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Kansas Set To Enact Law Saying Life Starts At Fertilization

Posted: April 6, 2013

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Gov. Sam Brownback is expected to sign the measure making abortion access much harder in Kansas. In addition to declaring that life begins "at fertilization," it blocks tax breaks for abortion providers and requires doctors to address a weak link between abortion and breast cancer.

Kansas House Speaker Ray Merrick, a Republican, watches the chamber's electronic tally board as it approves a sweeping anti-abortion bill Friday at the Statehouse in Topeka. At left is Majority Leader Jene Vickrey.

Kansas House Speaker Ray Merrick, a Republican, watches the chamber's electronic tally board as it approves a sweeping anti-abortion bill Friday at the Statehouse in Topeka. At left is Majority Leader Jene Vickrey. John Hanna

Lawmakers in Kansas passed an extensive anti-abortion measure Friday night, which Gov. Sam Brownback is expected to sign into law. The bill declares that life begins "at fertilization," prohibits abortions related to the baby's sex and blocks tax breaks for health care providers that perform abortions.

The House passed the bill 90-30, hours after the Senate approved it 28-10.

The Associated Press quoted Republican Kansas Sen. Steve Fitzgerald, a supporter of the bill, as saying, "The human is a magnificent piece of work in all stages of development, wondrous in every regard, from the microscopic until full development."

The bill, called The Women's Right to Know Act, also requires doctors to provide controversial information to patients either seeking or inquiring about an abortion of a link between the procedure and breast cancer. The National Cancer Institute concluded in 2003 that abortion does not raise the risk for breast cancer, but physicians would have to address the issue as a "potential risk" for women seeking an abortion.

The Wichita Eagle reported that Rep. Annie Kuether, D-Topeka, responded to the bill's passage by saying the measure should be called "the Women's Right to Be Lied to Act."

The Women's Right to Know Act, or HB 2253, would make Kansas one of several states to add language that limits abortion practices while keeping Roe v. Wade in mind. The 1973 Supreme Court decision upholds the rights of women to obtain abortions in some circumstances, but allows states to put certain restrictions in place.

Gov. Brownback says he still has to review the law, but he is expected to sign it, allowing the new restrictions to take effect on July 1.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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