Wednesday, Mar. 20, 2013
Kansas House rejects rape and incest exceptions for abortion
The Associated Press
TOPEKA Kansas House members on Tuesday gave first-round approval to sweeping new restrictions on abortion after refusing to add exceptions that would allow victims of incest or rape — including children who are raped — to get late-term abortions.
The measure builds upon the state’s current ban on most abortions starting in the 22nd week of pregnancy. It would:
• Bar abortion providers from receiving tax breaks.
• Prohibit public schools from using sex education materials or instructors affiliated with abortion providers.
• Strengthen a law aimed at preventing doctors in training at the state medical school from performing abortions on state time.
• Spell out in greater detail what information a doctor would have to provide a patient before giving her an abortion.
Abortion rights lawmakers took issue with what they say is misleading language that breast cancer be listed among the risks of abortion.
Backers deny that it’s misleading.
The House advanced the measure on a voice vote after voting 90-31 against an amendment from Rep. John Wilson, a Lawrence Democrat, to make an exception for the victims of rape and incest.
Wilson’s proposal also would have applied the exception to laws restricting private health insurance coverage for elective abortions and a requirement that doctors notify parents in writing when a child seeks an abortion.
The House is expected to send the measure to the Senate on Wednesday.
Abortion opponents argue that the legislation demonstrates a commitment to life and lessens state entanglement in a procedure that many residents find objectionable.
But Elise Higgins, a lobbyist for the Kansas chapter of the National Organization for Women, said the House vote against a rape and incest exception shows that most members hold extreme views.
“It is a common-sense, compassionate exception,” Higgins said after the Houses debate.
Abortion opponents noted that state law already allows abortions for any reasons before the 22nd week of pregnancy.
“When we get to the point in time when we’re doing earlier restrictions, then that becomes an issue,” Rep. Lance Kinzer, an Olathe Republican, said of an exception for rape or incest.
Kinzer is chairman of the House Judiciary Committee and an anti-abortion leader among lawmakers.