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Women march on state capitol

April 28, 2012|by Jim Grawe | KWCH 12 Eyewitness News

(TOPEKA, Kan.) — A group of about 400 Kansas women (and some men) descended on the Kansas Statehouse.

"Today's rally was part of a national movement that has had enough of the war on women," rally organizer Kari Ann Rinker says.

While there was a similar rally in every state, organizers say their cause is of particular urgency in Kansas right now given the current wave of conservatism that is dominating state government here.

"Not only do we have a governor who sees fit to sign every piece of anti-choice legislation that crosses his desk, the atrocity is the failure to care for the living, breathing children and families that reside here in Kansas," Rinker says.

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Rinker is state coordinator for the National Organization for Women.  She says Kansas women are under assault by laws and policies that impact what she calls "reproductive rights."

"What we can do is organize at a grassroots level and bring public awareness to these atrocities," Rinker says.

Conservative activist Susan Estes agrees that women should be heard, but she isn't sold on this message.

"I love to hear women's issues talked about," Estes says.  "I am disappointed to hear them so narrowly defined."

Estes says the protesters at the rally don't speak for her or thousands of other Kansas women.

"To me, the most important issue is not (whether) women can get access to abortion, because there are a lot of women who are opposed to abortion," Estes says.

Estes says problems such as high gas prices, high unemployment and low graduation rates impact more women than the issues the protesters raise.

Rinker, meanwhile, says the turnout at the rally was strong.  She says it indicates the message expressed there does indeed resonate with Kansas women.

Group is fighting what they call a "war on women."
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