In Kansas, Legalizing Switchblades Is Less Controversial Than Protecting Women’s Health

The Wichita Eagle reports that a bill to legalize switchblade and stiletto knives passed the Kansas Senate on Wednesday “[w]ith little discussion and no dissent.” If passed by the state House and signed into law, it would remove the knives from the state’s banned weapons list — although under a 1958 federal law, the manufacture, sale, or possession of switchblades in interstate commerce will remain prohibited, and the knives will continue to be banned from federal and tribal facilities and lands.

One lawmaker claimed the current ban is mostly due to the stigma attached to the weapon’s name:

“It (the word switchblade) sounds dangerous and negative,” said Rep. Sue Boldra, R-Hays. “However, living in America, I still believe that a law-abiding citizen has many rights.”

In fact, abortion stigma has made that sentiment equally true of the word “abortion,” leading many states to enact laws that curtail women’s rights and their ability to make their own health care decisions. But the similarities between these arguments didn’t stop Rep. Boldra and many of her conservative colleagues from voting for a 70-page omnibus anti-abortion bill currently making its way through the Kansas legislature. That measure threatens to outlaw all abortions by redefining life in the state Constitution with “personhood trigger” in case Roe v. Wade is overturned, requires doctors to misinform patients about the medical risks of abortions, and lacks exceptions for victims of rape or incest seeking to terminate a pregnancy.


Kansas is hardly unique in its efforts to make it harder for women to have control over their own health care choices — many GOP-controlled state legislatures have been picking away at constitutionally protected abortion rights, be it through TRAP laws intended to force abortion clinics to close or heartbeat bills that would effectively outlaw abortion before most women even know they are pregnant.

Thanks to these types of legislation, there are now a number of states where it’s easier to get a gun than an abortion. In Kansas, it may soon be easier to get a switchblade.