Kansas lawmakers pass nation's 1st ban on abortion procedure - KCTV5

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Kansas lawmakers pass nation's 1st ban on abortion procedure

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TOPEKA, KS (KCTV/AP) -

Kansas legislators have approved a proposed ban on a common second-trimester procedure described by abortion opponents as dismembering a fetus.

Activists on both sides said Kansas is the first in the nation to have legislators pass such a ban, which was model legislation written by the National Right of Life Committee.

The House took emergency final action and voted 98-26 to outlaw the dilation and evacuation procedure. The procedure is used in about 8 percent of all abortions in Kansas.

The Senate approved the measure last month, so it goes to Republican Gov. Sam Brownback. He has promised to sign it.

Abortion opponents call the procedure gruesome.

"Are we barbarians or are we civilized and in this case the dismemberment abortion shreds apart limb by limb inside the mom mother a living unborn child," said Kathy Ostrowski, the legislative director of Kansas for Life.

Abortion rights supporters say it's often the safest way for a woman terminating a pregnancy.

"It attacks the safest method of second trimester abortions and ties doctors' hands and prevents them from using the best care for a woman in her individual circumstance,” said Elise Higgins, the Kansas manager of government affairs for Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri.

Dismemberment abortion will still be a medical option when necessary to save a woman's life or prevent irreversible damage to her physical health. There are no exemptions for victims of rape or incest.

"No abortion law in Kansas makes exceptions for rape and incest, so this is consistent," Ostrowski said.

“We're very concerned about how callous these bills are to (rape) survivors as well as to any woman who may need a safe and legal abortion," Higgins said.

Women are currently allowed to get an abortion up to 22 weeks into their pregnancy. That won't change. This bill only prohibits the one abortion method.

"We expect that if there is a challenge that we are prepared with this language to go all the way to the United States Supreme Court,” Ostrowski said.

“What we believe the Kansas Legislature should prioritize is prevention," Higgins said.

The law would go into effect July 1.

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