Kansas legislators gave final passage to a sweeping anti-abortion measure last night, sending Gov. Sam Brownback a bill that declares life begins "at fertilization." It blocks tax breaks for abortion providers, bans abortions performed solely because of the baby's sex, prohibits abortion providers from being involved in public school sex education classes, and spells out in more detail what information doctors must provide to patients seeking abortions. The Republican governor is a strong abortion opponent, and supporters of the measure expect him to sign it into law so that the new restrictions take effect July 1.
The measure's language that life begins "at fertilization" is creating concern among abortion rights advocates that the wording will inspire new attempts to prevent the procedure. Supporters of the measure said the language is no more than a statement of principle—similar to those found in several states, including neighboring Missouri. Still, it could underpin lawsuits by prospective parents or grandparents who want to block abortions or be cited by abortion opponents in pushing police to scrutinize clinics, says the president of the anti-abortion group Operation Rescue. "For me, this is just delightful. It opens up so many avenues." (Read more Kansas stories.)