House gives final OK to anti-abortion measure

? The Kansas House today gave final approval to insurance legislation aimed at helping universities, but which also included an anti-abortion amendment.

The bill was approved 110-14 and will now go to the Senate for consideration.

Rep. Dale Swenson, R-Wichita, spoke against the measure today, saying, “I’m pro-life, but sometimes abortion is the only way to save a woman’s life.”

The underlying bill would allow Kansas University and other state universities to buy health insurance that could be provided to students, including those employed as graduate teaching assistants and graduate research assistants.

Currently, multiple agencies are involved in providing the voluntary health insurance. The bill would bring the purchasing power under one buyer – the Kansas Board of Regents – and provide better coverage, officials said.

But on Tuesday in the House, Rep. Dick Kelsey, R-Goddard, amended the bill so the health insurance couldn’t provide coverage for abortions.

“So the state won’t be funding abortions,” Kelsey said when asked why he proposed the amendment. “It may be a legal procedure, but it’s not a moral one.”

Rep. Tom Sloan, R-Lawrence, chairman of the House Higher Education Committee, urged colleagues to reject Kelsey’s amendment.

“This is not the time or the vehicle to have this debate,” Sloan said. “This is an insurance bill, not an abortion bill.”

But the House approved Kelsey’s amendment on a 72-50 vote.