Kansas Set to Establish Life at Fertilization

A bill defining life at the “moment of fertilization” has been sent to the Governor of Kansas to be signed into law after passing in both the state House and Senate.

The final version of the bill passed on Friday night after a 90 to 30 vote in the House, which resolved minor differences after it was approved in a 28 to 10 vote in the Senate. The measure requires that abortion providers supply women with a list of organizations that provide abortion alternatives, prevents any abortion facility from receiving state funding or tax credits, and requires doctors to provide patients with medically inaccurate information. In addition, HB 2253 would define life as beginning at the moment of fertilization.

Elizabeth Nash of the Guttmacher Institute, told reporters “It’s a statement of intent and it’s a pretty strong statement.” She continued, “Should the U.S. Supreme Court overturn Roe v. Wade or should the court come to some different conclusion, the state legislature would be ready, willing and able to ban abortions.”

Not all Kansas state legislators are happy with the decision. Rep. John Wilson, a Lawrence Democrat, said the bill was about “about politics, not medicine.” He continued, “It’s the very definition of government intrusion in a woman’s personal medical decisions.” State Senator David Haley argued that the provision establishing life at fertilization was a “Taliban-esque” method of allowing religion to dictate a woman’s reproductive rights.

While Governor Sam Brownback (R) has said he would have to review the policy, he is also a strong opponent of abortion rights. It is expected that he will sign the measure into law and that the restrictions in HB 2253 could take effect July 1, 2013.


Associated Press 4/6/2013; Reuters 4/6/2013; Feminist Newswire 4/2/2013

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