Abortion-rights supporters gathered at the steps of the Kansas state Capitol Wednesday to demand an apology from Rep. Pete DeGraaf for his comparing the preparing for the possibility of a rape pregnancy to keeping a spare tire in your trunk, but law enforcement stopped them from personally delivering spare tires to DeGraaf.
"We had the tires, and they told us we couldn't have them in the state building," Kari Ann Rinker, state coordinator for the National Organization for Women, told The Pitch. "The police confiscated them, and I had to ask for them to give the tires back to us for our presentation. DeGraaf was supposed to be in today, but I think he snuck out the back."
Not that DeGraaf should worry that he won't get his tire delivery. By the end of the day, Rinker was considering delivering them to his home, or maybe this weekend to the church where DeGraaf works as a pastor. When she does, Rinker plans to take her video camera. And if any footage pops up, we promise to post it to this blog.
DeGraaf has yet to make a public statement regarding the explosion of attention his comments received last week on both this site and in national media.
Kansas NOW raised roughly $4,000 in barely a week after promising that $5 donations would translate into one, small model spare tire to be delivered to DeGraaf. Well done, invisible hand of cyber-justice! Those small tires, along with the three full-sized versions that they hoped to give DeGraaf, were with them during a press conference on the state of women's rights in Kansas. Planned Parenthood, Kansas ACLU representatives, Democratic politicians, and nearly two-dozen supporters were also there.
"These remarks, once again, portray Kansas as a state that could care
less about insulting and denigrating its very citizens," Rinker said, noting that in the last year, changing state laws and restrictions on abortion providers had seriously impaired not only women's lawful rights to abortion services but also basic health care as well.
If you've yet to let DeGraaf know how you feel about his support of separate, abortion-specific health-care policies for women, or for just being a shitty public speaker, again you can reach him at his office (785-296-7693), home (316-777-0715) or e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Again, keep it civil, people. And if you want to join the opposition, contact Kansas NOW on ways you can support women's rights in the Sunflower State.
Hopefully we can all meet back here Monday with some video of DeGraaf getting his tires.