As governor of a “Culture of Life state,” Kansas Governor Sam Brownback sent a letter Friday morning to President Donald Trump, House Speaker Paul Ryan, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, asking national Republicans to implement a four-point pro-life agenda.
“There are few things more essential to the identity of America than the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” Brownback declared. “A prerequisite for all other human rights, life is a gift endowed by our Creator. But this unalienable right is not equally protected for all our citizens; the youngest, smallest, and most vulnerable among us are suffering. The unborn children of America deserve a chance at life.”
Brownback added that “now science confirms what many knew by instinct — that life begins at conception.” He also mentioned ultrasound technology that allows mothers and fathers to see the fingers and toes of unborn babies, and a recent Marist poll which found a majority of Americans from both parties support meaningful restrictions on abortion.
From his position as leader of a “Culture of Life state,” Brownback said Kansas has enacted no fewer than seventeen pro-life laws, and suggested four key reforms for the national level.
First, the governor asked the president and congressional Republicans to defund Planned Parenthood. “An organization that traffics baby body parts for corporate profit is antithetical to human dignity,” Brownback declared. He noted that a majority of Americans oppose taxpayer funding for abortion, and mentioned a Kansas law “rerouting funding towards the many women’s health clinics that actually provide prenatal care and other key women’s health services.”
Brownback also advocated for a “Pain Capable Act,” citing scientific research showing that an unborn baby can feel pain twenty weeks after conception. “Because of this fact, doctors routinely use fetal anesthesia while performing fetal surgery on children of this age,” the governor noted. He argued that “a majority of Americans believe abortions should be illegal by this point in the child’s development,” and that allowing abortions after a fetus can feel pain would be to support “cruel and unusual punishment.”
The governor also championed a “Dismemberment Abortion Ban,” which would ban the practice of abortion by dismembering a fetus’ body. Brownback argued that this “barbaric” practice is “reminiscent of medieval torture practices,” as they involve tearing “limbs from unborn children prior to the termination of their life.” A civilized society “cannot subject our unborn children to this inhumane and indefensible practice.”
Finally, Brownback pushed a federal “Sex-Selective Abortion Ban.” This kind of legislation would prevent a mother from getting an abortion just because of the sex of the fetus. This practice is more common in East Asia, where boys are more valued than girls for the family’s honor and survival, but some Americans have reportedly done it as well.
“No child should be discriminated against because of their sex,” the governor wrote. “Equal protection of unborn lives is just and right. Kansas ended sex-selective abortions, promising both unborn girls and boys alike the opportunity of life.”
Brownback argued that “with modern science and technology, the humanity of unborn children cannot be denied.” He insisted that crisis pregnancies do not leave women with only one option, namely abortion. He also quoted Mother Teresa, who told Americans to give children a home rather than aborting them. “My family is blessed with adopted children. We as a people can and will care for these precious children.”
Finally, the Kansas governor argued that national Republicans cannot delay. “The time to take action is now. With the new administration in Washington and both houses of Congress controlled by pro-life majorities, we must grasp the opportunity to proclaim and protect the dignity of life.”
Last month, President Trump signed an executive order reinstating the “Mexico City Policy,” which bans federal funding for abortion overseas, a general policy which the Marist poll found 83 percent of Americans support. Unfortunately, the Senate is mostly tied up in nomination battles, where Democrats are fighting to delay the Republican agenda by turning routine confirmations into long-term congressional battles.
Even so, Congress will have to get back to work eventually. When it does, Trump, House Speaker Ryan, and Majority Leader McConnell have a list to start from.