New abortion limits proposed by Kansas legislature

The Kansas City StarJanuary 28, 2011 

TOPEKA — Suddenly freed from the threat of a veto, anti-abortion legislators in Kansas are hoping this is the year they finally pass new restrictions on the procedure.

A bill reviewed in a House committee this week would require minors seeking an abortion to get parental consent first. The state now requires only parental notification. As an alternative, a minor could get permission from a judge. Missouri already has a parental consent law.

The bill also would toughen restrictions in the state’s late-term abortion ban. Current law prohibits abortions after 22 weeks of pregnancy, unless it puts the woman’s health at risk. Courts have interpreted the health exception to include mental health, which anti-abortion lawmakers argue lets late-term abortion providers justify almost any procedure.

The bill, HB 2305, would specify that the risk must be physical, and it would require late-term abortion providers to report to the state the diagnoses prompting the abortion.

Supporters say the changes only clarify the law’s original intent.

“The law was interpreted and enforced in a way that allowed Kansas to become a destination spot for the performance of late-term abortion,” said the legislation’s author, Rep. Lance Kinzer, an Olathe Republican. “To many of us, that was a great tragedy.”

The legislation also would allow a woman, her partner or — if a minor — her parents to sue the provider if they think the late-term abortion was performed illegally.

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