Bills to tighten late-term laws

Abortion hearings

Hearings on House Bills 2615 and 2736 will be at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday before the House Federal and State Affairs Committee in Room 313-South in the Capitol.

? The abortion wars continue in the Kansas Legislature this week.

The House Federal and State Affairs Committee will have hearings on two bills that anti-abortion advocates say will improve enforcement of late-term abortions.

“All Kansans have a right to expect that existing laws limiting late-term abortions in Kansas will be followed and enforced,” said state Rep. Lance Kinzer, R-Olathe.

But abortion rights advocates say the measures constitute harassment of those trying to terminate their pregnancies.

“Once again, legislators are abusing their power and position so they can pry into women’s medical records, as well as the records of reproductive health care providers,” the group ProKanDo said in a statement.

The bills hit the Legislature as a grand jury in Wichita is investigating Dr. George Tiller, one of the few late-term abortion providers in the nation. Tiller has denied any wrongdoing. And in Johnson County, a grand jury is investigating Planned Parenthood’s clinic in Overland Park. Planned Parenthood also denies any wrongdoing. Both grand juries were seated by petition drives spearheaded by anti-abortion groups.

On the legislative front, Kinzer has sponsored House Bills 2615 and 2736.

Among the numerous changes to the state’s late-term abortion law, the proposals would require abortion providers to offer a woman the opportunity to view an ultrasound image of the fetus.

Another provision would allow prosecution for violation of Kansas’ late-term abortion law to be brought by the attorney general, or district or county attorney where the alleged violation occurred.

Kinzer called the measures “common sense protective provisions.”

But ProKanDo described them as “outrageous bills” that will affect “all women who come from across the country seeking reproductive health care, as Kansas is home to one of the few late-term providers in the nation.”

Under Kansas law, abortions of viable fetuses are prohibited after the 22nd week of pregnancy unless necessary to save the mother’s life or prevent severe harm to the woman’s physical or mental health.