita, $16,500

6. Leavenworth County Health Department, Leavenworth, $32,455

7. Reno County Health Department, Hutchinson, $8,179

The organizations with asterisks beside their names are religious organizations. Organizations without an asterisk are public institutions. The organizations with asterisks received $228,192 while the organizations without an asterisk received $68,921. The Stan Clark Grand Matching Fund For Pregnancy Support and Adoption Counseling distributed the majority of our tax dollars to organizations which have a religious-based reason for stopping abortions and in some cases (the Catholic Church) limiting access to any form of birth control whatsoever. Why some may ask didn't organizations like Planned Parenthood receive any of this money? Because section (c) of the Stan Clark bill says this:

(c) Such grant services may include an array of social services relating to pregnancy maintenance. Such grant services shall provide: (1) That no individuals who are unable to pay may be denied the delivery or provision of pregnancy maintenance services; and (2) adoption services, education or information as a part of the program being provided to the individuals. No grant under the program shall be entered into with any group performing, promoting, referring for or educating in favor of abortion. No part of the grant moneys shall be used for any political purposes.

What crap, this bill's only purpose is political. It was created to deny state funding to any organization that provides abortion services, period. In fact, one organization specifically Planned Parenthood of Kansas. An organization that, in addition to preforming abortions, provides services such as pre-pregnancy health care, birth control, and information about a woman's options when and if she becomes pregnant which is not allowed under the Stan Clark Fund.

Not only is this political it is religiously-political as you the state legislature gave roughly 58% of the 2012 Stan Clark Fund budget to the Catholic Church. By taking Title X federal tax monies away from Planned Parenthood and giving it to the Stan Clark Fund you will be giving even more of our tax dollars the Catholic Church and helping them push their anti-abortion agenda. An agenda which is purely based on religious beliefs.

Of course giving our tax money to any religious organization or creating laws that are religiously-based in principle goes against the precept of separation of church and state as covered by the first amendment of the US Constitution. People will tell you that this is not what this amendment means but Thomas Jefferson addressed it in a letter he wrote in 1802 to The Danbury Baptist Association of Danbury, Connecticut:

"Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should "make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof", thus building a wall of separation between Church & State."

Since this is the man who wrote the Constitution, he would be the one to know just what he meant when he wrote that amendment, "...separation between Church & State," you can't get any clearer than that.

Not only am I apposed to any of my taxes going to any religiously-based initiatives which curtail mine or anyone's legal rights as an American citizen, I am apposed to any legislative body that uses it power to punish a group, such as Planned Parenthood, because it is not politically or religiously on the same page as them. You people are flirting with religious totalitarianism. For those of you who do not know what totalitarianism means Merriam-Webster defines it as "a political concept that the citizen should be totally subject to an absolute state authority." Stick the word religious between "absolute" and "state" in that definition and we could be describing you. I for one will be fighting you on this even if it means starting a 21st century underground railway which shuttles women to Denver or any other city outside the state that has a Planned Parenthood. I will not let women who do not have the money or means to go elsewhere for birth control or family planning information or, yes, even an abortion be bullied by the likes of you.

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