The rhetoric surrounding a debate over abortion rights in Kansas heated up on Monday, when state Sen. David Haley (D-Kansas City) accused his GOP colleagues of trying to impose “narrow Taliban-like philosophies on our state’s persons,” Raw Story reports.
Haley's comments came during state Senate debate on legislation that would dramatically limit the availability of abortions and birth control measures for Kansans. At its core, the bill declares that "the life of each human being begins at fertilization." The legislation would ban mid- and late-term abortions, end tax exemptions for abortion payments and require doctors to tell patients that there may be an increased risk of breast cancer caused by abortions, a claim that has been rejected by the medical community.
Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback (R) has said that he will sign any bill restricting abortions that reaches his desk, the Kansas City Star reports, almost ensuring that the legislation will become state law. The state House has already approved the bill, and the full state Senate is expected to vote Tuesday.
On Monday, the state Senate voted down two amendments -- including one submitted by Haley -- that would scale back the restrictions within the legislation.
One amendment would have carved-out an abortion exception for underage women that become pregnant through rape or incest. GOP lawmakers also blocked Haley's amendment, which would have made the bill inapplicable to certain types of birth control, such as the morning-after pill and IUDs.
Haley, a former Republican who claimed that the GOP's crusade on social issues had helped lead to his party switch, decried the move by his GOP colleagues. State Sen. Mary Pilcher-Cook (R-Shawnee), a sponsor of the bill, called Haley's amendment a distraction.
“This is just ridiculous,” she said, according to the Kansas City Star. “We should be focused on the bill instead of trying to make political points with amendments.”