Archive for Thursday, February 24, 2011

Kansas House approves Nebraska-style fetal pain abortion bill

February 24, 2011


— New restrictions on abortions in Kansas easily cleared the state House on Thursday, including a fetal pain bill to block late-term procedures like a law Nebraska enacted last year and a requirement for doctors to get parents' consent before ending a minor's pregnancy.

The House approved two bills and sent them to the Senate, where members weren't sure how they'd fare, despite support there for new restrictions in the past.

The House vote on the fetal pain bill was 91-30. The other measure, with the parental consent requirement, was approved 96-25 and makes numerous other changes, many of which had been vetoed by former Democratic governors who supported abortion rights.

Abortion opponents see the measures as tightening the state's laws on abortion enough to prevent Kansas from regaining a past reputation as center for late-term procedures, a distinction it had for years because of Dr. George Tiller's clinic in Wichita until he was shot to death in 2009.

"It moves us to absolutely the forefront with respect to how restrictive our laws would be with respect to late-term abortion," House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lance Kinzer, an Olathe Republican and strong supporter of both measures, said after the chamber debated them Wednesday.

But critics said the measures go further than restricting late-term procedures and argue they would endanger women's health. Peter Brownlie, president and chief executive of Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri, predicted the fetal pain measure, based on disputed science, would draw a court challenge.

"Women have abortions for many different reasons, and each person's circumstances are different," Brownlie said. "These must ultimately be private decisions made by women and their doctors, not political mandates."

The Republican-controlled Legislature has had majorities in both chambers for much of the past decade inclined to impose new restrictions on abortion, particularly in the House. Bills were repeatedly vetoed by Democratic Govs. Mark Parkinson and Kathleen Sebelius, but GOP Gov. Sam Brownback, who was elected last year, is a strong abortion opponent and has called on lawmakers to create "a culture of life."

As for the two bills, Mary Kay Culp, executive director of the anti-abortion group Kansans for Life, said, "It's not everything all at once, but it's progress."

The bill containing the parental consent requirement also includes provisions to strengthen reporting requirements for doctors who perform late-term procedures and to allow lawsuits against them over potentially illegal abortions.

The proposed parental consent rule changes a law that now requires only that a doctor notify a parent or guardian before a minor's abortion, something anti-abortion groups say is easy to circumvent.

The abortion provider would have to obtain the consent in writing from either both parents or a guardian, though it would allow the minor to go to court to get around the rule.

The fetal pain bill bans abortions after the 21st week of pregnancy unless a woman or girl faces death or faces substantial and permanent damage to "a major bodily function," rewriting the definition of that term so that it excludes mental health. The ban assumes that after the 21st week of pregnancy, the fetus is capable of feeling pain.

Current state law restricts abortions after the 21st week when a doctor determines the fetus to be viable. The bill rewrites the definition of viability, tying it to the fetal pain standard, leaving physicians no discretion to declare that a fetus at that stage isn't viable.

The bill says there's a growing body of research, especially in the last few years, to suggest fetuses can feel pain by the 20th week of pregnancy. Supporters said there are hundreds of studies showing it, and the research is backed up by the use of anesthesia in fetal surgeries.

"Our unborn children's agony is no less just because we can't hear their screams," said Rep. John Rubin, a Shawnee Republican.

But the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has said it knows of no legitimate evidence showing a fetus can experience pain. The group holds that certain hormones developing in the final trimester must be present for a fetus to feel pain.

Rep. Barbara Bollier, a Mission Hills Republican and retired anesthesiologist, said the bill's declaration about when a fetus can feel pain is false.

"It's trying to establish something as a scientific fact that is not so," she said.


TheStonesSuck 7 years ago

Nan-ny State! Nan-ny State!! C'mon everybody with me now! Nan-ny State! Nan-ny State!!!!

Mary Alexander 7 years ago

One step forward and 20 steps back. This is so wrong on all fronts. It is my body so no one should be able to decide what I want to do other than my doctor and husband. This should never be a Government issue.

jhawkinsf 7 years ago

You're the only person I've seen writing here that would give the husband a right to decide. Are you sure you meant to say that?

Blessed4x 7 years ago glad to see this. One more step to sound, rational, compassionate thinking. Yay.

/flameaway haters

echarles 7 years ago

With our population approaching 7 billion and predicted to be 9 billion by 2050, I'm sorry to say folks, but we are going to have to stop wasting our time with this human condition stuff. Especially with regards to religiously bound arguments. Its time to grow up and realize that its not always going to be about preserving life, but rather feeding 9 BILLION MOUTHS! Not to sound compassionless, but third-trimester fetuses along with many, many others things are going to have to go on the back-burner for our leaders.

Mike Hoffmann 7 years ago

Come out this weekend and check out my band, Nebraska-Style Fetal Pain.

echarles 7 years ago

Can we please take half of this effort and move it towards persons that are already alive and suffering out of the womb?? Trust me, no baby is suffering in the womb. The only suffering being done over this issue, is being done by the religiously entitled who want to dump their bible-psychobabble all over us to make nonsensical points. Pain at 21 weeks??? Don't be fooled by an attempt to put secular persuasion on a religious issue. A anesthesiologist said its a bogus argument. Done, and done.

echarles 7 years ago

I'm glad my mother was 33 year old healthy woman, not needing one of the thousands reasons to get an abortion.

Eddie Muñoz 7 years ago

Get the government out of our lives! (Unless it's something to do with religion, then never mind.)

CHKNLTL 7 years ago

all brands of CONDOMS are on closeout at Dillons 3000 w. 6th st. as low as $3 a box. and Planned Parenthood of Lawrence has been closed for awhile now. Their Plan: everyone get out and breed so there's more people to pay into failing govt programs like social security and Medicare! --this is a government order, from the top. Someday, there will be so many people on earth, we will be fumigated like fleas in a slum carpet.

Shane Garrett 7 years ago

Soylent Green will keep people healthy. Puppy Chow aka People Feed.

CHKNLTL 7 years ago

Save your strawberry jam - it'll go for $150 a jar someday.

BigPrune 7 years ago

I read one time that everyone on the planet could live in the state of Texas, leaving the rest of the world empty of humans, and the people per mile would be the same as the largest city in the world.

jonas_opines 7 years ago

My goodness, it's almost like scarcity of physical space is less of an issue than scarcity of resources and the logistics of providing those resources to the people, or something.

Cait McKnelly 7 years ago

I should be amazed at how this state tries so hard to "legislate" science. But then I think about the "Intelligent Design" fiasco

Jamminalive 7 years ago

I really wish that any of you actually knew what you were talking about, just so you guys know, this country isn't all Christian, and for those who are Christian, it's likey that an abundant amount have had an abortion, I'm sorry, I know it doesn't quite outline "Christianity" I could go on

Brian Laird 7 years ago

I'm sure that if you went to the beach and stomped on a pregnant woman, you would get more than a fine. So, your analogy is bogus.

jayhawkca 7 years ago

Rdragon, I think you meant to say you're welcome.

You're welcome.

Thats_messed_up 7 years ago

"elections have consequences" ha ha ha

Cait McKnelly 7 years ago

It's about your morality. and your willingness to impose it on others who have just as much (if not more) of a physical stake in it as the potential human involved. Can I make a suggestion? Please read "Stories of the Unborn Soul" by Elisabeth Hallet.

echarles 7 years ago

Do you know anything about anything? Are you one of those people who just throw "moral" around like a security blanket for the slow and incompetent? Nice little poem though.

echarles 7 years ago

Then please stop putting those asterisks around your words. Are you footnoting something? Morality is something that is subjective and depends solely on the experiences of the subject. If you grew up on a Somali pirate ship, then you would have some different morals than say, the Pope. Get it? So, no; morals really have nothing to offer here.

Corey Williams 7 years ago

Where does the almighty God prohibit abortion? Where in the bible does it tell us that abortion is bad? We don't need government interference to make sure our eggs aren't going to make us sick, so then why do we need to make sure that we can legislate "morality" onto those that we don't agree with? Why are people so stupid?

Cait McKnelly 7 years ago

Wow! I can tell you aren't a woman.

echarles 7 years ago

Please stop using that word as though its an overarching absolute that means the same thing to everyone. Please?

gogoplata 7 years ago

This all depends upon when an individual life is created.

If life begins at conception those individuals have rights that should be protected. It is the responsibility of the state to protect the individuals right to life. The minute a woman becomes pregnant then she is carrying an individual with rights. She does not have the right to take away the life of the unborn child.

If life does not begin at conception then we have to determine when life begins. It seems clear to me that life begins at conception.

I can't stand government over-involvement in peoples lifes. I hate seatbelt laws, non-smoking laws, speed limits, licensing, etc, but I do believe that one of the proper functions of government is to protect individuals against violence and abortion sure looks like violence to me.

Paul R Getto 7 years ago

Pelvic Orthodoxy: "The focus of orthodoxy enforcers is mutable. The inquisitors were not interested in Galileo’s views on masturbation or birth control. The orthodoxy concern was in the stars. Galileo would have no problem today. The focus has turned from astral to pelvic issues. The modern Christian inquisition will be heard from in the halls of legislatures if the issue is gay rights, sex education, erotic art, contraception or abortion. And here another dimension of authoritarian religion emerges, its inherent fascism. The desire is not just to control the faithful but to subdue the entire polity. The abortion issue illustrates this mind-set at work." (Daniel C. Maguire, Religion and Reproductive Policy.)

Paul R Getto 7 years ago

"And what of nonreligious moral perspectives on abortion." === Good point and a culture could outlaw abortion on 'moral' perspectives. Morality is also an invention and is worthy of discussion. Abortion is a tragedy, but should be 'safe, legal and rare.' Unfortunately, those who want to overlay a particular religion on a culture tend to argue against abortion, but do what they can to stand in the way of preventing unwanted pregnancies.

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