Archive for Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Kan. Senate moves against sex-selection abortions

February 19, 2013


— The Kansas Senate gave first-round approval Tuesday to a bill prohibiting doctors from terminating a pregnancy solely because a woman doesn’t want a baby of a certain gender, with supporters brushing aside criticism that the measure didn’t give providers enough protection against false accusations.

The Senate’s voice vote advanced the measure to another, final vote Wednesday, when members are expected to approve it and send it to the House. Both chambers have solid anti-abortion majorities, and Republican Gov. Sam Brownback also is a strong abortion opponent.

The bill makes it a misdemeanor the first time a doctor is convicted of performing a sex-selection abortion and a felony each time afterward. A woman’s husband could sue a doctor over such a procedure, as could a parent or guardian of a girl under 18 who had one. But the measure says that women who have such abortions can’t be prosecuted.

There’s no solid data on how many sex-selection abortions are performed in Kansas. Abortion rights supporters contend there’s no evidence of them, but abortion foes believe it’s a growing problem because of more sophisticated prenatal testing. Supporters of the bill also have said such abortions almost always occur because a woman, her husband or her family doesn’t want a girl.

“Who protects them?” said Sen. Ralph Ostmeyer, a Grinnell Republican who supports the bill. “The unborn have nobody if we won’t protect them.”

The bill is one of several measures backed by the influential anti-abortion group Kansans for Life. The House Federal and State Affairs Committee planned to have a hearing Wednesday on a bill designed to prevent the state from subsidizing abortions indirectly through tax exemptions or credits.

Abortion rights supporters didn’t testify against the sex-selection ban when a Senate committee considered it, and their allies in the Senate emphasized during Tuesday’s debate that they oppose such procedures.

Instead, senators who support abortion rights questioned whether abortion providers would be adequately protected from false accusations of performing gender-selection abortions. Senators rejected two amendments to address the issue, one creating special penalties for people making false accusations and another requiring claims that a doctor knowingly performed a sex-selection abortion be supported by written documentation.

Sen. Laura Kelly, a Topeka Democrat, said abortion opponents seemed “reluctant” to protect abortion providers from false accusations.

“Is there some reason for that?” Kelly asked.

But Sen. Garrett Love, a Montezuma Republican who supports the bill, said the courts would vet such claims anyway.

“The providers’ protection is the courts, the rule of law,” Love said.


just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 1 month ago

This sounds reasonable enough on the surface, but we all know that there is very little that's reasonable in the Anti-Choice agenda. It's a trojan horse that will be used to charge every abortion doctor with terminating every fetus with a so-called "gender selection" abortion.

Brian Laird 5 years, 1 month ago

Only if there is signed consent from the Mother Condor. Otherwise, no.

Brock Masters 5 years, 1 month ago

Come on, who needs an abortion for gender selection? It is a reasonable common-sense regulation and it won't ban your right to an abortion.

No one wants to ban all abortions and all rights can be restricted. I mean you can't yell fire in a movie theater.

Brian Laird 5 years, 1 month ago

Except the problem is, how does the State actually prove this. I can see this being used as a threat by the State (under its current management) to essentially bring this charge in every abortion case just to harass the doctors and patients. This is about harassment, not about preventing sex selection abortions.

Liberty275 5 years, 1 month ago

You think it reasonable because you aren't pro-abortion for a consistent reason. It isn't about sex-selection, convenience or health. A woman's right to abortion is a right regardless of the reason she chooses.

Brock Masters 5 years, 1 month ago

Bingo Liberty. We all must be vigilant against infringement of our rights. Often, the reasonable restriction is just a ruse to put an end to the right.

The pro- life group is doing this as an incremental step in banning all abortions.

My previous post was nothing but parroting the arguments for infringement of the 2nd amendment. It doesn't work in this case and it doesn't work for gun control. My point is if a person cares about their rights then they must protect the rights of others.

Liberty275 5 years, 1 month ago

In the abstract, abortion, equality, guns and speech are the same thing. As you note, it takes some vigilance to point out where good Americans are unwittingly surrendering their rights.

jonas_opines 5 years, 1 month ago

fred_mertz: "Come on, who needs an abortion for gender selection?"

The better question is: who GETS an abortion for gender selection? Outside of China, of course, since I Think this bill will only be applicable in Kansas, and not in China.

Is this a real thing? Or is it simply another tactic to chip away at abortion in total? If it's the former, where's the data? If it's the latter, why not simply be honest about it?

jhawkinsf 5 years, 1 month ago

Jonas, I've read articles stating it's a very real problem in China, India and Bangladesh. I've read of it happening in Australia. I read an article not too long ago of a woman in New York carrying twins who chose to reduce to a single fetus and made her decision based on gender. So is it a real problem? Probably not much. But not absolutely not.

As stated above, yelling fire in a crowded theater isn't really seen as a chipping away of our right to free speech. Or even if it is, it's seen as reasonable. Every right we have, speech, religion, etc., has placed upon that right reasonable restrictions. So too should the right to an abortion. Reasonable being the key word, in my opinion. And even if not a single abortion for the purposes of gender selection has been done in Kansas, this is no more a waste of the legislature's time and money than when they debate what the state dog should be, the state flower, the state motto, etc. Every state legislature does those things because we've generally defined that as reasonable.

jonas_opines 5 years, 1 month ago

I understand the idea of reasonable restrictions just fine. But I think we're a little too free these days in throwing around the idea of a "right" to do something. I don't think that there's a defined right to have an abortion at all. I simply think that the government, or people ultimately that are not concerned in or affected by an individual's decision to abort or not, do NOT have a right to insert themselves into that process.

Regardless, I would question whether this would be considered reasonable. It's essentially criminalizing something that is completely intangible. How are you going to prove that somebody aborted simply because of gender? Do you think that, assuming this becomes a law, somebody is going to simply Not do it, or is it more likely that they'll just make up a different reason to verbalize?

Or, will it perhaps be a form to check: "Are you pursuing this abortion on the illegal grounds of gender discrimination?" Hmmm, let's see . . . . "no."

To be honest, I'd be quite fine with a legislature that spent the majority of its time debating what the state dog, flower, motto, song, etc. should be. None of those things actually affect anybody, making them good material to take on.

jhawkinsf 5 years, 1 month ago

Whether or not you agree with the idea that throwing around "rights" is being done too freely, the fact is that the courts have ruled that it is so and we must all abide by that. A woman does have a right to an abortion, plain and simple. But as I stated above, no right is absolute, nor should this one be.

Fighting words are not protected by freedom of speech. Yet I'd be willing to bet that on any given night, fighting words are common in many bars throughout Lawrence. Few are being brought up on charges, unless actual fights happen, but the words are still being tossed around and they are not protected speech. Maybe it's an effort in futility. Or maybe it's just an expression of our society's values that we choose not to protect fighting words. So too with abortion for the purposes of gender selection. Maybe we can't enforce something like that. Maybe we won't even try. But there's nothing wrong with an expression of values, morals, etc., one that states that as a matter of principle, we abhor abortion for those purposes just as we abhor the use of fighting words.

Liberty275 5 years, 1 month ago

I acted in a college production of the musical "GHETTO" and got to hear an actor yell "fire!" during the execution scene in a crowded proscenium arch theatre for the one month run. He said it twice every Sunday.

Moral: you can yell "fire!" in a crowded theatre with impunity if you do it right.

Dakota Loomis 5 years, 1 month ago

But Sen. Garrett Love, a Montezuma Republican who supports the bill, said the courts would vet such claims anyway.

“The providers’ protection is the courts, the rule of law,” Love said.

Oh, now you trust the courts Sen. Love. Where's the deference when it comes to school finance?

Centerville 5 years, 1 month ago

Senator Love is getting pretty close to the nub of the issue: where someone's life proceeding may inconvenience his/her mother who won't take any responsibility for starting that life in the first place.

overthemoon 5 years, 1 month ago

Well good. If 'rights can be limited', then there's no argument against gun control and regulation. Glad that's settled. But this bill smacks of yet another GOP solutions to problems that don't exist. How much time and money is wasted on stupid lawmaking while our schools, infrastructure and jobs market continue to crumble?

voevoda 5 years, 1 month ago

This law could forbid some abortions that are done for medical reasons--for example when the embryo is defective because of an inherited gene carried on the X or Y chromosome.

Not to mention all the possibilities for the law to be misused to intimidate and harass. The provision granting husbands the right to file a complaint means that husbands, rather than the women themselves, will have effective control over whether married women can get an abortion. To prevent a woman from having an abortion, all a man would need to do is claim that she wants to do so in order to avoid having a child of a certain sex, thus making it illegal for any doctor to perform the procedure. So this provision disempowers women, even though it does not make them the direct targets of prosecution.

This is just another in a long series of ultra-intrusive laws being enacted by a State Legislature that claims that it wants "smaller government."

Bob Forer 5 years, 1 month ago

Passage of this law will change nothing except for the consent form that the woman signs. A paragraph will be added wherein the woman acknowledges that she understands that the law prohibits abortions for gender selection reasons, and that she is not choosing to have an abortion for such reasons.

All it does is give a few attorneys some billable hours and wastes a little paper and ink.

Nothing else will change. Assuming that there are women in Kansas who elect to have an abortion for gender selection reasons, (which I doubt), I don't think they will articulate those reasons to the abortion clinic.

Don't we have more pressing issues tg deal with?

JayhawkFan1985 5 years, 1 month ago

Is anyone in Kansas even doing this? Or is this just another witch hunt?

JayhawkFan1985 5 years, 1 month ago

The GOP believes in the courts when protecting doctors from false claims, but doesn't believe in the courts on school finance? I'm confused...

jhawkinsf 5 years, 1 month ago

And supporters of medical marijuana argue that doctors and patients are being honest, despite the obviously high levels of deception. We're all confused because there is a whole bunch of lying going on out there.

The GOP is lying, the Legislature is lying, patients are lying and doctors are lying.

verity 5 years, 1 month ago

How does one know why a woman wants an abortion? If it's legal on request, how would a law like this be enforced?

"Doctor, I know I can have an abortion legally, but I just wanted you to know that I'm doing it for gender selection, since that is illegal."

Paul R Getto 5 years, 1 month ago

An idea just as dumb as KK's hunt for unicorns, AKA illegal voters. Nonissue turned into yet another religious crusade.

voevoda 5 years, 1 month ago

Or a religious crusade that has turned to yet another nonissue in an attempt to impose their minority view on the majority.

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