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Lawmakers in Idaho, Kansas Address Abortion, Provider 'Conscience' Bills

Lawmakers in Idaho, Kansas Address Abortion, Provider 'Conscience' Bills

March 22, 2010 — Last week, lawmakers in Kansas and Idaho took action on various proposals related to abortion rights.

~ Idaho: The state House last week voted 51-18 to approve a bill (SB 1353) that would extend protections in an existing health care provider "conscience" law to nurses and pharmacists who oppose services related to abortion, emergency contraception, stem cell therapy and end-of-life care, the Idaho Statesman reports. The current law includes protections for doctors who refuse to provide abortion-related services. According to the Statesman, the bill previously passed the Senate and now awaits action by Gov. Butch Otter (R) (Idaho Statesman, 3/21). In other news, state Rep. Steve Kren (R) on Thursday introduced a bill (HB 693) that would make it illegal for a doctor to knowingly perform an abortion based on the sex, color or race of the fetus or the race of a parent, the Idaho Statesman reports. The bill would not impose charges on women who seek abortions. In a committee vote Thursday, 13 Republicans -- all men -- voted for the measure, while five Democrats -- all women -- voted against it. Kren said that sex- and race-based abortion is "not something that I know of that is a problem, but it is something I feel we should protect against." Current state abortion laws require parental consent for minors, criminalize coercing a woman before an abortion and restrict certain abortion procedures (Murphy, Idaho Statesman, 3/19).

~ Kansas: Three state senators and House members on Thursday met to discuss plans to reintroduce a proposal that would allow a woman or her family to file a lawsuit against an abortion provider if they suspect violations of state law regulating abortion later in pregnancy, the AP/Alva Review-Courier reports. The lawmakers also are planning to reintroduce a measure that would require doctors to report more information to the state about late abortion procedures. According to the AP/Review-Courier, the reporting requirements and the lawsuit proposal were included in a broader bill vetoed by then-Gov. Kathleen Sebelius (D). Supporters of the current proposal hope to gather enough support to override a possible veto by current Gov. Mark Parkinson (D). The lead negotiators of the proposal in the House and Senate are expected to meet again on Monday. If they reach a consensus on the bill's language, they could bring it to the chambers' floors for an up-or-down vote (Hanna, AP/Alva Review-Courier, 3/19).