Kansas Governor Sam Brownback [official website] on Friday signed the strict anti-abortion legislation [HB 2253, PDF] into law. The legislation prohibits abortions based on the baby's sex, prevents abortion providers from receiving certain tax breaks and proclaims that life begins at fertilization. The provision dealing with tax breaks is designed to prevent the state from subsidizing abortions in any way. Opponents of the bill, such as Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri [advocacy website], denounced the legislation as an extreme governmental intrusion on women's reproductive rights. In a signing statement, Brownback said [AP report] that the legislation is another step toward building a "culture of life." The legislation is scheduled to take effect in July.
A number of states have passed restrictive abortion bills recently. Last week North Dakota Governor Jack Dalrymple [official website] signed a measure [JURIST report] banning abortions after 20 weeks gestation based on the controversial premise that a fetus can feel pain at that point. Earlier this month lawmakers in Alabama passed [JURIST report] the Women's Health and Safety Act [text, PDF] which imposes tough restrictions on abortion clinics and practitioners within the state. Last month the Arkansas legislature voted to override [JURIST report] Governor Mike Beebe's recent veto of the Arkansas Human Heartbeat Protection Act [Act 301, PDF], which bans abortions "of an unborn human individual whose heartbeat has been detected ... and is twelve (12) weeks or greater gestation." Days earlier Arkansas lawmakers voted to override the governor's veto [JURIST reports] of the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act [HB 1037, PDF], which bans most abortions in the state 20 weeks after conception.