State representatives today passed a bill that would restrict abortions after 22 weeks on the premise that fetuses experience pain at that stage of development. The bill makes an exception in cases where the life of the mother is at risk or if continuing the pregnancy would result in impairment of one of her major bodily functions.
Rep. Judy Loganbill, D-Wichita, tried to amend the bill to also include exceptions for fetal anomalies — cases in which there is something seriously wrong with the fetus — but her effort failed to gain much support.
“I don’t think we want to go down the path of targeting handicapped children,” Rep. Joe Patton, R-Topeka, said.
Rep. Forrest Knox, R-Altoona, said he also didn’t want the state to be in the business of determining which birth defects warrant an abortion.
Rep. Terri Lois Gregory, R-Baldwin, said she had two friends told their babies would have birth defects. Doctors were wrong, she said.
Rep. Steve Brunk, R-Wichita, noted his daughter was born with spina bifida, and doctors told him and his wife that she wouldn’t be able to walk and would have developmental disabilities. She is now a 33-year-old freelance writer, he said.
Brunk said he understood the difficult decisions people face when something is wrong with their baby, but “the difficulties and frailties of life don’t negate the fact that are the core, life is good.”
Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri consider the bill “blatantly unconstitutional.” Trust Women and Kansas NOW also spoke out against it.
One woman who testified Thursday said she and her husband chose to abort one of their twins when they learned they were suffering from a condition that affects blood circulation. Doctors told her and her husband, Tiffany Campbell testified, that the best chance they had to deliver a health baby was to end the life of the other.
Read more about the bill in Saturday’s Eagle.