Kansas legislature

Kansas Legislature

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.


Paul R Getto 1 year, 1 month ago

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


verity 1 year, 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."


JayhawkFan1985 1 year, 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...


JayhawkFan1985 1 year, 1 month ago

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


Lane Signal 1 year, 1 month ago

I think this law does change things. It's a means to start narrowing the reasons one may seek an abortion. If the government can specify reasons that can't be used for an abortion, it implies a "valid" reason is required. It also implies the state can determine what those reasons are. This is a dangerous bill.


Bob Forer 1 year, 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?


autie 1 year, 1 month ago

Garrett Love is nothing more than a bought and paid for AFP goon. They let him go 'play' Senator to a season as long as he does what he is told. The bill is another rabbit trail designed to confuse and misdirect. And you see, VV, that we can have smaller government when the private and secret sector are actually controlling the shots. You don't need a bunch of clerks when you have your chosen few to rubber stamp.


voevoda 1 year, 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."


overthemoon 1 year, 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?


Centerville 1 year, 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.


dakotaloomis 1 year, 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?


me4Aday 1 year, 1 month ago

No matter how you look at it abortion is wrong.

“It is a poverty to decide that a child must die so that you may live as you wish.” ― Mother Teresa

“I've noticed that everyone who is for abortion has already been born.” ― Ronald Reagan

“I certainly supported a woman's right to choose, but to my mind the time to choose was before, not after the fact.” ― Ann B. Ross


jonas_opines 1 year, 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?


just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 1 year, 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.


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