Abortion bill hearing underway

TOPEKA — A hearing on a bill to place major new restrictions on abortion is underway right now in the House Federal and State Affairs Committee.

Rep. Lance Kinzer, R-Olathe, the chief author of House Bill 2035, argued that the bill is necessary to close loopholes that allowed slain Dr. George Tiller to provide late-term abortions at his clinic in Wichita.

Kinzer said the existing state law made Kansas into a “destination spot for performance of abortion.”

Main provisions of the bill include:

– requiring that both parents give their consent for a minor to have an abortion.

– abolishing the “mental health exception,” which allows doctors to justify performing an abortion if carrying the pregnancy to term would damage the mother’s mental health.

– changes the term “fetus” to “unborn child” in state law

– Requires doctors to report a detailed medical diagnosis to the state to justify performing a late-term abortion.

– allow parents of minors to file a civil suit against a doctor if they believe an abortion was performed in violation of the law.

– raise violation of abortion law from a level 10 person felony to a level eight.

Amber Versola, of the National Organization for Women, argued against the changes, saying they would fall hardest on poor and abused women and girls.