What’s the Matter with Kansas?
Once again—hello, straight people? The Right’s war on sexual freedom isn’t just about taking down gay sex and abortion. They want to criminalize sex, period, not just gay sex. From today’s Kansas City Star:
Kansas AG lauds teen-sex ruling
Bolstered by an appellate court ruling, Kansas Attorney General Phill Kline on Saturday said he would demand anew that all health professionals report cases of underage sexual activity.
The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday overturned a federal district judge’s order that had blocked the state from enforcing a law requiring reports of consensual sexual activity among children under 16…. “These laws are important tools to bring child rapists to justice,ā€¯ Kline said.
An attorney for the New York-based Center for Reproductive Rights, which had obtained the initial court order, said the new ruling will not take effect for at least two weeks. Also, a trial focusing on another part of the legal challenge to the reporting requirements is scheduled to begin Monday in federal court in Wichita.
“The gravest concern is that a lack of confidentiality will drive adolescents away from health care they need,ā€¯ said Bonnie Scott Jones, an attorney with the center, a nonprofit organization that is active in abortion and reproductive health-care laws and policies.
The legal dispute over reporting requirements stems from an opinion that Kline issued in 2003 about a 1982 state law. Kline said that doctors, nurses, social workers and other licensed professionals are required to report cases of sexual activity involving an adolescent under 16, even if it was consensual activity between two persons of about the same age.
Sexual contact with or among children under 16 is against the law in Kansas. Kline contends that even consensual sex is harmful to children.
This is so fucked up I don’t even know where to begin. Suppose a 15 year-old contracts a sexually transmitted disease from, say, another 15 year-old—are they going to seek treatment if they fear being reported? Or arrested? What sexually active teenager will confide in a therapist in Kansas? What about high school seniors, age 17, dating high school sophomores, age 15? Arrest them too?
Some teenagers are sexually active, as much as it pains the right wingers, and they need access to birth control, condoms, and responsible adults who can help them access health care and good info. This is just nuts—nuts.
And, hey, my sex advice column runs in Kansas, and I occassionally from people under the age of 16 who are sexually active. Am I required to report them to the police now too?