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Measure banning "wrongful birth" claims approved by Kansas Senate
Topeka — The Kansas Senate on Thursday approved legislation that critics said would allow doctors to withhold information about prenatal problems from pregnant women if they believe it would lead the mother to get an abortion.
Senate Bill 142 bans civil actions for a claim of so-called "wrongful life" or "wrongful birth," in which a doctor withholds information about medical problems with the fetus from the pregnant woman and the baby is born with problems the mother was not warned about.
Abortion rights supporters say the measure will encourage doctors to lie to pregnant women.
State Sen. Pat Pettey, D-Kansas City, said the measure "invites doctors to break the oath of their profession." She added, "This legislation is disrespectful to woman and families."
But supporters of the bill said a doctor who lies to a patient would still be liable for medical malpractice and possible violations of standards set by the Kansas Board of Healing Arts.
State Sen. Mary Pilcher-Cook, R-Shawnee, said the legislation, supported by Kansans for Life, would prohibit parents from filing lawsuits where they want to be compensated for not aborting their child.
The measure was approved by the Senate, 34-5, and now goes to the House for consideration.