Kansas House Approves Extensive Anti-Abortion Bill

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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) -- Kansas lawmakers are a step closer to placing widespread restrictions on those who perform and receive abortions. Members of the house passed an extensive anti-abortion bill Wednesday with a 92-31 vote.

The bill includes a range of provisions that have received mixed reviews from representatives on both sides of the issue. If the bill becomes law, groups that offer abortions, like Planned Parenthood, would be prohibited from receiving tax breaks from the state. These organizations would also be banned from providing instructional materials for sex education classes in public schools.

While both these features concerned Democratic lawmaker Harold Lane, he says his opposition to the measure stems from a provision that would leave women unable to claim tax deductions for medical expenses associated with an abortion.

“It opens up a can of worms that a woman might actually have to submit her health records to the department of revenue for them to determine if she was trying to deduct abortion related expenses,” said Lane, D-Topeka. “So I think it's a violation of HIPAA rules.”

Fellow Topeka Democrat Rep. Annie Tietze opposed the bill for a different reason: it requires doctors to tell women about potential risks associated with abortion, including breast cancer.

“There is not solid statistically proven proof that abortion causes breast cancer or that it increases the risk of losing children later,” said Tietze, D-Topeka.

Supporters say that focusing on these provisions overlooks the bill's biggest accomplishment: its clear definition for when life begins.

“As a physician and as a person who has studied biology, human life starts at conception, and if you believe in that, everything else beyond that is actually moot,” said Rep. Shanti Gandhi, R-Topeka.

The bill will now go to the Senate for a vote. With a conservative majority, both supporters and opponents say they think it will pass in the upper chamber.