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What was your objection to H.B. 62, the "conscience" bill?
My biggest problem is the word "refer." Pharmacists and physicians who object morally to abortion and birth control no longer have to refer patients to someone who will help them. I spoke to a number of pharmacists before this bill came to the floor, and they all said the same thing: If you don't believe in something, you have every right not to do it. But to refuse to refer a patient is different. That's imposing your religious beliefs, or whatever belief system you have, on someone else. And that's just wrong. We're supposed to have freedom of religion in this country.
Why do you think these bills get so much support in the House?
I think, in general, it gets very stressful in the House when there are abortion bills on the floor, no matter what side you're on. Lots of people want to be considered completely, 100 percent, with Kansans for Life. If they don't know where Kansans for Life stands on a certain issue, they'll just vote "No" to be safe.
As a Republican, does it worry you to vote against these bills?
My district is moderate and has been that way for a while, and I believe I represent the majority. I bring my background in medicine and bioethics into my votes. With abortion, there are always people on both sides, and people differ on it. But it's so little of what we do.
By the Numbers
Amount, so far, that the Kansas Attorney General's Office has paid outside lawyers to defend the state against challenges to anti-abortion legislation enacted in 2011.
Amount that Planned Parenthood would have lost in funds for non-abortion services, had federal courts not enjoined the law and ordered the state to continue funding Planned Parenthood.
Population of Wichita, Kansas, as of the 2010 Census.
Abortions performed in Wichita since abortion provider George Tiller was murdered in church in 2009 by an anti-abortion activist.
Number of abortion clinics in the state of Kansas.
Number of abortion clinics in Kansas outside the Kansas City metropolitan area.