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The scourge of state-mandated lies

Phil In Kansas/Flickr

Late Friday night, both chambers of Kansas' state legislature approved something called the "Women's Right to Know Act," which as NPR reported, declares that life begins "at fertilization," prohibits abortions related to the baby's sex, and blocks tax breaks for health care providers that perform abortions.

And while this assault on reproductive rights is itself significant, this was the part of the story that stood out for me.

The bill, called The Women's Right to Know Act, also requires doctors to provide controversial information to patients either seeking or inquiring about an abortion of a link between the procedure and breast cancer. The National Cancer Institute concluded in 2003 that abortion does not raise the risk for breast cancer, but physicians would have to address the issue as a "potential risk" for women seeking an abortion.

The Wichita Eagle reported that Rep. Annie Kuether, D-Topeka, responded to the bill's passage by saying the measure should be called "the Women's Right to Be Lied to Act."

During the fight over the Affordable Care Act, Republicans decried the very idea of government putting itself between patients and their physicians. The complaint never made much sense -- there's nothing in "Obamacare" that interferes with the doctor-patient relationship -- but it was a mainstay of GOP talking points for months.

A few years later, many Republican policymakers find nothing problematic about proposals like the Women's Right to Know Act, which (a) puts government between patients and physicians; (b) gives instructions to medical professionals as to what they must say, whether the doctors want to or not; and (c) mandates that patients receive information that isn't true.

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback is expected to sign the bill into law.

If there's a more pernicious example of big-government conservatism than state-mandated medical lies, I can't think of it.