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Kansas lawmakers consider sweeping abortion changes

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March 08, 2012|By Chris Durden | KWCH 12 Eyewitness News

(TOPEKA, Kan.) — The topic of abortion comes up during every legislative session. This year, Kansas lawmakers are considering what some say is the most sweeping anti-abortion bill in the country.

House Bill 2598 would, among other things:

  • Exempt doctors from malpractice suits for withholding information to prevent an abortion
  • Eliminate tax credits for abortion providers
  • Eliminate tax deductions for the purchase of abortion-related health insurance
  • Require women be told about scientifically questionable link between abortion and breast cancer
  • Require women to hear the fetal heartbeat before a procedure

The bill frees a doctor from a malpractice lawsuit if the woman claims the physician withheld information about birth defects in order to prevent an abortion. Also, a woman cannot sue for pregnancy-related health problems that result from medical information being withheld.

Another provision in the 69-page bill bans state employees from performing abortions. This would impact residents at the University of Kansas Medical Center, as they are the only state employees who perform abortions.

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The Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education requires OB-GYN residents undergo abortion training. If the bill becomes law , UKMC would likely lose its accreditation. 

Lawmakers say they are working to change this particular provision. Medical residents can already opt out of the training on moral and religious grounds.

The bill eliminates various tax credits and deductions. There is no tax exemption for women seeking an abortion because of rape, incest or medical problems including ending an ectopic pregnancy or removing a fetus following a miscarriage.

Other states have similiar laws, but none were passed in a big as large as the one under consideration by the House Committee on Federal and State Affairs. The committee is chaired by Representative Steve Brunk (R-Bel Aire). Governor Sam Brownback has indicated he will sign the bill if it passes.

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