Kansas Set To Enact Sweeping Anti-Abortion Law

by
Reuters
Kansas lawmakers sent the governor a sweeping anti-abortion bill that bans Planned Parenthood from providing sex education materials in schools and defines life as beginning at conception.

Sam Brownback

Kansas lawmakers sent the governor a sweeping anti-abortion bill that bans Planned Parenthood from providing sex education materials in schools and defines life as beginning at conception.

The 70-page bill passed 90-30 in the Kansas House of Representatives late on Friday night after easily clearing the Senate earlier in the day. Governor Sam Brownback, a Republican strongly against abortion, was expected to sign it.

Opponents of the measure say it contains numerous provisions that limit a woman's right to an abortion.

Advocates said it mainly codifies existing practices while helping women make more informed choices.

"This fulfills the legislative intent to create a pro-life state," said Kathy Ostrowski, legislative director of Kansans for Life, an anti-abortion group.

The Kansas bill is the latest in a national fight that has seen lawmakers in several states pass new restrictions on abortion in the past two years.
 

Those have included laws approved in recent weeks in North Dakota and Arkansas that are seen as direct challenges to the U.S. Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade ruling in 1973 legalizing abortion.

The Kansas bill prohibits use of public funds, tax preferences or tax credits for abortion services.

The bill also requires abortion clinics to provide printed material about the fetus' stages of development, a link to websites, material and organizations that help pregnant women, and an explanation of legal responsibilities for an unborn child.

The bill bars school districts from letting abortion providers such as Planned Parenthood offer, sponsor or furnish course materials or instruction on human sexuality or on sexually transmitted diseases.

The bill defines life as beginning at fertilization, but does not ban abortion from that point. Several other states are considering so-called "personhood" measures that seek to enshrine life-at-conception in state constitutions. Such measures have failed in the past when put to a referendum of voters, most recently in Mississippi.