Three more states have focused their legislative efforts on restricting abortion after 20 weeks, with Kansas and Idaho both passing the bill through the senate, and Alabama considering theirs in committee.
The bill allows an abortion after the 21st week of pregnancy only if the mother’s life is in danger or she faces substantial and permanent harm to “a major bodily function,” which would exclude mental health.
The legislation ties the restrictions to a legal presumption that a fetus can feel pain after the 21st week. The science behind that presumption is still in dispute, however.
“HB 2218 jeopardizes a woman’s health,” said Peter Brownlie, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri. “While rare, an abortion that takes place after 22 weeks into a pregnancy is most often necessary because of a severe fetal indication or serious medical condition that endangers the life or health of the mother. This bill is an attack on women and families facing wanted pregnancies that have gone terribly wrong.”
Kansas’s bill, which has already passed the House, is expected to be signed by Gov. Sam Brownback shortly.
Idaho also passed the bill through senate, although it still needs to be approved in the House. Several Republican senators sided against the ban, however, noting that it was only going to end up in the courts and not wanting the state to be stuck footing the bill to defend it. According to KHQ.com:
Sen. Joyce Broadsword, of Sagle, was among three Republicans who joined the Senate’s seven Democrats in opposition to the measure. Broadsword argued the legislation would result in costly litigation and forced lawmakers to choose between their morals and their legislative ethics.
“We’re passing legislation that we know is unconstitutional, that we know we’re going to end up in court with,” Broadsword said.
In the past decade, Idaho has spent more than $730,000 to defend restrictive abortion laws that were stricken down by the courts. Those costly rulings have prompted legislative leaders in recent years to require that abortion-related legislation be reviewed by the Idaho attorney general’s office.
Last month, the agency told Winder his measure was “unconstitutional under the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution insofar as it proscribes some non-therapeutic abortions even before a fetus has reached viability,” in an opinion from Steven Olsen, the chief of the agency’s civil litigation division.
In Alabama, anti-choice advocates explain that their intention is first to pass a bill stating that “pain” should be the point in which abortion should be outlawed, then try to find ways to claim a fetus feels pain earlier and earlier.
Via CBS News 8:
Rep. Rich’s proposal is modeled after the Nebraska abortion ban passed last year. At least a dozen other states are looking at similar legislation.
“There’s much more medical evidence than we’ve had in times past and medical evidence proves without any question a child suffers pain, ” Rep. Rich added.
If passed, those in favor hope this bill is just a start. “The beauty of this bill is as science proves that the age of feeling pain and sensing pain is earlier and earlier that will move the date back,” said Sue Turner, Executive Director of Alabama Physicians for Life, Inc.
Alabama’s bill remains in committee for “further discussion.”