Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback (R) has signed a stringent anti-abortion bill that blocks tax breaks for abortion providers, requires doctors to tell women about the disputed link between abortion and breast cancer, and defines life as beginning at conception in the state constitution. However, despite the fact that the omnibus legislation is 70 pages long, it does not necessarily explicitly state everything that the Republican governor wishes to convey on the abortion issue.
Before Brownback signed HB 2253 into law at a ceremony at the statehouse on Friday, an AP photo reveals that he made a few additions of his own in his notes on the bill. He typed out some phrases — “building a culture of life,” and “all human life is sacred” — that he ended up using in his speech to abortion opponents before approving the legislation, and he also scribbled “JESUS + Mary” at the top of the paper (second enlarged image via Gawker):
Of course, this is hardly the first time a politician has invoked religious belief to justify their opposition to legal abortion rights, regardless of the historical separation of church and state in the United States. That’s partly because the anti-choice community has worked hard to brand reproductive freedom as entirely antithetical to the Christian faith. Catholic lawmakers in particular are often hostile to abortion rights even when they are more moderate on other social issues.
But even though Brownback may invoke the Christian faith as he approves some of the harshest abortion restrictions in the nation, his position isn’t necessarily representative of the Christian coalition in the United States. Reproductive rights aren’t actually always in sharp opposition to religion. People of faith support women’s access to contraception, and most religious groups don’t want to overturn Roe v. Wade. In fact, over 75 percent of white Protestants — along with 65 percent of black Protestants and 63 percent of white Catholics — support women’s constitutional right to legal abortion services.