Following more than two hours of emotional debate, the Republican-controlled Kansas House of Representatives passed a sweeping 69-page anti-abortion bill.
The passage sets the stage for Kansas topotentially enact one of the most restrictive abortion laws in the United States, coming a year after the state passed measures severely limiting the types of buildings that could house abortion clinics. The bill now heads to the state Senate for consideration. Gov. Sam Brownback (R) told HuffPost in February that he would sign the bill, which he said he had not read.
The bill contains provisions to prohibit tax deductions for abortion insurance coverage and abortion services; to provide for a sales tax on abortion; to establish a personhood stance for when life begins; to limit late-term abortions; to prohibit state employees from performing abortions during the workday; and to mandate that doctors tell women that abortion cause breast cancer along with other state-approved health issues.
The bill also allows doctors to withhold medical information from a woman if it might lead her to have an abortion. It prevents medical professionals from facing a medical malpractice suit in the event that withholding the information adversely affects the health of the mother or child. A wrongful death suit could be filed in the event of the mother’s death.
Opponents of the bill were out in force, attempting to defeat or change it.
“We have a body that says they want small government. Why the heck are you so insistent that you know better then women about their health care,” Rep. Annie Kuether (D-Topeka) said. “Where are the jobs that we promised to create? We have all this time to debate bills that discriminate against some of the people and tell women that they will be ruled by men.”
Rep. Barbara Bollier (R-Mission Hills), a retired physician, broke from her party to help lead the charge against the bill. Bollier proposed several amendments to the bill which were defeated. Among them, she proposed to sever 40 pages of tax code changes relating to abortion from the bill and send them to the taxation committee for discussion. Another Bollier amendment would have sent the bill to the health committee; she noted that the bill had not been reviewed from a health perspective. The bill was considered by the House Federal and State Affairs Committee, which handles abortion, tobacco, strip club, gambling and alcohol policy.