Planned Parenthood [advocacy website] filed a lawsuit Thursday over a new Kansas law [text, PDF] passed in April requiring doctors to inform women seeking abortions that they are ending the life of a "whole, separate, unique, living human being." Since Governor Sam Brownback [official website] signed the legislation [JURIST report], Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri (PPKM) [advocacy website], the plaintiff in the suit, denounced the law as an extreme governmental intrusion on women's reproductive rights. Peter Brownlie, President and CEO of PPKM, stated [press release], "For government officials to force individuals and organizations to publicly endorse the state's views violates the fundamental principles on which our country is founded." The new Kansas law is set to take effect next month [AP report].
Earlier this week the US House of Representatives [official website] voted in favor of a bill [HR 1797] that would ban most abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy [JURIST report]. The bill passed by a vote of 228-196 [roll call vote] mainly along party lines. Additionally, a number of states have recently passed restrictive laws relating to reproductive rights [JURIST backgrounder]. In April North Dakota Governor Jack Dalrymple [official website] signed a measure [JURIST report] banning abortions after 20 weeks gestation based on the controversial premise that a fetus can feel pain at that point. Earlier that month lawmakers in Alabama passed [JURIST report] the Women's Health and Safety Act [text, PDF] which imposes tough restrictions on abortion clinics and practitioners within the state. In March the Arkansas legislature voted to override [JURIST report] Governor Mike Beebe's recent veto of the Arkansas Human Heartbeat Protection Act [Act 301, PDF], which bans abortions "of an unborn human individual whose heartbeat has been detected ... and is twelve (12) weeks or greater gestation." That law has since been blocked by a federal judge [JURIST report].