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Kansas Governor Signs Bill Restricting Abortion With AM-Abortion Laws-Glance

April 23, 1992

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) _ Gov. Joan Finney, an anti-abortion advocate, signed an bill Thursday that guarantees a woman’s right to abortion but requires an eight-hour waiting period and parental notification.

″I have repeatedly said I would sign legislation that restricts abortion in any way,″ Mrs. Finney said.

Anti-abortion advocates expressed disappointment with Finney.

″It appears that this time the governor has gone against her instincts and listened to the politicians instead of the people,″ said Pat Goodson, lobbyist for Right to Life of Kansas Inc. ″Now it will be business as usual for abortionists.″

Abortion rights supporters accepted the bill as a compromise.

″It does protect a woman’s right to choose,″ said Jane Gilchrist, director of the Wichita YWCA and an abortion-rights activist.

Kansas had one of the least restrictive abortion laws in the nation, requiring only that a woman obtain the consent of a doctor and go to a licensed medical facility such as a clinic. There were no limits on when an abortion can be performed.

In Wichita last summer, the national anti-abortion group Operation Rescue staged a weeks-long series of protests against a clinic that performed late- term abortions. The group is demonstrating in Buffalo, N.Y., this week.

Abortion rights advocates had hoped to get a law on the books to guarantee a woman’s right to an abortion in most circumstances. They had hoped for action before the U.S. Supreme Court rules on the issue again and possibly overturns its 1973 Roe vs. Wade decision, which legalized abortion nationwide.

The high court currently is considering a Pennsylvania law restricting abortions. That law bans most abortions in public hospitals. It also requires a 24-hour waiting period and that married women seeking abortions notify their husbands.

The new law won’t restrict an adult woman’s ability to obtain an abortion as long as her fetus can’t survive outside the womb. It contains the following restrictions:

-A doctor must notify at least one parent before a girl under 18 receives an abortion. That requirement could be waived by a court, however.

-If a fetus is viable - capable of living outside the womb - a woman would not be able to undergo an abortion unless her life was in danger or the fetus was severely deformed.

-A woman must wait eight hours before obtaining an abortion. Also, doctors must provide information about the procedure, such as how well-developed the fetus is, under an ″informed consent″ provision.

The bill also prevents cities and counties from regulating abortion and increases the penalties for blockading clinics. That provision is a response to the protests last summer in Wichita.

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