Sen. Mary Pilcher-Cook
The Kansas Pro-Life Protections Act (HB 2253) passed the Senate by a vote of 29-11, after a nearly 3-hour debate Monday that focused on extraneous amendments offered by pro-abortion Democrat Senators.
Only one amendment (tweaking the tax code) was adopted. Because of that, HB 2253 must procedurally be “re-passed” in the House before heading to Gov. Sam Brownback’s desk.
The Pro-Life Protections Act actually enacts no new restrictions on abortion, rather it:
- recognizes that life begins at fertilization for purposes of public policy decisions;
- prevents state discrimination against pro-life entities;
- restricts tax-payer funding for abortion;
- defunds abortion training at the state university medical school;
- keeps abortion businesses out of public school sex-ed;
- codifies informed consent topics already used by the state health department;
- strengthens medical and community support for Down Syndrome & other conditions.
Sen. Mary Pilcher-Cook (R-Shawnee), Chair of the Health committee, introduced and defended HB 2253 as positive and protective legislation. She had her hands full explaining what the bill didn’t contain when rebutting senators repeating the spin that liberal pro-abortion forums like the Huffington Post have spewed for two years.
Sen. David Haley (D-Kansas City), who ordinarily causes pro-lifers to groan, really startled observers Monday by first complaining that abortion opponents “impose narrow Taliban-like philosophies” and then with his repeated–and bizarre– claim that “this bill would empower rapists.” Haley twice admitted in debate that “he didn’t know what was in the bill,” even though he was in the committee that took testimony and ‘worked’ the bill!
Haley offered three hostile amendments that failed; the first one was identical to the Wilson amendment which was offered and failed 2 weeks ago during House debate on this same bill. Though described as limiting three abortion laws for women pregnant by assault, the language actually would invalidate ALL Kansas abortion statutes, including—just to name a few– informed consent, parental involvement, physician penalties, and protection of unborn children who feel pain.
Haley’s second amendment was described as keeping birth control legal, which is already in Kansas statute, and his third motion was to table the bill.
Sen. Marci Francisco (D-Lawrence) introduced four amendments, one of which would overturn our 2011 law that excludes elective abortion coverage in private health plans. The ACLU took this law to court (a law which other states have had on the books for decades), forcing Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt to defend it. As the trial neared, the ACLU dropped the suit.
Francisco also made a motion to expand abortion deductions and a motion to add domestic partner language to the bill; those amendments failed. Her tax-tweaking amendment succeeded.
Senate Minority leader, Anthony Hensley (D-Topeka), heartily endorsed every defeated motion.
The third abortion supporter to offer an amendment was freshman Sen. Pat Pettey (D-Kansas City). She wanted breast cancer and pre-term birth topics removed from the bill’s informed consent provisions.
KDHE (the state health department) has determined for 15 years that these topics are relevant to provide legally acceptable informed consent.
KDHE cites the Institute of Medicine and a 2009 international meta-analysis in their exposition of possible future pre-term birth risk.
As for breast cancer, KDHE has a modest section citing that there are studies for and against what is known as “the independent” risk factor of abortion. What is pre-eminent is the incontrovertible biological evidence that the risk of breast cancer is reduced with a full-term delivery. An already-pregnant woman deserves that information.
In fact, a national Planned Parenthood fact sheet (submitted by the Kansas City affiliate in opposition to HB 2253) actually reinforces this fact in their breast cancer section:
“reproductive factors have been associated with risk for the disease since the seventeenth century…it is known that having a full-term pregnancy early in a woman’s childbearing years is protective against breast cancer.”
Now compare Planned Parenthood’s statement above with the first 3 sentences in the KDHE abortion informed consent booklet, under breast cancer risk:
Your chances of getting breast cancer are affected by your pregnancy history. If you have carried a pregnancy to term as a young woman, you may be less likely to get breast cancer in the future. However, your risk is not reduced if your pregnancy is ended by an abortion.
The language is nearly identical! Sen. Pettey’s amendment failed. The challengers sought headlines, not improvements for the bill. Kansans can be proud of this legislation.
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