Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback compares abortion to slavery

Brownback made the offensive comparison during his State of the State remarks

Published January 16, 2014 10:42PM (EST)


Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback on Wednesday night compared the anti-abortion movement in Wichita (home of Operation Rescue and where George Tiller was murdered in 2009 by an anti-abortion activist) to the abolitionist movement.

"The chains of bondage of our brothers rubbed our skin and our hearts raw until we could stand it no more and erupted into `Bleeding Kansas,'" Brownback said during his State of the State address, referring to a bloody conflict over slavery in the Kansas territory. "The Summer of Mercy sprung forth in Kansas as we could no longer tolerate the death of innocent children.”

As the Associated Press notes, the "Summer of Mercy" demonstrations in 1991 "brought thousands of anti-abortion protesters to Wichita and put a spotlight on Tiller, who was among a handful of U.S. physicians performing abortions in the final weeks of pregnancies."

Peter Brownlie, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri, called Brownback's comparison "insensitive," and noted that the Summer of Mercy protests began a cycle of extremism among anti-choice activists in Kansas and across the country, a very different outcome than a movement to end slavery.

“That event brought thousands of extremists into Kansas from around the country,” Brownlie said.


By Katie McDonough

Katie McDonough is Salon's politics writer, focusing on gender, sexuality and reproductive justice. Follow her on Twitter @kmcdonovgh or email her at kmcdonough@salon.com.

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Abortion Gop Racism Republicans Sam Brownback Slavery