Legislators in Kansas' Republican-led state House and Senate passed a draconian anti-abortion bill Friday night, including provisions that order physicians to tell their pregnant patients that breast cancer is a risk of abortion, a claim that has been thoroughly debunked.
According to the Associated Press, the bill now heads to the desk of Republican Governor Sam Brownback, who is expected to sign it into law. The new restrictions are expected to be in place by July 1.
Included in the language of the bill is the concept of "fetal personhood," which states that life begins at fertilization, making all forms of abortion and some forms of birth control illegal. The measure puts restrictions on what children are allowed to learn in school about sex and contraception and dictates what information doctors must provide to patients.
Republicans argue that they are not gearing up to put abortion providers out of business, but rather celebrating God's creation.
"The human is a magnificent piece of work at all stages of development, wondrous in every regard, from the microscopic until full development," said Sen. Steve Fitzgerald (R), who supported the bill.
State Democrats have objected, calling the bill "Taliban-esque" and insisting that Republicans are playing politics with public health.
"It's the very definition of government intrusion in a woman's personal medical decisions," said Democratic Rep. John Wilson.
Republican state Senator Mary Pilcher-Cook said the new law is "a clear statement from Kansas with respect to the judgment on the inherent value of human life."
The bill also takes away tax breaks normally provided to health care providers from any and all medical facilities that offer abortion services, raising their costs for all patients, not just those seeking to terminate a pregnancy. This type of punitive taxation is a tactic commonly used by anti-choice lawmakers who are trying to shut down women's clinics.
Jordan Goldberg, state advocacy counsel for the New York City-based Center for Reproductive Rights, called the measures "appalling and discriminatory."
"It's probably, if not definitely unconstitutional," said Goldberg, "and it's incredibly mean-spirited."
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