Kansas Senate Passes New Abortion Restrictions

By Kevin Murphy

KANSAS CITY, Kan., April 5 (Reuters) - The Kansas state Senate passed a measure on Friday that would ban Planned Parenthood from providing sex education in schools and require women to get more information about fetal development before having an abortion.

The measure was approved by a 28-10 vote and was expected to pass easily in the House of Representatives, which backed the 70-page bill in largely similar form earlier this week. Republicans have large majorities in both chambers. Republican Governor Sam Brownback, who opposes abortion, is expected to sign it.

Opponents of the measure say it contains 40 provisions that affect a woman's health and intrude on her right to an abortion. Advocates said it mainly codifies existing practices, while helping women make more informed choices.

"This fulfills the legislative intent to create a pro-life state," said Kathy Ostrowski, legislative director of Kansans for Life.

The Kansas bill is the latest development in a national fight over abortion that has seen lawmakers in several states pass new restrictions on abortion in the past two years.

Those have included laws approved in the past month in North Dakota and Arkansas that are seen as direct challenges to the U.S. Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade ruling in 1973 that legalized abortion.

The Kansas bill prohibits use of public funds, tax preferences or tax credits for abortion services.

The bill also requires abortion clinics to provide printed material about the fetus' stages of development, a link to websites, material and organizations that help pregnant women, and an explanation of legal responsibilities for an unborn child.

The bill bars school districts from letting abortion providers such as Planned Parenthood offer, sponsor or furnish course materials or instruction on human sexuality or on sexually transmitted diseases.

The bill defines life as beginning at fertilization, but does not ban abortion from that point. (Reporting by Kevin Murphy; Editing by Mary Wisniewski, Cynthia Johnston and Peter Cooney)



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