Late Friday evening, as the legislative session was ending, the Kansas legislature passed three pro-life bills that Kansans for Life is confident pro-life Gov. Sam Brownback will sign.
Due to late amendments, all the measures were procedurally re-affirmed by both chambers as “conference committee recommendations” and passed by large margins.
House Judiciary chair, Lance Kinzer (R-Olathe), drafted the lead bill for the last two sessions, the Pro-Life Protections Act. He commented,
“These measures represent a significant step forward in our ongoing effort to advance thoughtful and targeted legislation that both defends innocent human life and protects women who are so often exploited by the abortion industry.”
The Pro-life Protections Act of 2013, HB 2253, was carried by Rep. Arlen Siegfreid (R- Olathe) and passed 90-30 in the House and 28-10 in the Senate. HB 2253 codifies abortion informed consent materials authorized by the state health department, and removes all tax streams that pay for abortion and give advantages to abortion businesses.
The informed consent section has an added mandate for the state department to facilitate medical information access and community support for families facing pre-birth and post-birth diagnoses of Down Syndrome and other conditions.
HB 2253 assures taxpayers are not directly funding abortion or abortion training at the state university, and forbids state discrimination against pro-life citizens and entities.
As of this week, HB 2253 now includes SB 141, the ban on abortions done solely for the gender of the unborn child. This ban was passed earlier in the session by the Senate, and passed last year in the House as a provision in another bill. Kansas will join Illinois, Pennsylvania, Oklahoma and Arizona, in banning sex selection abortions.
The second measure secured Friday was SB 199, with votes of 90-30 in the House, 31-8 in the Senate. It establishes a unique Midwest Center for Stem Cell Therapy at University of Kansas Medical Center (KUMC) in collaboration with the Blood and Marrow Transplant Center of Kansas and the Via Christi Cancer Institute in Wichita. Rep. David Crum (R-Augusta) carried the bill.
The Center will expand ongoing “adult” and “cord blood” treatments and become a global clinical and educational resource for cures and treatments that do not use embryonic or fetal tissues. The Center will fill a void by producing clinical grade stem cells, increasing clinical trials in this region, maintaining a comprehensive stem cell database, and creating educational training modules.
The third bill that passed (which Kansans for Life supported) is HB 2164, by a vote count of 92- 28 in the House and 26-12 in the Senate. Under this bill, grand juries summoned by citizen petitions will be better protected from being undermined by local district attorneys. A citizen-petitioned grand jury is an important watchdog tool, which has been used in Kansas to challenge government agencies not upholding pro-life and pro-family laws.
Last month, Kansas passed SB 142, “Unborn Civil Rights for the Unborn,” which outlaws civil actions of “wrongful birth” and “wrongful life” on behalf of disabled children. It was carried by House Corrections chair, John Rubin (R-Shawnee).
OPPONENTS’ TALKING POINTS CORRECTED:
Abortion supporters continue to mischaracterize these bills—even during debate in both chambers Friday night–so here are some needed corrections. Under these pro-life bills:
- only abortions done solely for sex selection are banned, otherwise abortions for any reason, including rape, remain legal until the 22nd week of pregnancy, and after that time, can be obtained to preserve the life of the mother or prevent irreversible and substantial physical damage to her;
- hospitals suffer no penalties for treating life-of-the-mother crises including both ectopic pregnancies and emergencies throughout 9 months;
- the updated informed consent materials (created by KDHE since 1997) do not contain misinformation, do not say abortion causes breast cancer, and do not force any abortion provider to tell women ANYTHING because the materials are written and online;
- the acknowledgment that ‘life begins at fertilization’ is language approved in 1989 by the U.S. Supreme Court, and adopted by 13 other states–it does not challenge abortion decisions at the federal or state level;
- there was no money “taken” from the KUMC budget for the adult stem center, and the center is not hostage to politics, but is expanding on successful medical treatments ALREADY under way at KUMC and across the state.