TOPEKA — Emboldened conservatives in the Kansas Legislature didn’t wait long to push plans to restrict abortion.
They’re also pitching a bill to repeal a law allowing in-state college tuition for the children of illegal immigrants.
And the session is only in its third day.
Republican lawmakers expect this to be a banner year for legislation on abortion, immigration, gun rights and other top conservative causes. The GOP holds a commanding majority in the Legislature and a close ally — Republican Sam Brownback — sits in the governor’s mansion for the first time.
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It’s a big change from the last eight years, when Democratic governors Kathleen Sebelius and Mark Parkinson routinely blocked many conservative bills.
On the session’s first day, Rep. Steve Huebert introduced legislation to close what he said is a glaring loophole in the state’s late-term abortion ban.
Currently, abortions after 22 weeks of pregnancy are illegal unless a physician certifies that the pregnancy poses a threat to life or “bodily function.” The courts have interpreted bodily function to include mental health. Abortion opponents have long suspected abortion providers of using bogus mental health diagnoses to perform otherwise illegal abortions.
“The mental-health exception was used in ways that were not intended and not appropriate,” said Huebert, a Valley Center Republican.
No late-term abortions have been reported to the state since the 2009 slaying of George Tiller, a Wichita abortion provider whose clinic specialized in the procedure.
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