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Proposed amendment would effectively ban abortion in Kansas

January 30, 2019

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas House will consider a state constitutional amendment that would grant human rights from the moment of fertilization, even as lawmakers await a state Supreme Court ruling on whether the constitution guarantees a right to abortion.

The amendment, which was introduced Monday, is sponsored by 21 legislators. It would grant “inalienable rights, equal protection and due process of law of every human being from the beginning of the biological development of that human being, including fertilization,” The Wichita Eagle reported .

Supporters and opponents say the amendment would effectively ban abortion under state law, but it would continue to be legal under federal law.

“My purpose is to protect unborn babies and unborn children. I think they’re persons,” said Rep. Randy Garber, a Republican from Sabetha. “I think life begins at conception and they should have equal protection under our constitution.”

A state Supreme Court ruling that the constitution includes the right to an abortion would leave state-level abortion regulations open to more challenges. But Garber, who has offered the amendment before, said he didn’t introduce it this session because of the pending Supreme Court ruling.

Two-thirds of both the House and Senate would have to approve the amendment. It would then go to Kansas voters, with a majority needed to pass it.

Planned Parenthood Great Plains contends the legislation would outlaw all abortions and is a “blatant attempt to eliminate a woman’s right to access safe, legal abortion,” said Rachel Sweet, the organization’s regional director of public policy and organizing.

“Women don’t turn to politicians for medical advice, and yet extremist political ideology threatens to interfere with the fundamental right of Kansans to control our own bodies,” Sweet said.

Planned Parenthood noted that all of the bill’s 21 sponsors are men. Garber said he “never even thought of that.”

“The saddest thing about this to me is whether you outlaw abortion only determines whether women will be safe having an abortion or not and that is why it was legalized,” said Sen. Barbara Bollier, a Mission Hills Democrat.

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Information from: The Wichita (Kan.) Eagle, http://www.kansas.com

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