This week, YWCA Northeast Kansas attended Kansans for Bodily Autonomy Advocacy Day, organized by ACLU of Kansas, URGE Kansas, Trust Women, and Planned Parenthood Great Plains Votes. The event brought advocates from all over the state together to speak up for abortion rights and the LGBTQ+ community.
Despite overwhelming support for constitutionally protected bodily autonomy during the August 2nd primary election last year, Kansas legislators are attempting to pass bills attacking transgender individuals and reproductive freedom. YWCA CEO Kathleen Marker and Community Engagement Director Allison Marker met with legislators in our service area to share why these bills are harmful to the communities we serve.
Contact your state legislators today and make sure they know that abortion and gender affirming care are human rights, and Kansans deserve to live lives free and stigma and persecution based on their gender identities or their medical care. Visit www.openstates.org to find contact information for your state senator and representative, and take five minutes to send an email or call their office today!
Here is some sample messaging from the organizers of Bodily Autonomy Advocacy Day:
- “Reproductive Justice is the human right to have children, not have children, and parent the children we do have in safe and sustainable communities. Anti-abortion bills threaten the bodily autonomy of Kansans who can become pregnant.”
- “As your constituent, I’m asking you to oppose and vote against all anti-trans and anti-abortion bills in the Kansas legislature.”
- “Anti-trans bills perpetuate harmful rhetoric that threaten the lives and existence of transgender, nonbinary, and gender expansive folks in Kansas.”
Advocates Speak Up and Speak Out
During a committee hearings on SB 180 which would define “female” as people with biological reproductive systems that are developed to produce ova, would exclude male, trans, nonbinary, and intersex survivors from domestic violence shelters, among other public spaces. Many courageous Kansans testified about their own personal experiences, and the work that they do to support the people of our state.
“Biology, endocrinology, physiology, genetics, neuroscience and reproductive science have confirmed that both biological sex and gender exist as a spectrum, and this science cannot be ignored because someone wants to legislate a binary or because it makes people more comfortable.” -Dr. Beth Oller, MD, FAAFP
“As a lawyer, I work with definitions. And the definitions [in this bill], quite frankly, exclude me from law.” -Lara Crow, attorney and business owner
“Women need our rights protected, not weaponized against transgender individuals.” -Rev. Caroline Dean, United Church of Christ
“KCSDV and our member programs should be considered subject matter experts on the safety of girls and women, and all survivors of domestic violence and sexual violence. When I surveyed our programs about the potential impact of this bill on our programs, none of them were consulted. We weren’t consulted about this bill and the potential impact including domestic violence centers and rape crisis centers.” -Michelle McCormick, Executive Director, Kansas Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Violence
YWCA Supports Bodily Autonomy for All
In our fight for reproductive justice, YWCA promotes and supports efforts to protect abortion rights and access to contraception, improve maternal healthcare and eliminate maternal health disparities for women of color, empower women to attain economic security, end gender-based violence and gender discrimination, and address racism as a public health crisis. Click here to learn more about our advocacy work, and how you can get involved.
“Our fight for reproductive justice is also a fight for economic and educational justice for women and girls, especially women and girls of color. We know that lack of access to abortion has long term negative consequences, impacting everything from educational achievement to financial security.” Kathleen Marker, YWCA Northeast Kansas CEO