Kansas House passes historic ban on Dismemberment Abortion, bill will go to Governor Brownback for his signature

By Kathy Ostrowski, Legislative Director, Kansans for Life

Kansas State Rep. Steve Brunk

Kansas State Rep. Steve Brunk

This morning by voice vote, the Kansas House passed landmark pro-life legislation, Senate Bill 95,”The Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act.” A final tally is expected later today. The Senate has already approved SB95.

Introduced in January by lead sponsor, Sen. Garrett Love (R-Montezuma), and 24 Senate co-sponsors, the Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act generated immediate grass-roots support.

On February 20, SB 95 passed the Senate, 31-9.

After a final tally, expected later today, SB 95 will head to Gov. Sam Brownback, who has promised his signature.

SB 95 bans a particularly gruesome abortion method in which a living unborn child in her mother’s womb is ripped apart into pieces by an abortionist using sharp metal tools. In the words of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, the unborn child, “dies just as a human adult or child would: It bleeds to death as it is torn limb from limb.”[Stenberg v. Carhart, 530 U.S. 914, 958-959]

Records from the Kansas Health & Environment Dept. show that in 2013 this method was used in 7.8% of total Kansas abortions reported.

Model language for SB 95 was provided by the National Right to Life Committee, which made this bill its top state legislative priority. Passage was the number one priority for Kansans for Life this session.

A similar measure has passed the Oklahoma House and could be on the Senate floor next week.

Kansas State Rep. John Rubin

Kansas State Rep. John Rubin

SB 95 was carried on the House floor by seasoned pro-lifer, Representative Steve Brunk (R-Wichita), chair of the Federal & State Affairs committee which held the hearing on the measure. He was assisted on legal questions by another pro-life leader, John Rubin (R-Shawnee), chair of the Corrections & Juvenile Justice committee.

Pro-life Rep. Becky Hutchins (R-Holton) spoke up for the victim of dismemberment abortion, the “living” unborn child. Then she talked about the “three D’s” that follow from such abortions:

“Tearing a developed fetus apart, limb by limb, is an act of depravity that society should not permit. We cannot afford such a devaluation of human life, nor the desensitization of medical personnel it requires.

Once again, opponents of SB 95 talked about anything other than the contents of the bill, mostly complaining that more money should be spent on pregnancy prevention.

Perennial abortion supporter, Rep. Barb Bollier (R-Mission Hills), offered a poorly-worded and unneeded medical exception for “ruptured membranes before 24 weeks.” SB 95 already includes exceptions for the life-of–the-mother and substantial and irreversible physical emergencies.

Kansas State Rep. Becky Hutchins

Kansas State Rep. Becky Hutchins

BACKGROUND

In the 42 years since Roe v. Wade was handed down, the Supreme Court has consistently asserted that States have  compelling interests in regulating abortion to preserve the integrity of the medical profession and to show respect for the unborn child (“human fetus”).

“States also have an interest in forbidding medical procedures which, in the State’s reasonable determination, might cause the medical profession or society as a whole to become insensitive, even disdainful, to life, including life in the human fetus.” [Stenberg v. Carhart, 530 U.S. 914, 961]

Although in 2000, the Court in Stenberg v. Carhart did not uphold Nebraska’s ban on partial-birth abortions, in 2007 it did uphold the federal ban on partial-birth abortions in Gonzales v. Carhart.

In both Stenberg and Gonzales, the justices closely examined the gruesome methods of both partial-birth and D&E/ dismemberment abortions.

“Those who oppose abortion would agree, indeed would insist, that both procedures [partial-birth and D&E] are subject to the most severe moral condemnation, condemnation reserved for the most repulsive human conduct” [Stenberg v. Carhart, 530 U.S. 914, 963

In Stenberg Justice John Paul Stevens, an abortion supporter, compared partial-birth abortion to dismemberment abortion—not to oppose either but to make the case that if the state had an interest in preventing one, it also did in preventing the other. He wrote “that the State furthers any legitimate interest by banning one but not the other, is simply irrational.” [Stenberg v. Carhart, 530 U.S. 914, 946-947]

Justice Ruth Bader-Ginsburg, also an abortion supporter, said in Gonzales that both methods “could equally be characterized as ‘brutal,’ involving as it does ‘tear[ing] [a fetus] apart’ and ‘rip[ping] off’ its limbs.” [Gonzales v. Carhart, 550 U.S. 124, 181,182]

The simple truth is D&E dismemberment abortions are as brutal as the partial-birth abortion method, which is now illegal in the United States.

Kansans for Life Executive Director, Mary Kay Culp, thanked legislators for their diligence in tackling the issue and enacting a sound law crafted to withstand constitutional scrutiny that will stop a horrific procedure.