Kansas Committee Passes Landmark Abortion-Fetal Pain Bill

State   Steven Ertelt   Feb 18, 2011   |   7:20PM    Topeka, KS

Today, the House Federal & State Affairs committee passed by voice vote HB 2218, the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, sponsored by 47 state representatives under the leadership of Rep. Lance Kinzer (R-Olathe). Kansans for Life applauded the vote.

HB 2218 bans abortions at 22 weeks gestation (20 weeks post-conception) due to the scientific evidence that not only do unborn children feel pain, they feel it more acutely because pain “dampeners” do not fully develop until 40 weeks gestation, and later.

Kathy Ostrowski, the legislative director for Kansans for Life, told LifeNews.com, “This is a landmark bill, nearly identical to the Nebraska bill enacted last year that chased late-term abortionist LeRoy Carhart to Maryland. At least 12 other states are interested in enacting similar laws, bills have been filed in five states.”

On Wednesday, the committee heard from pro-life pediatricians from Parsons and Topeka with phone-in advice from a Washington state maternal-infant specialist.  Kansans for Life provided extensive testimony, including reviews of scientific studies and legislative/Constitutional analyses.

Abortion supporters opposing HB 2218 testified on Thursday, but brought no intellectual firepower to counter the medical experts that had testified definitively for the pro-life side. The House Federal & State Affairs committee asked opponents if they had any scientific or medical information relevant to the bill. They had none, other than mentioning a 2005 discredited article.

Section 3 allows the induction of an abortion upon a woman when gestational age is 22 or more weeks if “in reasonable medical judgment” she has a condition which so complicates her medical condition as to necessitate the abortion to avert her death or to avert serious risk of substantial and irreversible physical impairment of a major bodily function.  
“This language is fully adequate to cover circumstances in which termination of a pregnancy is truly medically necessary,” Ostrowski said. “Other than a true maternal physical medical situation or life-threatening condition, HB 2218 will ban abortions after 22 weeks gestation (20 weeks post-fertilization). This will prevent abortions sought for the emotional or mental health of the mother, or for the severity of a fetal condition.”

Ostrowski concluded: “Kansans are ashamed of the thousands of abortions that were done in Wichita using this “mental health loophole”–not to help save the mother’s life or prevent substantial, irreversible damage to her body.”

Earlier this month, the House Federal State Affairs committee passed HB 2035, the Abortion Reporting Accuracy and Parental Rights Act. The bill reflects that parents should be counseling and protecting their underage pregnant daughters.