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Kansas legislature

Kansas Legislature

Kansas Senate advances sweeping anti-abortion measure

April 1, 2013

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— The Kansas Senate gave first-round approval Monday to new restrictions for abortion providers after refusing to add extra language aimed at bolstering existing protections for access to birth control.

Senators also rejected a proposal to add exceptions to the state’s current limits on abortions for pregnancies caused by rape or incest. They also retained a provision directing doctors to provide information to women about a disputed potential link between abortion and breast cancer before terminating their pregnancies.

Abortion opponents decried proposed rewrites of the bill as “gotcha” amendments and “political hijinks.” The bill would block tax breaks for abortion providers and prohibit them from supplying materials or instructors for public schools’ sex education courses. It would spell out in greater detail what information doctors must provide to patients before performing abortions and declare that life begins “at fertilization” and that “unborn children” have interests “that should be protected.”

The Senate advanced the measure on a voice vote, setting up final action Tuesday, when abortion opponents expect the legislation to pass because of the chamber’s solid anti-abortion majority. The House approved the measure last month, but senators made technical changes that House members would have to review before the legislation could go to Republican Gov. Sam Brownback, a strong abortion opponent.

Senators discussed the bill for more than two hours, and the debate grew heated. The proposals to add rape and incest exceptions to Kansas’ abortion restrictions and strip out the language on breast cancer were soundly rejected in the House.

“These amendments are little gotcha amendments,” Senate Majority Leader Terry Bruce, a Hutchinson Republican, said, his voice rising. “I’m getting a little irritated at it.”

The legislation is less restrictive than a new law recently enacted by North Dakota legislators to ban abortions as early as the sixth week of pregnancy or a new Arkansas law prohibiting most abortions after the 12th week.

But some abortion opponents still believe the Kansas measure would help continue a trend in which the state has seen abortions decline 37 percent over the past decade. Abortion-rights advocates view the measure as a major threat to access to abortion services and several groups issued a joint statement saying it “shows a complete disregard for women’s health.”

Senators who support abortion rights said they weren’t trying to show up abortion opponents by offering the amendments on birth control, rape and incest, and breast cancer. Sen. David Haley, a Kansas City Democrat, said he wanted to ensure that policies with broad support among Kansans aren’t eroded.

“It doesn’t matter to any of you, as long as that in utero is protected, above all else,” Haley told his colleagues. “You’re entitled to that, but stand up and be counted.”

Haley offered an amendment to add language to the measure saying that a woman couldn’t face prosecution or civil lawsuits for using birth control. The Senate voted 27-8 against Haley’s amendment after Public Health and Welfare Committee Chairwoman Mary Pilcher-Cook, a Shawnee Republican and strong abortion opponent, read existing protections in Kansas law for access to birth control.

“This is political hijinks,” Pilcher-Cook said. “We should be focused on the bill instead of trying to make political points.”

Haley also offered an amendment to create the rape and incest exception to the state’s abortion restrictions. It would have applied not only to a law banning most abortions starting in the 22nd week of pregnancy, but to restrictions on private health insurance coverage of elective abortions and a mandate that doctors obtain written consent from parents before performing abortions on minors.

“This language would completely undo 10 to 20 years of abortion legislation,” Pilcher-Cook said.

Sen. Pat Pettey, a Kansas City Democrat, offered the amendment to strip the bill of its language dealing with breast cancer. Like other abortion-rights supporters, she argues the provision would force doctors to provide misleading information to patients, something abortion opponents strongly dispute. The vote was 28-10 against Pettey’s proposal.

Scientists convened by the National Cancer Institute in 2003 concluded that abortion did not raise the risk of breast cancer. Abortion opponents still see a potential link because of evidence that carrying a fetus to term can lessen the risk of breast cancer.

Comments

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 1 year, 7 months ago

They're going to entitle it the "Women are Kansas's BabyFactories TM, bill."

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Pastor_Bedtime 1 year, 7 months ago

Try telling that to a rape victim. It's a shame you and your nanny-state big government believe you know what's right for everyone all the time.

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tomatogrower 1 year, 7 months ago

Well, Republicans only want abstinence, which is pretty unrealistic, see Miss Palin. They don't want insurance companies providing contraception, but they don't want abortions. And they don't want kids to have a realistic eduction about sex. Try coming out of the bubble.

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Mike1949 1 year, 7 months ago

Again the Republican party is attacking women and their right to choose. All I can say us Kansas has become a place that is really messed up. Personally I think every woman should get an attorney and sue the hell out of Kansas government. They no longer represent Kansans!

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fiddleback 1 year, 7 months ago

I too hope the court challenges are immediate, despite what it will cost the state. And don't forget that there's also the even bigger, uglier bill potentially coming down the pike directly challenging Roe...

They claim to lack enough time to get this passed in the current session, but brace yourself for next year...these guys are just warming up.

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Cait McKnelly 1 year, 7 months ago

fiddleback, they want to get it to SCOTUS before Scalia, Kennedy and (possibly) Thomas retire. (And that's even if SCOTUS agrees to hear it.) If even just ONE of those judges is replaced by an Obama nominee, their butt's cooked and they know it.
Isn't the Constitution a glorious thing?

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fiddleback 1 year, 7 months ago

Yes, I understand why they're racing against the clock, plus wouldn't cases first have to be brought before the Kansas Supreme Court? In any case, I'm sure that time and not money is their primary concern, esp. as there are already pro-life orgs. offering to foot the legal bills for North Dakota:

http://www.salon.com/2013/03/28/north_dakota_may_not_spend_a_dime_defending_unconstitutional_abortion_ban/
But then just maybe our brain trust will see fit to wait and observe how the North Dakota ban fares before taking a similar plunge. Afterall, they're already preparing to fight with the state Supreme Court over school funding, so maybe this is one battle they'll opt not to pick. I certainly wouldn't bet on it, but just maybe...

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Frederic Gutknecht IV 1 year, 7 months ago

Slavery is returning to Kansas...

as Brownbeak proffers freedumb to all carpetbaggers and 'uggers...

and costs us our future.

Kansas...

Creating slaves who can't afford to leave Kansas...

or afford to stay.

Give us your poor...your tired...your pregnant...your babies...your babies' futures...

We need your huddling masses...

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question4u 1 year, 7 months ago

"...retained a provision directing doctors to provide information to women about a disputed potential link between abortion and breast cancer...."

One of the least educated, and certainly the dumbest, legislatures that Kansas has ever had has introduced one bill to support doctors who lie to their patients and this bill, which requires doctors to provide patients with information even if they believe it is not credible.

Does it really seem likely that people who condone lies and force dissemination of disputed information in one context can be counted on to be trustworthy and morally upright in other contexts? These are the people who are determining the future of Kansas: people who are willing to pass laws that encourage lies and deceit.

Whether Democrat, Republican, Independent, or of any other political affiliation or perspective; whether anti-abortion, pro-abortion, or undecided, how can there be anyone who thinks that it is acceptable to pass laws that encourage doctors to lie to patients or forces them to tell patients about studies that they believe are unsound? That sounds like something straight out of North Korean politics, not something you'd expect in the United States.

Of course, Kansas becomes less like the United States every day.

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kuguardgrl13 1 year, 7 months ago

Nobody is "pro-abortion." We are pro-choice.

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Thomas Bryce 1 year, 7 months ago

Way to go KSM! Ole George doesn't pull any punches! ROFLMAO!

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Cait McKnelly 1 year, 7 months ago

http://www2.ljworld.com/weblogs/cait48/2013/mar/23/stop/
http://www2.ljworld.com/weblogs/cait48/2013/mar/28/stop-part-2/

The first post from March 23rd has been edited and updated for accuracy of numbers.
This law will face challenge before the ink is even dry from the Governor's signature and it won't hold up in court. That's the only ray of sunshine in the black hole of hell for women this law represents.

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Cait McKnelly 1 year, 7 months ago

Not very "pro-life", was she?
This is what stigmatization and lack of access does.
I don't have a lot of sympathy for the mother. She was 26, pregnant from an affair and didn't want her fiance finding out. This really IS "murder of babies". But unlike our unesteemed governor, I don't believe in "post birth abortion".

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msezdsit 1 year, 7 months ago

Nannies,Nannies,Nannies,Nannies,Nannies,Nannies,Nannies,Nannies, one for everything a women use to be able to do on her own. That big government really is a god send. Its everywhere a wacked out fringe right wing fanatical republican can be found. Anywhere women have a "right" the pubs got a nanny to takes its place

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Liberty275 1 year, 7 months ago

"The bill would block tax breaks for abortion providers"

LOL, corporate welfare.

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Cait McKnelly 1 year, 7 months ago

They didn't get any "tax breaks" in the first place. Of course the state has no control over what kind of exemptions they get on their Federal taxes. Poor babies.

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MarcoPogo 1 year, 7 months ago

Hahahahahaha!

"Poor babies"... I see what you did there. Hahahahahaha!

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Jock Navels 1 year, 7 months ago

"unborn children have interests that should be protected" from the same group of hypocritical troglodytes that want a law passed banning municipal investment in sustainable energy; one segment of the definition of sustainable being anything to do with preserving the environment for future generations. ha...

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Cait McKnelly 1 year, 7 months ago

"Yet in reading about the history of the anti-abortion movement, I'd kept running into one thing: many of the MEN (my emphasis) who'd spearheaded it had never gone out into the world and learned a skill, a craft or a profession, something that took years of effort and discipline, something based on actual experience and an accumulation of hard earned knowledge. They'd had intense religious conversions, emerged from these events "born again", and declared their passionate desire to improve the world or rid it of evil. They'd desperately wanted to do something good for their country and given themselves the job of altering the course of American political, legal and medical history, without anything approaching expertise in any of those fields."
Stephen Singular, "The Wichita Divide", pg 277
Sounds like a perfect description of Randall Terry, Troy Newman, Mark Gietzen and the other losers in the movement. They can't be "real men" so they do the next best thing and devote their lives to controlling women. Of course it doesn't help that they have "handmaidens" like Cheryl Sullenger, Mary Kay Culp and Regina Dinwiddie stroking their egos and telling them what "great men" they are; high priestesses to their particular cult and "god".

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mom_of_three 1 year, 6 months ago

How does this effect the morning after pill? Is she going to be asked if she wants to hear the heartbeat and view the sonogram the day after??

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mom_of_three 1 year, 7 months ago

"It would spell out in greater detail what information doctors must provide to patients before performing abortions and declare that life begins “at fertilization” and that “unborn children” have interests “that should be protected.”"

So the doctors are required to tell their patients that the fetus's life is more important than their own.

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Cait McKnelly 1 year, 7 months ago

Yep. You got it. And it's the thing in the bill/law that will get it flushed down the toilet by the Feds.

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mom_of_three 1 year, 7 months ago

what if a doctor doesn't believe thats its his place to say when life begins? What happens to an honest doctor?
Nothing like the legislature promoting their religious interests. I hope it gets smacked down and HARD.

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mom_of_three 1 year, 7 months ago

This legislature is laughable! All gung ho for gun rights but dont give a crap about women's rights.

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Cait McKnelly 1 year, 7 months ago

Congratulations to Julie Burkhart, Trust Women and South Winds.
This is what Troy Newman had to say about it.
"...they’re going to go out of business, because we’re going to make sure that it’s not economically feasible to run it.”
I'm curious to know how he intends to accomplish this goal.
Glue their locks every night so they have to keep a locksmith on staff?
Hire paid protesters to scream filthy names at women as they enter the clinic or lay down in front of cars?
Force them to spend tens of thousands of dollars on bullet proof vests, security systems and guards and other means to keep themselves from getting killed or permanently maimed?
Forcing them to keep a full time attorney on staff as they file nuisance lawsuit after nuisance lawsuit with the full backing and cooperation of the governor of the state? (Why not? After all, they let Newman's "handmaiden", Cheryl Sullenger, file the initial complaint against Kristin Neuhaus.)
Inquiring minds want to know.

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Cait McKnelly 1 year, 7 months ago

"Legal, safe and rare", Ag? I agree with you. But only to a point.
It's the "rare" part that brings me up short.
Don't get me wrong. I want it to be rare just as much as you and many other people do. But it's my REASONS for wanting it rare that are frequently different.
I (and a lot of others) want it rare simply because it's flat out healthier for all women not to have to go through the mental, emotional and physical stress of terminating a pregnancy.
Other people want it rare because, just like sex, they still attach a stigma to it. And that is just unfair to the women who face this in their present or have it in their past. It's still shaming women for something that in nearly every case was an extremely difficult decision to make. Women are very frail at that point in their lives and it's very judgmental and condescending to continue to stigmatize the whole thing. It's kicking them when their down and I refuse to do that.

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voevoda 1 year, 7 months ago

Imagine if the State Legislature treated protection of your home the way it is treating women protecting their own bodies:

Imagine laws that did this: If you find an intruder in your home, the law would not permit you just to take your firearm and shoot. You are not permitted to call the ordinary police and have them remove the intruder. Instead, you must hire a special security service--one with very few people. This security force is required to wear uniforms that are specifically and minutely regulated, and if one button is out of order, they are forbidden to operate. No member of the security force may volunteer at public schools to talk about safety. You must pay them out of your pocket, and then pay tax on top of it.

The first time the security service comes, they cannot remove the intruder. Instead, they are required by law to tell you that the intruder deserves to be protected, even if you are harmed as a result. They are required by law to tell you that if they remove the intruder, the chances that your roof will catch fire are greatly increased. If they can hear the intruder, then they are forbidden to remove him. If you did not call them promptly after you found the intruder, they are forbidden to remove him.

Instead of sympathizing with you about the need to expel the intruder, you are subjected to harangues. Did the intruder break in violently, and can you prove that you made every effort to secure your house? Did you make yourself a target by allowing expensive furnishings to be visible through the window? Why didn't you lock the door? After all, you can buy a lock for a dollar, so if you didn't you were just inviting the intruder to come in. You say that the intruder jimmied the lock? Probably you just didn't latch it properly. So you deserve to have the intruder foisted upon you, permanently.

You are told this: You should welcome the intruder. Make him part of your family; life is precious. At least keep him (at your expense and inconvenience) for nine months. Then you will have one (and only one) chance to give him up, if you are so hard-hearted. But if you don't, he is your responsibility, legally and financially, for the next 18 years. And if you're poor yourself, well, you should have locked your door. Or maybe you invited the intruder in so that you could get more welfare benefits, you taker you.

Maybe you have moral qualms. If the intruder isn't dangerous to you, maybe better to just wait until he leaves on his own. Maybe you believe the teachings of the Bible, and you have a pious responsibility to take the wretched poor into your home. But shouldn't you be the one to decide what to do? After all, it's your home.

Nobody likes having an intruder in their home. No woman likes having an unintentional pregnancy. And nobody wants the government to prevent them from protecting themselves.

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booklover2 1 year, 7 months ago

Mary Pilcher-Cook (R-Shawnee) was quoted, with regard to human life beginning when a sperm fertilizes an egg, that "a human life exists, and the state has an interest in each human life." Really? It doesn't seem like there is much interest in helping human lives whose lives are less fortunate than the wealthy.

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tomatogrower 1 year, 7 months ago

If it starts when sperm fertilizes an egg, and a women doesn't want to be pregnant, then we should transplant that "life" in Ms. Pilcher-Cook's womb, and she can carry it.

1

LHS1980 1 year, 7 months ago

So, taking rights away by a party that calls itself the party of less Government, is okay Gotland? What happened to less Government, and more rights? But whatever, you people voted them all in, now you need to suck it up and accept whatever they do to you. Enjoy!

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tomatogrower 1 year, 7 months ago

Less government? They are all a bunch of hypocritical liars.

2

Pastor_Bedtime 1 year, 7 months ago

Yeah, domination, subjugation and control of women is "hysterical". Almost as funny as what happened to most anti-choice candidates in last fall's election.

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Cait McKnelly 1 year, 7 months ago

Just as hilarious as Pilcher-Cook insulting and mocking rape victims by calling attempted amendments, "Gotcha amendments". Here's hoping she or a family member never has reason to rethink that little bit of condescension.

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tomatogrower 1 year, 7 months ago

Below a little sex education for the moron legislators. They would have women with this kind of pregnancy dying, because they wouldn't be allowed to abort the baby in time to save the woman's life, even though this kind of pregnancy isn't viable, and will never create a baby. They just want to go back to the days when many women didn't survive child birth. Are they jealous, because women's life expectancy is longer then men's?

"An ectopic pregnancy is any pregnancy in which the fertilized egg takes a wrong turn and never makes it to the uterus or overshoots the uterus completely, coming to rest and implanting someplace else entirely. Up to 98% of all misguided ovum lose their way in the fallopian tubes and decide to settle in there. The other 2% mistakenly implant in or on the ovaries, cervix or within the abdominal cavity. An ectopic pregnancy landing in the abdominal cavity is extremely rare, but comes with increased risk factors." Undiagnosed tubal ectopic pregnancy is the number one cause of maternal death in the first trimester."

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Cait McKnelly 1 year, 7 months ago

2% (1:50) of all pregnancies are ectopic. Of those, over 95% are "tubal" pregnancies and automatically considered a life threatening emergency. Undiagnosed tubal pregnancies are one of the highest ranking causes of maternal death in the US. Death is caused by massive hemorrhage when the growing embryo ruptures the Fallopian tube and the woman bleeds out.
The US is a huge embarrassment in terms of maternal mortality. It ranks 50th in the entire world (and first among "first world" developed countries) in maternal mortality. This is despite the fact that, among undeveloped countries, nearly a quarter of all maternal deaths are attributed to illegal abortion. The US doesn't have that problem (although it may very well soon) and yet, despite that, it still has an overwhelmingly poor record.
http://www.arhp.org/publications-and-resources/contraception-journal/march-2011

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