Four abortion bills under consideration in Kansas Legislature

TOPEKA | Tiffany Campbell and her husband were excited about their 2006 pregnancy.

But after discovering that the twins in her womb had twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome — one baby was receiving too much blood and one too little — they decided to abort one because of the slight hope that the other would then survive.

The decision was excruciating, Campbell told the Kansas Senate’s Judiciary Committee on Thursday.

“It was the most difficult decision of our lives,” she said.

But, she added, the decision would have been worse if it had been criminalized.

Among the four abortion-related bills being heard in the committee is one that includes restrictions that would make abortions illegal after 22 weeks of gestation, the age at which a fetus could survive outside of the womb.

Campbell argued that if a woman discovered at 21 weeks of pregnancy that she was in the situation she had experienced, there would be no time for her to contemplate her decision under the proposed legislation.

HB 2218, which passed the House in a 91-30 vote, would restrict late-term abortions because of the risk of fetal pain. Abortions would be illegal if performed at or after 22 weeks of pregnancy, except in cases where the physical health of the woman was at serious risk.

Kathy Ostrowski, state director for Kansans for Life, said the legislation asserts the state’s right to step in and prevent unborn children from feeling excruciating pain. She said she thought legislators were receptive to the bill because preventing fetal pain is a compelling interest.

Another bill, HB 2035, would require minors to obtain parental consent before an abortion and change the term “fetus” to “unborn child.” Both of the young woman’s parents would have to give consent, unless the parents were separated or a judge signed a waiver.

Kansas law currently requires only parental notification before abortions.

The bill passed the House in a 95-26 vote.

The committee’s hearing included a third bill, SB 146, introduced by Sen. Mark Taddiken, a Clifton Republican. The contents of Taddiken’s bill have been heard in previous legislative sessions, except for the parental consent provision. He said 25 other states already have consent laws.

A fourth bill in the committee concerns licenses for abortion clinics. Clinics would need to renew their licenses annually and undergo inspections at least twice a year.

The committee will continue its hearing on the bills today.

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