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Kansas governor signs abortion restriction legislation

Kansas Governor Sam Brownback (R) [official website] on Tuesday announced the signing of two pieces of legislation restricting abortions [JURIST news archive] in the state. The Abortion Reporting Accuracy and Parental Rights Act [HB 2035, PDF] requires unemancipated minors to obtain notarized parental signatures before an abortion may be performed, and the "fetal pain bill" [HB 2218, PDF] restricts abortions beyond 22 weeks of pregnancy based on the belief that a fetus can feel pain at that stage of gestation. Brownback took office in January and in his inaugural address urged the Republican–controlled state legislature to again attempt to pass abortion restriction legislation, which had been vetoed by Democratic governors in the last few years. The Kansas Senate [official website] voted last month to send the "fetal pain bill" to the governor [JURIST report], after the House of Representatives [official website] approved the measure [JURIST report] in February. Two other abortion restriction bills have been slowed in the House: one would exclude abortion coverage [SB 65 materials] from health insurance plans unless it is necessary to preserve the life of the mother, and the other would require that abortion clinics have an operating license [SB 36 materials] issued by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.

Since the November elections state legislatures across the country have been implementing measures to restrict abortions. Last week the Alabama House of Representatives [official website] voted to approve a bill [JURIST report] that would ban abortions after 20 weeks of gestation, except in cases where the mother's life is at risk or she faces serious injury. The Ohio Senate [official website] approved a similar bill [JURIST report] that would limit the availability of abortions after 20 weeks. Last month, the Idaho legislature [official website] also gave final approval to a bill [JURIST report] that would prohibit most abortions after 20 weeks. Also in March, the Iowa House of Representatives [official website] approved a bill [JURIST report] that would prohibit doctors from performing any late-term abortions in the state. Bills proposing similar abortion restrictions were approved in the Missouri House of Representatives and the Oklahoma House of Representatives [JURIST reports] last month. Also last month, South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard [official website] signed into law [JURIST report] a bill requiring women to seek counseling at a pregnancy center and wait three days before obtaining an abortion.

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