Kansas House passes abortion amendment Friday; Local lawmakers discuss decisions Featured

Kansas House passes abortion amendment Friday; Local lawmakers discuss decisions KVOE News File Photo

A controversial amendment to the state's abortion laws has cleared the Kansas House.

The amendment passed the House Friday by a vote of 86-33. The amendment, among other inclusions, would ultimately reverse a decision from the Kansas Supreme Court back in 2019 which ruled abortion as a "fundamental right."

60th District Representative Mark Schreiber of Emporia voted in favor of the amendment. Schreiber states his vote does not reflect his personal beliefs on the subject of abortion but rather a desire for Kansas residents to have their say on the matter.

 

76th District Representative Eric Smith of Burlington also voted for the amendment and says he is glad to see the item moving forward after the legislative session was cut short last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He, like Schreiber, feels this is an item that the people of Kansas need to have a final say on.

Smith stated women do and should have the right to choose what happens to their bodies. However; he feels in the case of abortion there is not just one body involved.

 

Smith went on to say the amendment would "return us to where we were" prior to the high court's ruling back in 2019. He believes this will then allow the legislature to continue regulating abortion practices for the "safety of all those involved."

Following the vote, Governor Laura Kelly issued a statement in a news release in which she says, "I’ve always believed that every woman’s reproductive decisions should be left to her, her family, and her physician. While I know others do not share my belief, I don’t think those supporting this amendment are aware of the consequences it will have for the state of Kansas and our reputation."

She continued on saying, "We already know how this ends – North Carolina’s notorious bathroom bill cost that state nearly $4 billion in economic development – and this amendment has the same potential to do irreparable damage to our COVID-19 economic recovery efforts and our long-term prospects to recruit businesses and workforce talent."

The North Carolina legislation which Kelly cited was passed in 2016 and prevented transgender individuals from utilizing bathrooms that aligned with their gender identity within the state.

51st District Representative Ron Highland of Wamego, who also voted for the abortion amendment Friday, feels the amendment would not have as severe an impact as the North Carolina bill.

 

The amendment will now move on to the Kansas Senate and if passed will be placed onto the primary election ballot in 2022.

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