KCUR News
11:00 am
Mon April 18, 2011

Ks. Governor Signs Abortion Restriction, Fetal Pain Bills

TOPEKA, Ks. – Kansas governor Sam Brownback has signed into law a bill requiring both parents to consent to an abortion for a girl under 18. The bill would only require one parent in some cases, such as divorced parents.

Current law only requires that parents be notified.

Earlier this month, Brownback signed legislation barring abortions after 21 weeks of development, stating that is when a fetus can feel pain. That bill does contain an exception for cases where the mother's health is in danger. Brownback has called on lawmakers to send him legislation creating what he calls a culture of life.

"I've said time and again, it is our calling to support the dignity of every human being, whether that person is employed, uneducated, or unborn," Brownback said.

Opponents of the bills have pointed to conflicting evidence on whether a fetus can feel pain at the 22nd week of development. They have also said that getting both parents to consent to a minor's abortion could be impossible in an abusive household.

The new abortion restrictions will take effect July 1, 2011.

Meanwhile, the bill barring abortions after 21 weeks of development could be changed, according to Brownback. He says in the future, the 21-week limit could be lowered by lawmakers.

"There is probably additional room about when the fetus actually feels pain," said Brownback. "But that's got to be actually established by scientists."