Wednesday, March 20, 2013

House rejects exception from abortion restrictions for rape, incest, abuse victims

By SCOTT ROTHSCHILD, The Lawrence Journal-World

The Kansas House on Tuesday rejected a provision that would exempt victims of rape, incest or child sexual abuse from restrictions on abortions.

In proposing his amendment to an abortion bill, state Rep. John Wilson, D-Lawrence, said women and girls in those "horrible, life-changing" situations shouldn't be prevented from getting an abortion.

But state Rep. Lance Kinzer, R-Olathe, and a vocal opponent of abortion rights, said Wilson's amendment would change a decade's worth of placing restrictions on abortion in Kansas.

Wilson's amendment failed on a 31-90 vote.

The discussion occurred on House Bill 2253, a wide ranging abortion bill brought by Kinzer that was given preliminary approval by the House on Tuesday.

Another proposed amendment to the bill, which would have removed language in the bill that tells doctors to provide information about the potential risks of abortion, including breast cancer, failed.

State Rep. Barbara Bollier, R-Mission Hills, and a physician, said there wasn't sound scientific evidence to back up a link between abortion and breast cancer.

"I don't want you at my doctor's appointment telling my doctor what to say," she told the House. But her amendment fell, 50-71.

HB 2253 would prohibit tax breaks for abortion providers, bar women who claim tax deductions for medical expenses from including the cost of an abortion, and prohibit public schools from using sex education instruction from Planned Parenthood.

During debate, the measure prompted general comments on abortion in general.

State Rep. Joe Edwards, R-Wichita, and a pastor, said, "We must stop this genocide that is happening in America."

But state Rep. Carolyn Bridges, D-Wichita, said continued restrictions on abortion won't stop abortions from happening. "You can pass all of the bills that you want to, but abortions are not going to end. What is going to end is the safe procedure that is taking place."

Kinzer said a portion of the bill that states that the life of each human being begins at fertilization will "help set the context for more substantive restrictions in the future."