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Kan. Lawmakers Could Consider Abortion Ban, Mandatory Delay Bills

January 8, 2015 — Kansas lawmakers could soon consider proposals that would ban most abortions once a fetal heartbeat is detectable and require a mandatory delay of three days before a woman can obtain an abortion, the AP/Johnson County Legal Record reports.

According to the AP/Legal Record, the state has passed several abortion restrictions since Gov. Sam Brownback (R) took office in 2011. However, GOP leaders in the state Legislature have blocked debate over any "heartbeat" abortion ban proposals and lawmakers have not taken action on the proposal to increase the mandatory delay period to 72 hours, the AP/Legal Record reports.

Nonetheless, Kansas House Federal and State Affairs Committee Chair Steve Brunk (R) anticipates that the committee will hold informational hearings on the heartbeat proposal. Brunk added that a mandatory delay increase could be considered, citing similar legislation (HB 1307) enacted in Missouri.

Heartbeat Bill Could Face Opposition From Abortion-Rights Supporters, Opponents

The heartbeat bill could face resistance from both supporters and opponents of abortion rights, the AP/Legal Record reports.

According to the AP/Legal Record, abortion-rights opponents in the state were divided over a similar bill (HB 2324) introduced last session. For example, Kansans for Life did not support the measure out of concern that possible legal challenges and court rulings could undermine other state restrictions on abortions. The organization has not yet released its agenda for the 2015 session.

Meanwhile, Planned Parenthood and other abortion-rights groups are preparing for debates over far-reaching proposals like the heartbeat ban after last year's session mostly focused on technical changes to abortions, according to the AP/Legal Record (AP/Johnson County Legal Record, 1/6).