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Kansas legislature

Kansas Legislature

Abortion group sees special session as opportunity

July 28, 2013

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Gov. Sam Brownback is calling the Kansas Legislature into special session Sept. 3 to deal with one aspect of the state's "Hard 50" sentencing law that has been ruled unconstitutional.

But as long as legislators are coming back into session, the leader of one anti-abortion group wants them to do more.

Mark Gietzen, who heads the Wichita-based Kansas Coalition for Life, said he believes there were enough votes lined up during the regular session to pass a bill that would ban virtually all abortions in the state, and he says lawmakers can revisit the issue during the special session.

"We just ran out of time in the 2013 session, we didn't run out of votes," Gietzen said. "We would like to pick up where we left off."

The bill Gietzen is pushing is called a "fetal heartbeat" bill because it would ban abortions on any "unborn human individual with a detectable fetal heartbeat."

Federal courts have recently blocked similar laws enacted this year in North Dakota and Arkansas. Similar bills have been introduced in Texas and other states.

The Kansas Legislature also enacted a sweeping new anti-abortion law this year, although it does not go as far as the fetal heartbeat bill would.

Most experts agree that regardless of why a special session is called, Kansas lawmakers can take up almost any issue they want, as long as it is introduced as a new bill during the special session. They are not allowed to consider bills carried over from the last previous session.

But even conservative Republicans who support tough restrictions on abortion said Friday they do not want to expand the special session beyond the single issue of the Hard 50 sentence.

"We're not opening up this to legislation that's left over or pending," said House Speaker Ray Merrick, a Republican from Stilwell. "If we start doing that, it's expensive to have a special session. I'm all in favor of saving the taxpayers dollars and getting this over with."

Brownback's spokeswoman Eileen Hawley said the governor also wants to limit the special session.

"His desire is to focus only on this bill because it affects public safety," Hawley said.

The Hard 50 statute allows judges to sentence people convicted of premeditated murder to life in prison with no chance of parole for 50 years.

Attorney General Derek Schmidt asked Brownback to call a special session last week because of recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions that render the state's Hard 50 law unconstitutional.

In June, the Court said that juries, not judges, must decide whether there are aggravating factors that could trigger enhanced sentences like the Kansas Hard 50.

Schmidt said there are potentially dozens of cases in Kansas that could be affected by that ruling, most involving people convicted of particularly gruesome murders.

Comments

Brian Hall 1 year, 5 months ago

Since these people are so pro-life and pro-children then they should also work on bolstering our economy, funding education above and beyond what is needed and making sure no child ever goes without food and shelter. But fat chance of that happening.

kochmoney 1 year, 5 months ago

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kochmoney 1 year, 5 months ago

I just want to point out (again) that the current pro-life groups don't prioritize children. Just the fetus. Their actions actually serve to increase unwanted pregnancies, so I can't see the goal as actually being to reduce abortions. Just to reduce legal abortions.

kochmoney 1 year, 5 months ago

Although every individual may not support all of these policies, the general trend by the same people who support the strictest abortion regulation is also to cut funding for SNAP, medicare expansion, public schools, higher education, head start programs, and even adoption supports. These are all programs that would help existing children and would help with one of the most common reasons women choose abortion, "I can't afford to care for a child right now."

They (forced-birthing groups) also support laws that allow or require doctors to lie to pregnant women about their child make scientifically inaccurate claims. That endangers existing children by preventing their parents from making informed, private choices with their health care provider. In addition, there's an appalling lack of support for programs that would reduce the abortion rate by reducing the number of unplanned pregnancies, including measures to avoid giving accurate information about birth control in schools and measures to create road blocks for receiving prescription birth control.

That's not even going into the unintended consequences of women with preventable cervical cancer or losing wanted babies to preeclampsia because they can't afford regular women's health exams after draconian legislation targeted at Planned Parenthood shuts down all the clinics providing affordable pap smears and prenatal exams.

Frederic Gutknecht IV 1 year, 5 months ago

They need "canon" fodder (virtual slaves) for low wage jobs, too.

kochmoney 1 year, 5 months ago

Birth control education is actually related to the abortion rate. It reduces the number of unplanned pregnancies.

We're not even funding "what is needed," so I wouldn't get too caught up in the semantics of what the poster was trying to say at this point.

William Weissbeck 1 year, 5 months ago

Needed if all you want are people trained to paint and/or worship cave paintings. In point of fact, legislators are probably the least qualified to determine the proper amount of funding for almost anything. They're just the ones with the responsibility of making the decision. It would be nice if they consulted unbiased experts on both sides on an issue.

Thomas Bryce 1 year, 5 months ago

This Special Session is supposedly being called because of the SCOTUS ruling on Laws Like"Hard 50". If abortion rulings are tied to this bill, Let the Kansas Coalition for Life pay the $40,000 a day this Special session is costing Kansas Taxpayers. Then, watch as their provisions are struck down by the courts as they have been in other states over similar statutes, wasting Kansas tax dollars further defending unconstitutional Laws supported by a minority that seems bent on forcing their ideology into our Law regardless of Constitutionality. So much for using Taxpayer Dollars wisely. What a Waste. Demand Change this next Election.

ThePilgrim 1 year, 5 months ago

Or he could do a special session to expand Medicaid for Obamacare, like Iowa just did. At the last minute, which causes the vendor who is implementing Iowa's software to interact with the Feds all kinds of last minute scrambling. (yeah right, he is going to do that...)

hillsandtrees 1 year, 5 months ago

Expanding Medicaid would help about 144,000 Kansans receive medical insurance, would put $5.3 million into Kansas economy, put $2.3 billion into Kansas hospitals, and keep 58,000 Kansans out of medical insurance coverage gap.

Kansas has one of the stingiest Medicaid coverage in the nation.

The legislature should vote to expand Medicaid coverage during the special session.

www.kansas.com/2013/07/26/2906317/eagle-editorial-costly-not-to.html

kochmoney 1 year, 5 months ago

Nearly all of if comes from the feds and was budgeted with pay-fors already built into the ACA.

Orwell 1 year, 5 months ago

You're paying for these benefits now. The people getting the benefits, however, are citizens of other states that have elected to participate. The Kansas wingers have decided it's better to pay the taxes and not receive the benefits.

Thanks, wingers.

Shelley Bock 1 year, 5 months ago

The money comes from retracting the give-away tax system that Brownback has gotten enacted by the legislature. The rush from new businesses flocking to Kansas is so deafening. Not!

Michael LoBurgio 1 year, 5 months ago

If you want to prevent abortions you make sure everyone has health care, a high school education and birth control. not the exact opposite!

http://www2.ljworld.com/users/photos/2013/jul/28/259122/

Armstrong 1 year, 5 months ago

Or at least has enough brain power to not have unprotected sex.

kochmoney 1 year, 5 months ago

Can people prevent rapes with brain power alone now?

kochmoney 1 year, 5 months ago

I'm sure that's very comforting for all the rape victims who want abortions.

deec 1 year, 5 months ago

So? The best estimate is that about 32,000 women are impregnated by rape annually. To put that in perspective, it's Allen Fieldhouse filled to capacity, twice. Every women impregnated by rape should have the right to decide whether she wishes to continue the pregnancy.

kochmoney 1 year, 5 months ago

You'd need some serious brain power to shoot a pistol with your arms pinned.

akuna 1 year, 5 months ago

The Republican Nanny State is out of control.

Uhlrick_Hetfield_III 1 year, 5 months ago

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tomatogrower 1 year, 5 months ago

Ireland has a law just like this. More than one woman has died, because an unviable fetus that was killing her with infection still had a heartbeat. How is that "pro-life"?

deec 1 year, 5 months ago

Because pro-birthers view women as nothing more than containers to grow babies. If a container gets broken every now and then, it's god's will, especially if she isn't properly married. Then its god's well-deserved punishment for the crime of having sex.

bad_dog 1 year, 5 months ago

and too inconvenient and burdensome for Republicans to deal with after birth...

Armored_One 1 year, 5 months ago

Could you run through the list of agencies Brownback has instituted, and funded, that help disadvantaged youth, or maybe just their parents?

I've got a few seconds to kill while you hunt and peck that list out. Not that you hunt and peck. Just saying typing the list out that way might take a few more seconds...

kochmoney 1 year, 5 months ago

I'm not sure I've ever met a pro aborter, but I've definitely met some forced birthers.

Cheryl Nelsen 1 year, 5 months ago

This pro-lifer wonders if society shouldn't suggest that sperm is a life form and by allowing men to "waste" all that and leave it unprotected, they are killing a life form.

Shelley Bock 1 year, 5 months ago

Then why are "pro-lifers" so opposed to birth control and sex education? Abstinence doesn't work. Failing to provide the means to prevent unwanted pregnancies makes it a religious issue. Pro-lifers just want complete control. If there was adequate sex ed in schools and preventive means were readily available to all, then I could handle more easily the argument that abortion could be restricted. As is, until birth control is 100% available, free and everywhere, the pro-lifers will never change my opinion.

gatekeeper 1 year, 5 months ago

Ah... that explains your sour puss attitude then. Maybe you should stop being abstinent and get some. Maybe you would think a little clearer.

kochmoney 1 year, 5 months ago

Tell that to the many married couples who face unplanned pregnancies every year.

Shelley Bock 1 year, 5 months ago

The denial of reality is so easy for you, isn't it.

hujiko 1 year, 5 months ago

If pro-lifers had half as much compassion for the mother as they do for the fetus, then they'd buzz off and mind their own gosh darn business. Not your body, not your decision.

Liberty275 1 year, 5 months ago

"Not your body, not your decision."

Do you extend that same body-sovereignty to prostitutes and meth heads?

John Kyle 1 year, 5 months ago

"Do you extend that same body-sovereignty to prostitutes and meth heads?"

yes, if a prostitute or meth head wants an abortion they should have the right.

Liberty275 1 year, 5 months ago

And if a woman wants to rent her body out for sex, or the meth head wants to put his drug of choice in his body?

gatekeeper 1 year, 5 months ago

I say we should be free to do with our bodies what we want. Aren't you for liberty?

hujiko 1 year, 5 months ago

You obviously didn't follow the link I provided. Roeder was only a convenient example as his was a recent high profile case that every one should be familiar with. Also, he was found competent to stand trial, so he wasn't crazy by definition of the law. Unless you consider religious zealotry that leads to murder insane.

Let's try again.

kochmoney 1 year, 5 months ago

Except for doctors while they worship in church and mothers with wanted but doomed pregnancies, sure. Oh, and the "pro-lifers" who are also pro death penalty. Other than the people they're killing, they're not killing anyone.

Orwell 1 year, 5 months ago

Yes they are. They're forcing women into unsafe "alternative" DIY or illicit abortions or, worse, suicide.

hujiko 1 year, 5 months ago

EDIT

Whoops, meant for dont_tread_on_me.

bad_dog 1 year, 5 months ago

Who is trying to "advance" an anti-life agenda? All pro-choice advocates want is to retain the status quo and be left alone to make the decisions they choose best for themselves and their circumstances. Given the Roe decision is 40 + years in the rear view mirror, one could even claim that as a tradition.

gatekeeper 1 year, 5 months ago

And they forget that we have freedom of and from religion. Since religion is what dictates when different people believe life begins, then anyone like don't tread on me is trying to violate my 1st ammendment rights. don't tread hates America and the constitution! Shame on you!

blindrabbit 1 year, 5 months ago

Don't Tread So you say, what the heck is Scott Roeder serving time for if not killing George Tiller, or was for illegal gathering of belly button lint.

Kirk Larson 1 year, 5 months ago

If you are against abortion then you must support comprehensive sex education and affordable/available contraception. Anything else is just wishful thinking.

Kirk Larson 1 year, 5 months ago

You can be abstinent. You can encourage abstinence. But you should begin from a state of educated decision making.

JohnBrown 1 year, 5 months ago

Anti-abortion people claim to be Christians, yet their passion for Jesus' teachings from the Sermon on the Mount lags way behind their desire to want government to tell people what to do and how to live their lives...just like the Taliban. And like the Taliban, they they want the fire and brimstone of the Old Testament, at least as long as they are in charge, while ignoring the New Testament.

JohnBrown

Kirk Larson 1 year, 5 months ago

You fail when you ignore the free will of the woman whose decision it is.

Seth Peterson 1 year, 5 months ago

Error. We have a logical disconnect. Please, attempt to use reason.

Kate Rogge 1 year, 5 months ago

DTOM: According to our parents, all five of us were birth control failures (I'm the eldest, the impetus for their wedding, and am the result of failed coitus interruptus).

Liberty275 1 year, 5 months ago

The unborn have no rights and are irrelevant regarding abortion. I'm not sure there is a "right" to abortion, but there exists no reason to restrict a woman's liberty based on irrelevant circumstance.

Mark Pickerel 1 year, 5 months ago

So you agree with the rape exception? Because that's probably going the way of the Dodo in KS.

Liberty275 1 year, 5 months ago

A woman doesn't need a reason to have an abortion other than it is inside her body and she wants it out.

gatekeeper 1 year, 5 months ago

What do you propose we do to all the men that chose to have sex and want the woman to have abortions? Should we start castrating men that don't use a condom?

Also, ever heard of birth control failing? Happens a lot.

Why don't you stay out of everyone's vagina and let women make decisions about their body? You must think you are very important if you think you have the right to get in everyone else's business. Worry about yourself and your family and stay out of mine!

Lisa Medsker 1 year, 5 months ago

So, if all of us were to just "not have sex", with whom are all of the poor, poor men going to have sex, since they have absolutely no responsibility in this particular situation?

Armored_One 1 year, 5 months ago

One quick question. To be an advocate, under the rule of law, you must be able to communicate with that individual. How do you communicate with something that physically, proven by science, cannot communicate? I know all child advocates that I have ever met have had to conduct an interview to determine what is in the best interest of the child. Those are frequently done without parental supervision. Explain how that can be done, if you would, in the case of the 'unborn'.

blindrabbit 1 year, 5 months ago

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JohnBrown 1 year, 5 months ago

The unborn are not independent beings, they are very dependent upon the mother. God made that so. So it's up to the would be mother to decide. Not you, not me. This is liberty.

JohnBrown

Frederic Gutknecht IV 1 year, 5 months ago

Disconnected hope (outside of the most concerned party) is a mother blocker of intervention. Intervention is only the right of the mother. The fetus does not care. The fetus does not know enough to care. The fetus cannot judge. Every fetus is potential, trapped within its future of nature and nurture. It does not have a soul. It does not have a guarantee of life or nurturing. It does not have a guarantee of a decent life. It will likely not be nurtured by a government. It will likely not be nurtured by a stranger. This places the burden of its life on the mother. If the mother is not feeling able to nurture the fetus, then baby, then child, then adolescent, then young adult, then adult...then who will step up to the plate? Can an institution or individual step up to the plate and guarantee the nurturing that may be necessary? I think the answer is "NO!". Our government does not nurture us. Will YOU?

It seems pretty much like a "no-brainer"... Would you trust or trust in your wish that our government or a stranger would raise your child? I wouldn't.

I also wouldn't believe for a second that the fetus COULD care much, if at all, about not being put in a strange family, or a government program, or about not being born. They do not have enough knowledge or brain cells to care. Humans eat animals with more knowledge and brain cells every day. Humans destroy animals with more knowledge and brain cells every day. Humans are destroying the planet with their overpopulating directive and arrogance.

Oh, but by any means, let us save another slave of our corporatocracy. Let us save another human who ignorantly votes for the end of life on this planet. Let us save the means to our own ends. That one life we save may save our world. Lord knows that the seven billion humans existing on our planet will never do so!

Cait McKnelly 1 year, 5 months ago

Pro-forced birthers care nothing about children OR women. What they care about are controlling the sex lives of women (only) via "punishing" women with unwanted pregnancy (and this goes for married as well as unmarried women) and providing plenty of uneducated people to fill low wage jobs (which includes military "grunts"). Life is only sacred in the womb. After that, all bets are off.
By the way, according to a new report released by the World Health Organization (an arm of the UN), the US now has the highest ranked rate of neonatal death within 24 hours of birth in the entire developed world. This is a very good indication of the fact that Republicans believe in "post birth abortion".

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