POLITICS

Kansas Senate Approves Proposed Ban On Abortion Procedure

02/20/2015 10:34 am ET | Updated Mar 26, 2015

The Kansas Senate approved a bill Friday that would ban a procedure used in 8 percent of the state's abortions, according to the AP.

The legislation, drafted by the National Right to Life Committee, was approved by a 31-9 vote.

The measure bans what doctors call the dilation and evacuation procedure, used in about 8 percent of abortions in Kansas, redefining it legally as "dismemberment abortion." According to abortion rights advocates, the procedure is often the safest way to terminate a pregnancy in the second trimester, but the ban could outlaw some earlier abortions.

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The national group and Kansans for Life, the most influential anti-abortion group at the Statehouse, see an opening to ban the dilation and evacuation procedure because the U.S. Supreme Court in 2007 upheld a federal ban on a late-term procedure described by opponents as "partial birth abortion." Abortion rights advocates argue that lawmakers should not rule out a procedure if a doctor believes it's a woman's best medical option.

Kansas state Sen. Garrett Love (R) -- the bill's sponsor -- called the abortion procedure "truly barbaric," according to The Wichita Eagle. Several Democrats in the state Senate pushed their GOP colleagues to replace the phrase "unborn child" in the bill with the term "fetus."

“I know some of you don’t believe in science. But it’s not an unborn child, it’s called a fetus,” state Sen. David Haley (D) said.

An amendment proposed by state Sen. Marci Francisco (D) changing that language and removing several restrictions on abortion was defeated, The Wichita Eagle reports.

The bill now goes to the state House of Representatives. Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback (R) has said he would sign the bill if it reaches his desk.

U.S. House Republican leaders abruptly canceled a vote on a National Right to Life-backed anti-abortion bill in January because of opposition from female GOP lawmakers. In a statement on the decision, the group said it was "profoundly disappointed" in the vote delay, but said it preferred "delaying the vote to passing a greatly weakened bill."

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