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BY Jim Cosgrove
TOPEKA —A pro-life bill requiring a parent's consent for a minor to get an abortion would close a loophole in Kansas' abortion law and help reduce the number of abortions pro-life supporters indicated. Abortion advocates, as usual, disagreed.
Proponents of the parental consent bill had their say yesterday as the House Federal and State Affairs Committee continued its hearing.
The proposed bill would require approval by at least one parent or a guardian before a girl younger than 18 years could get an abortion. Pregnant teens could petition a district court to bypass the parental consent if they feared harmful consequences. Under current law, parental notification is waived if a court fails to rule in 48 hours.
Kansans for Life associate director Amy Heffren noted, “We are supporting it. It would be stronger than the current Kansas law.”
Sponsored by pro-life state Rep. Becky Hutchins (R), the proposed new law would allow the judicial bypass only in cases when parents had not been informed of the pregnancy. If a parent refused to approve the abortion, a judicial bypass would not be an option for a pregnant teen.
Heffren explained further, “The parental notice law which is currently in effect in Kansas has a judicial bypass which allows a minor girl to obtain an abortion without notifying her parents, as long as a judge determines she is ‘mature enough’. If the new law is passed, one of the changes would be that parents would not be held financially responsible if their minor daughter obtains an abortion without their consent. We hope this change will reduce the number of abortions by making the state less likely to allow the judicial bypass.”
Rep. Cliff Franklin (R-Merriam), asked a Planned Parenthood representative why parental consent is required for most medical procedures, and for tattoos and ear piercing, but not for abortions.