By Kathy Ostrowski, Kansans for Life Legislative Director
The lobbyist for the National Organization for Women, Kari Rinker, is known for her strident testimony in the Kansas Statehouse but her behavior was miles outside the bounds of civil discourse during Thursday’s hearing for the Pro-Life Protections Act, House Bill 2598. The legislation prohibits various state funding and tax credits for abortions, strengthens civil rights for the unborn and improves informed consent information for abortion-minded women.
The media and observers appeared stunned at what can only be described as a rant –and even the most-abortion-supporting member of the committee held her head down, seemingly in dismay.
NOW’s Rinker did not elaborate any substantive disagreements with the current bill other than it was another in a long line of measures that ‘demean women’. She repeatedly berated the committee for a variety of ‘crimes, essentially the fact that they passed pro-life bills over the years, especially last year. (Rinker is part of a current ACLU lawsuit against one of the bills.)
Rinker accused committee members of inappropriately asking last year’s NOW lobbyist “when does life begin?” and “had the lobbyist ever seen someone die?” during the hearing for the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which is now law.
The Kansas City Star’s Brad Cooper reported how she concluded her remarks: “Let’s just move this bill right along out of this committee,” Kari Ann Rinker told legislators. “It doesn’t take a genius to know how each of you will be voting.”
Then Rinker removed a large rubber stamp from a brown paper bag, along with an ink pad. In big red block letters, she stamped “APPROVED.”
“You can use it on every abortion bill that comes through here this session, and you can even share it with the governor if you like,” Rinker said.
Chairman Steve Brunk (R-Wichita) reacted with characteristic restraint, pointing out that the topics of this committee are almost all volatile issues.
“Have you or your predecessors ever been denied an opportunity to speak?” Brunk asked. “Seems to me I’ve gone out of my way to give both sides an open time to testify and say whatever they want to say,” he said, according to the Topeka Capital Journal’s Andy Marso.
Marso continued, “Other members of the committee, including Rep. John Rubin, R-Shawnee, said Rinker’s comments and her visual aid were out of line. …Rubin then told Rinker he believed “the most fundamental right any woman has in America is the right to life” and said more than half of those aborted are females.”
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