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Kansas legislature

Kansas Legislature

It’s official: Brownback signs bill saying life begins at fertilization

April 20, 2013

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Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback signs a sweeping anti-abortion bill into law during a Statehouse ceremony Friday in Topeka. He is surrounded by legislators, abortion opponents and the family of Michael Schuttloffel, to the left just behind Brownback, a lobbyist for the Kansas Catholic Conference.

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback signs a sweeping anti-abortion bill into law during a Statehouse ceremony Friday in Topeka. He is surrounded by legislators, abortion opponents and the family of Michael Schuttloffel, to the left just behind Brownback, a lobbyist for the Kansas Catholic Conference.

Anti-abortion legislation, left, sits on a desk in Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback’s ceremonial office as he prepares to sign it Friday at the Statehouse in Topeka. At right is a page of Brownback’s notes about the measure with “JESUS + Mary” written at the top. Further down the page are handwritten notes spelling out Brownback’s belief that the bill would create “a culture of life.”

Anti-abortion legislation, left, sits on a desk in Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback’s ceremonial office as he prepares to sign it Friday at the Statehouse in Topeka. At right is a page of Brownback’s notes about the measure with “JESUS + Mary” written at the top. Further down the page are handwritten notes spelling out Brownback’s belief that the bill would create “a culture of life.”

— Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback signed sweeping anti-abortion legislation Friday, giving his state a new law to block tax breaks for abortion providers, ban sex-selection abortions and declare that life begins “at fertilization.”

Many provisions take effect in July, though the tax changes will be effective for 2014. The measure cleared the Republican-dominated Legislature by wide margins earlier this month.

The GOP governor is a strong abortion opponent who urged lawmakers to create “a culture of life” after taking office in January 2011.

“All human life is sacred. It’s beautiful,” Brownback said just before signing the measure, flanked by abortion opponents. “With this, we continue to build this culture of life in our state.”

An Associated Press photo taken before the signing shows a page of notes about the bill on Brownback’s desk that included a handwritten message at the top: “JESUS + Mary.” Further down the page were typewritten notes spelling out Brownback’s belief that the bill would create “a culture of life.”

Brownback’s communications staff was in a meeting Friday afternoon and did not immediately return messages seeking more information about the notes.

Supporters of the new law contend it will lessen taxpayers’ entanglement with abortion and declare the state’s intent to protect life at all stages. The measure is not as restrictive as laws enacted this year in North Dakota and Arkansas to ban abortions even early in pregnancy, but abortion rights supporters still believe it will significantly restrict access to abortion services.

The bill also prohibits abortion providers from being involved in public school sex education classes and spells out in more detail what information doctors must provide to patients seeking abortions.

The new law’s language that life begins “at fertilization” worries some abortion rights supporters, who believe it could be used to legally harass providers with lawsuits.

Peter Brownlie, president and chief executive officer of Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri, which performs abortions at its Overland Park clinic, called the new law “extreme.”

“Politicians should not be involved in a woman’s personal medical decisions about her pregnancy,” he said in a statement. “Let’s let real physicians practice medicine — not the ‘pretend doctors’ in the Statehouse.”

But abortion opponents call the fertilization language a statement of principle and not an outright ban on terminating pregnancies. The new law specifically notes that any rights suggested by the language are limited by decisions of the U.S. Supreme Court protecting access to abortion.

In contrast, a new North Dakota law bans abortions as early as the sixth week of pregnancy and a new Arkansas law prohibits most abortions after the 12th week.

Kansans for Life, the most influential anti-abortion group at the Statehouse, has argued against pursuing such proposals in favor of less dramatic changes that are more likely to hold up in court.

The provisions in the new Kansas law dealing with tax breaks are designed to prevent the state from subsidizing abortions, even indirectly. For example, health care providers don’t have to pay the state sales tax on items they purchase, but the bill would deny that tax break to abortion providers. Also, a woman could not include abortion costs if she deducts medical expenses on her income taxes.

Lawmakers moved to ban abortions that are prompted by the baby’s gender without any solid data on how many sex-selection procedures are performed in Kansas. A 2008 study by two Columbia University economists suggested the practice of aborting female fetuses — widespread in some nations where parents traditionally prefer sons — is performed in the U.S. on a limited basis.

But legislators on both sides of the issue said the practice should be banned, regardless of how frequently it occurs.

The bill also would require physicians to give women information that addresses breast cancer as a potential risk of abortion. Advocates on both sides acknowledge there’s medical evidence that carrying a fetus to term can lower a woman’s risk for breast cancer, but doctors convened by the National Cancer Institute a decade ago concluded that abortion does not raise the risk for developing the disease.

Comments

Celeste 12 months ago

Silence, zygote. There is no god but the Flying Spaghetti Monster, and he could give a flip about who gets an abortion. He's busy making sure there is plenty of beer and strippers for the afterlife. All hail the Flying Spaghetti Monster!!!

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lifeisreal 12 months ago

thank you Sam ....

you are my hero. I am an unborn Kansas citizen. it is wonderful for you to step forward and represent all of the people of kansas instead of just the bleeding heart liberals. I heard the pun " only citizens who are born are for abortion " . we here are waiting to live while planned parent has an industry against us so we die. my question is , since God has known me while im still in my mother , do abortionist while killing people, think they are doing what Jesus would do ?

thanks again my friend , perhaps now an unborn child will have a chance to become a productive citizen of kansas , be man or woman to bring pride to our state. Ms Sebilious made sure no native son would be born in kansas . now we can be a little prouder of the state we live .

A new Kansas citizen

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12 months ago

An aside to the comments above.

Earlier I commented on free will, saying something like its being the next thing to be legislated out of existence in Kansas as it appears The Guv doesn't want Kansans to have free will. This essentially because The Guv and his minions can't understand that freedom of religion and freedom also means freedom from religion. It doesn't mean freedom of religion as long as it's his.

(Is anybody else having posts removed for essentially benign comments?)

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Skulander 12 months ago

Why does Sam Brownback hates women so much? Why is he so pissed that women have gained control over their bodies and lives since 1973, and don't die from back-alley abortions anymore?

It's a really weird moment when men (why are they almost always men?) impose their religious views on women? (And what about atheists? what about the millions of pro-choice people in the U.S., and around the world? Why should religious bigotry be imposed on their bodies and lives?) Men will never get pregnant: while they sure are allowed to have an opinion and be allies (or foes...) they should NOT be allowed to make or pass laws that will hurt women and families to this extent.

But women have a choice. We can sit quietly and do nothing. Or we can put our anger to work, and raise awareness about the need to elect pro-choice leaders, not anti-choice, anti-women misogynists such as Brownback. The choice is ours: we can continue to be bullied, or we can say: Enough is enough! and act up.

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eugunieum 12 months ago

I had a large article written. I just deleted it. I am going to go bang my head on the wall instead. Take whatever path you want. It is not up to me to judge anyone. Have a great day.

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4getabouit 12 months ago

Hail the new God of Kansas. Our new savior, Samuel Brownback. On your knees sinners, least you be burned at the stake.

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John McCoy 12 months ago

The separation of church and state are a myth in Kansas.

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bobberboy 12 months ago

Has anyone seen how far Kansas is behind the rest of the nation with regards to Papaloma virus vaccinations ? Why are our children not getting the protection they need ?

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tomatogrower 12 months ago

Actually I would like them to try and prosecute a woman who had to fix an ectopic pregnancy or a woman who miscarried. Then I think people would see the nasty, misogynist side of these men who are "pro-life".
On the radio the other day, I heard one of the creeps say the reason they are saying that abortion can cause brain cancer is because women who don't give birth at a young age have a slightly higher risk of getting breast cancer. Why they assume a woman who has an abortion has never or is never going to give birth to other children is beyond me.

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getajob 12 months ago

Who pays for "Your" healthcare that was "Forced" on us all to purchase or be fined? How about being responsible for you body and not worry about what could happen? Maybe we all should bring "Jesus" back in our lives instead of using his name in vein.. Especially some that bring him up in conversation but don't believe!.

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jjt 12 months ago

Does the new law actually put Doctors who prescribe certain types of contraception at risk of prosecution, for example when prescribing IUDs? Should women who use IUDs no longer use them or move out of Kansas are they at risk before the law. What is the situation with the morning after pill particularly in cases of rape?

I suppose what I want is someone from the group who support the governor's law to come out and specifically answer these annoying sorts of questions so we know where we stand.

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daviskan 12 months ago

Just remember that when you crack an egg for breakfast, you are murdering a chicken. I wonder if that is against the law

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Richard Heckler 12 months ago

I believe the next candidate is a woman who because of Sam ALEC Brownback will run for governor. I also believe this woman can and will bring a lot of republicans into her arena.

We shall see in due time.

Sam Brownback has never been a republican. For that matter the entire Kansas delegation are no longer republicans if they ever were..... And they are all about big government intrusion.

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Richard Heckler 12 months ago

Sam ALEC Brownback is living proof the GOP is dead. Which makes Sam and his admin impostors and/or frauds.

Deception is key to their success.

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fearthetaliban 12 months ago

Pro Birth but no evidence of Pro Life. Just wish Sam would reread the Sermon on the Mount and The Beatitudes. How does his love of The Kochs fit into that?

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ImRonBurgandy 12 months ago

Dang I was just about to cash in on my buy 9 get one free card on Abortions.

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irussell 12 months ago

Life long Kansas resident and now am EMBARRASSED to acknowledge that. But I did vote, so I have a right to complain.

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Fred Whitehead Jr. 12 months ago

The real intrent here is to extablish a theocracy in Kansas. Brownshirt displays his great admiration for sharia style law and will do anything the Kochs tell him to enable this repressive agenda.
He has already shown his willingness to oppose Federal Law and his discrimination and bogotry of the sitting president with his outrageous refusal to accept Federal funds for Medicare. Federal funds that have been taken from us at the point of a gun. And his willingness to go along with a law that will allow law enforcement in Kansas to arrest Federal officials enforcing Federal law. What more do yu need to know of his criminal intent?? He wants to put into law his religious dogma to a non-existant diety, and wants to make all the citizens of Kansas fall down and worship his religious flubdubbary.

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Ewok79 12 months ago

Did Brownie not get the memo? You sir are a Governor, NOT GOD. And a crappy Governor at that, more like a dictator.

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verity 12 months ago

The government of Kansas is now dictating science?

Make it so!

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Kate Rogge 12 months ago

They may as well raise the sales tax to 30% now to cover the costs of losing court case after court case defending these obscenely stupid and repressive laws. Look what an unholy mess Brownback and the Kochs-backed state legislators have made of our state.

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yourworstnightmare 12 months ago

Upwards of 60% of all human fertilization events fail to result in pregnancy, with most of them failing very early before the mother even knows.

Why does Jesus create life and then destroy most of them?

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Mark English 12 months ago

Have you all forgotten that you live in Kansas? Lawrence is literally the only city in the state that the majority votes Dem. I love reading all of your comments though. Hilarious!

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WristTwister 12 months ago

Namecalling, hyperbole and demagoguery do not contribute to any meaninful discussion. Moving on.

2

Jean Robart 12 months ago

Who died and made the governor God?

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kernal 12 months ago

Does this put us ahead of Florida for first place in the race for the most idiotic state govenment?

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moonflower 12 months ago

i really miss the days when fundamentalists absolutely knew the pope was the anti-christ.

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sturgen 12 months ago

I propose that the money to defend these trash pieces of legislation should be taken from the pocketbooks of those who crafted and voted them into place. At this rate the "defense funds" will mirror the entire state budget in no time. However we will be churning out many underprivileged, undereducated kids that with just a little twist in labor laws will make great cooperate feedlot/farm employees. Think of it, since they are technically underage and on government assistance they can be paid less than minimum wage boom, profit! Helping those little whippersnappers pull themselves up by the bootstraps of American dreams is probably the greatest legacy he will leave. Brownbackastan is the best-astan!

13

question4u 12 months ago

“All human life is sacred. It’s beautiful,” Brownback said

If Brownback really believes that Dzhokar Tsarnaev's life is "sacred" and "beautiful" then he is clearly a better Christian than most who claim that title. How many have mourned the loss of Tamerlan Tsarnaev's "sacred" and "beautiful" life? That's tough to do, so if Brownback has prayed for the soul of Tamerlan Tsarnaev you have to admire his strength.

At the same time you have to wonder why someone with this kind of respect for "all human life" as "sacred" and "beautiful" would want to block any legislation that would have made it harder for someone questioned by the FBI in 2011 for possible ties to terrorists, as Tamerlan Tsarnaev was, to get the gun used to kill police officer Sean Collier. Collier's life was "sacred" and "beautiful" too. Was it just God's will that the "sacred" and "beautiful" Tsarnaev brothers should kill four people and maim more than 150 others?

It would be helpful if Brownback explained, since he has signed a state law based on a philosophy that the lives of even the most cold-blooded murderers are "sacred" and "beautiful." Of course, Brownback could be arguing that the Tsarnaev brothers aren't human and therefore do not fall under his categorical imperative that their lives be considered "sacred" and "beautiful," but that leaves him with the problem of explaining what they are. Chechnya is far away, but it isn't another planet.

So please Sam, enlighten us as to why you think that the lives of Dzhokar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev are "sacred" and "beautiful."

5

mac 12 months ago

I'm so looking forward to November 4, 2014.

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traveler12 12 months ago

If a woman has a miscarriage, can we prosecute her for manslaughter?

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Xwards 12 months ago

Food for thought:

Does this mean that I can claim my fertilized egg as a dependent on my tax returns? What if the fertilized egg fails to implant due to some external force, is there criminal liability? If the egg and sperm of two foreigner join in Kansas, will the resulting baby be a US citizen? What is the status of all those frozen fertilized eggs in IVF facilities? Etc., etc., etc......

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Cait McKnelly 12 months ago

You know, I'm curious about something. If Brownback, Kinzer, Newman, Gittrick and their cohort manage to successfully outlaw abortion and contraception (and actually ENFORCE it), what are they going to do with all of those kids?
According to the Guttmacher Institute, the single most given reason for having a first trimester abortion is "finances/inability to support a child". You can tell women to "keep your legs closed" all you like, sex is still going to happen and so is unintended pregnancy, especially when you refuse to allow anything other than "abstinence only" sex education.
The state is pretty much refusing to support those kids now. TANF has a 48 month lifetime cap.
WHAT ARE THEY GOING TO DO WITH ALL OF THOSE KIDS?

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traveler12 1 year ago

To Brownback and all the right-wing folks in the Kansas Legislature: It's only a matter of time before Democrats, moderate Republicans and/or pro-choice politicians are back in control. That pesky pendulum tends to swing both directions, and, given time, it will come back to the left. The new leaders will strike down your laws, and again Kansas women will control their own bodies. Sam, you don't control women, nor do you control their bodies. And those same left-leaning leaders of the future will restore Kansas' arts funding, write tax law that makes sense, and return a balanced budget to Kansas without sacrificing the very things we hold dear. And someday, Sam, you'll join Mr. Dole and your colleagues as another DC lobbyist, far, far away from here.

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traveler12 1 year ago

...oh, and "Mega abortion bill". ....so classy.

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traveler12 1 year ago

Hmm... like, I'm not an expert, but I wonder, does Brownback writing about "Jesus" and "Mary" on the bill, or at least on the sheet of paper next to the bill, like, violate the U.S. Constitution's guarantee of separation between church and state? Umm, so, did Brownback violate the Constitution? I'm just wondering... absentmindedly snapping bubble gum and twirling fingers through hair

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