LETTER: Stop the lies

Rep. Jeff Pittman

To the editor:

This past week, I’ve seen that more mailers and ads have been sent to residents in state Senate District 5 containing misleading statements regarding my voting record as your Kansas representative. It is time to correct those lies.

Attack ads claim I voted to allow 14-year-olds to get abortions without notifying parents. I never voted for this. Attack ads claim I supported live-dismemberment abortions, which I also never voted on. These are all terrible lies. Other attack ads claim I have voted to spend tax dollars to pay for abortions. I have never done so. This statute is known as the Hyde Amendment. In Kansas there is a statute (K.S.A. 65-6733) that prevents the use of state funds to provide abortions except as required by federal law. I’ve actually supported several House floor amendments that would explicitly ban state-funded abortions should federal laws change and we expand Medicaid.

In another attack, they point out I voted “no” on the so-called Abortion Reversal Pill. The bill would have mandated that doctors tell women this is a viable option to reverse abortions. To be clear, there is no FDA-approved Abortion Reversal Pill. Rather, there is an experimental technique that has been discredited by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. As an engineer, I believe science requires a theory must be tested and proven safe before it is put into everyday practice. When this method was tested, it resulted in 1 in 4 women getting sent to the emergency room due to severe hemorrhaging that could have led to death. Why would we make a law forcing doctors to recommend this technique?

Finally, the House voted on a potential constitutional amendment around abortion, which has been well publicized. I agree it’s appropriate to then have a vote on the amendment by the electorate, making sure all citizens have a say on this important and sensitive issue. However, we are laying the foundation of law and, should federal laws change in the next decades, we have a responsibility to craft a proposal with definitions and guide rails we can accept. The proposed constitutional amendment failed to do that.

I voted “no” on the proposed amendment because the language did not protect the life of a mother facing a life-threatening pregnancy. This is most important to me. I would never agree to an amendment that would condemn a pregnant woman to die and leave her remaining children motherless, possibly orphaned, because she was forced to carry a life-endangering pregnancy. The long-term harmful effects on those motherless children are unimaginably cruel.

Keep in mind, despite a 2019 Supreme Court ruling, the Legislature is still free to, and has, set reasonable regulations, restrictions and protections around abortion. The Court’s ruling does not prohibit all regulation from the Legislature as has been falsely argued.

My opponent stands on the side of the extremists, refusing to budge and work through a more appropriate amendment that would be acceptable to a majority. The groups supporting him rely on bullying and threats, and have damaged their position more than aiding it. We have been inundated with materials from outside our area in effort to obfuscate this issue, clearly for political gain. Unfortunately, they are using these mailers and ads to hide the fact that they support forcing victims of rape and incest to bear their rapist’s children by excluding from their constitutional amendment any exemptions for those women and young girls victimized by such heinous acts.

I hope my positions on these issues have been clarified.  I invite readers to contact me if they have additional questions about my true voting record on them.