Kansas Senate Approves Fetal Pain, Abortion Consent Bills

By: Associated Press Email
By: Associated Press Email

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March 23, 2011

The Kansas Senate has given final approval to a bill restricting late-term abortions based on the presumption that a fetus feels pain after the 21st week of pregnancy.

Wednesday's 24-13 vote sends the measure to Gov. Sam Brownback.

The bill passed the House earlier.

The bill allows an abortion after the 21st week of pregnancy
only if the mother's life is in danger or she faces substantial and
permanent harm to "a major bodily function," which would exclude
mental health.

The legislation ties the restrictions to a legal presumption
that a fetus can feel pain after the 21st week. The science behind
that presumption is still in dispute, however.

The Senate also passed a second bill adding restrictions to
late-term abortions and requiring parental consent for minors to
have abortions.

The 24-15 votes Wednesday by which the Kansas Senate approved two bills sought by abortion opponents.

All senators voted the same way on both measures.

The first measure tightens restrictions on abortions after the
21st week of pregnancy based on disputed assertions that the fetus
can feel pain, and it went to Gov. Sam Brownback.

The other measure requires doctors to obtain the written
permission of both parents before performing an abortion on a
minor. It returned to the House for consideration of Senate

Of the 32 Republicans, 23 voted "yes," eight voted "no" and
one did not vote.

Of the eight Democrats, one voted "yes" and seven voted
Steve Abrams, Arkansas City.
Pat Apple, Louisburg.
Terry Bruce, Hutchinson.
Jay Emler, Lindsborg.
Dick Kelsey, Goddard.
Jeff King, Independence.
Jeff Longbine, Emporia.
Garrett Love, Montezuma.
Julia Lynn, Olathe.
Bob Marshall, Fort Scott.
Ty Masterson, Andover.
Carolyn McGinn, Sedgwick.
Ray Merrick, Stilwell.
Steve Morris, Hugoton.
Rob Olson, Olathe.
Ralph Ostmeyer, Grinnell.
Mike Petersen, Wichita.
Mary Pilcher-Cook, Shawnee.
Dennis Pyle, Hiawatha.
Mark Taddiken, Clifton.
Ruth Teichman, Stafford.
Dwayne Umbarger, Thayer.
Susan Wagle, Wichita.

Pete Brungardt, Salina.
Terrie Huntington, Fairway.
Tim Owens, Overland Park.
Roger Reitz, Manhattan.
Vicki Schmidt, Topeka.
Jean Schodorf, Wichita.
Chris Steineger, Kansas City.
John Vratil, Leawood.

Les Donovan, Wichita.

Allen Schmidt, Hays.

Oletha Faust-Goudeau, Wichita.
Marci Francisco, Lawrence.
David Haley, Kansas City.
Anthony Hensley, Topeka.
Tom Holland, Baldwin City.
Laura Kelly, Topeka.
Kelly Kultala, Kansas City.

--Planned Parenthood response;

The Kansas Senate passed both the Pre-Viability Abortion Ban (HB 2218; Kinzer, et al) and the Omnibus Abortion Restriction Bill (HB 2035; Kinzer, et al) today. The bills were passed by the Kansas House in February. Today’s action further demonstrates the Kansas Legislature’s fixation on mandating government instrusion into the private medical decisions of families by passing extreme measures that put the health and safety of women at risk while ignoring the real problems facing Kansans – the budget crisis, economy and jobs.

“HB 2218 jeopardizes a woman’s health,” said Peter Brownlie, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri. “While rare, an abortion that takes place after 22 weeks into a pregnancy is most often necessary because of a severe fetal indication or serious medical condition that endangers the life or health of the mother. This bill is an attack on women and families facing wanted pregnancies that have gone terribly wrong.”

HB 2035, while labeled a “late-term” bill by proponents, contains approximately 26 of 35 provisions that apply to abortions at any point in pregnancy. The bill will require minors who seek abortions to obtain consent from both parents and creates complex new rules for minors who seek judicial bypass.

“As parents, we all want our daughters to come to us when facing an unintended pregnancy,” said Brownlie. “And, in fact, the vast majority do. However, the unfortunate reality, which this legislature refuses to acknowledge, is that not all families are healthy and functional. The safety of young women must remain the priority.”

“Women have abortions for many different reasons,” Brownlie continued, “and each person’s circumstances are different. Even if we don’t know a woman’s circumstances, we can respect how hard she is struggling to make the best decision for herself and her family. Accepting someone’s decision does not mean we have to agree with it; however, these must ultimately be private decisions made by women and their doctors, not political mandates.”

“Neither bill does anything to reduce the number of abortions in Kansas, but we know what does work – access to affordable birth control and comprehensive sex education.”

Planned Parenthood is disappointed that the Kansas Legislature has once again put the health and safety of Kansas women and families at risk in the name of political posturing. PPKM urges Governor Brownback to protect the private medical decisions of families from unconstitutional government interference. Kansas elected officials should put politics aside and put the health of women and families first by passing prevention legislation like access to affordable birth control and comprehensive sex education.

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