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Kansas Pro-Life Legislative Update

President Donald Trump made good on one of his campaign promises early in his presidency by nominating strong conservative judge Neil Gorsuch as the successor to the late U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. This has huge implications for the pro-life effort.

The U.S. House passed legislation to repeal and replace several of the major provisions of the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) and block most federal funding of Planned Parenthood. Unfortunately, the legislation stalled in the U.S. Senate.

The U.S. House also passed the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which would ban abortions at 20 weeks gestation due to the medical evidence that unborn children feel pain. The U.S. Senate has yet to take up the legislation. In 2011, Kansas became the second state in the nation to enact similar legislation, and it is still in force (at least 15 other states have since passed passed pain-capable bans).

Check out the PDF of our 2018 Respect Life Guide

Kansas was once again a leader in pro-life legislation in 2017 with the enactment of two first-in-the-nation laws:

1.”Simon’s Law” prevents “Do Not Resuscitate” (DNR) orders from being placed on children without parental knowledge or consent. Proponents of the bill testified that many children with chromosomal abnormalities were being denied life-sustaining treatment due to some in the medical community’s negative view of their “quality of life.” The law also requires the disclosure (upon request) of any existent hospital policy concerning the refusal of life-sustaining care.

  1. The “Disclose Act” updates the state’s 1997 informed consent provisions for women considering abortion. The Act requires the disclosure to women of relevant information on the physicians providing abortions, such as the holding of local hospital privileges and malpractice insurance, the length of employment, and Kansas residency.

As the year draws to a close, pro-lifers in Kansas anxiously await a decision from the state Supreme Court as to whether the Kansas constitution contains a so-called “right to abortion.”   The enormity of such a decision is stated in the petition to the Kansas Supreme Court found on the KFL website:

“The Kansas State Constitution guarantees the “right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” When adopted in 1859, it did not state, nor intend to create, a “right” to abortion. In fact, in that same year, just before and after the adoption of the Kansas Constitution, our legislature passed laws making it a crime to kill an unborn child by abortion. We, the undersigned citizens, object to the recent interpretation by certain Kansas judges that a broad and extreme right to abortion should be “read into” our constitution — and further protest that such a judicial opinion authorizes the inhumane dismemberment of fully formed unborn babies while they are still alive. We, the undersigned, urge the Kansas Supreme Court to interpret the Kansas Constitution to protect the Right to Life.”

–Jeanne Gawdun | Kansans for Life Lobbyist