After abortion vote, Kansas lawmakers’ power back on ballot
Tuesday, 30 August 2005
By NANCY BERMAN: The Kansas House of Representatives Tuesday approved a proposal to make abortion illegal in the state, a first for a state with a Republican-controlled Senate and a Republican-controlled House.
The vote was 54-19 for a bill that would make it a crime to perform an abortion even if a woman’s life or her health were in danger. The Senate approved the bill Wednesday.
The House vote was 54-16 because 14 Republicans joined 41 Democrats in supporting it.
There was little debate. A bill making abortion illegal passed the House on a party-line vote, and it passed the Senate.
The bill was sponsored by Rep. Don Bivins, a former Democrat who is openly conservative. In an interview afterward, he said he believed it was necessary for a woman’s health, but said he was against abortion based on “religious beliefs.”
Bivins, who lives in the northern part of the state near Sedan, said he had discussed his proposal with fellow legislators and concluded that the proposed law would not make it difficult for abortion opponents to get the law on the ballot in November. He said he had talked with other lawmakers and found them supportive.
“The issue has to boil down to whether or not the public feels that abortion is good for their health and that it’s good for the family and not a crime,” he said.
Bivins said he did not have any personal opposition to the procedure he proposed, which would make it a crime for a doctor to perform an abortion even if a woman’s life or her health were in jeopardy. He also said he did not believe that abortion should be criminalized based on the woman’s background.
Several Democrats also voted for the law, which is similar to a law passed in Georgia.
Democratic Rep. Nancy Johnson, who voted against the bill, said she believed the bill was unnecessary.
“I have been against abortion for years,” she said. “I have been a conservative for 40 years. I have never voted for something