House and Senate committees pass abortion amendment bill

Capitol Bureau

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) — Kansas lawmakers took a couple of steps closer to having a constitutional amendment on ballots in August. Both the House Federal and State Affairs committee and the Senate Judiciary Committee passed bills that would give the legislature the right to regulate abortion in the state.

“It doesn’t outlaw abortion, it doesn’t do any of the things it’s been accused of,” explained Senator Rick Wilborn, (R) McPherson. “It just brings us back to the point we were prior to that Supreme Court decision.”

Last year, the Kansas Supreme Court found it was a woman’s constitutional right to have an abortion.

The committee votes come after a nearly six-hour-long joint meeting yesterday, with testimony from both sides. Lawmakers were encouraged to review all testimony before the meetings today. However, some lawmakers said not all of the testimony was available online, as promised. Others added that the swiftness of the votes today did not give them time to hear from their constituents.

“We have an obligation to keep them informed and keep them informed totally, especially on something as important as this issue,” said Rep. Jerry Stogsdill, (D) Prairie Village.

Despite these concerns, the bills passed with a majority in both committees. The House Federal and State Affairs committee met for about an hour and a half, discussing the bill. Multiple amendments to the bill were introduced but none were approved. In comparison, the Senate Judiciary committee spent minutes at the end of the meeting discussing and voting on the bill.

From here, the bills will move on to the House and Senate floors to be discussed. If both chambers vote to approve the bill, it will be on the August Primary Election ballot. Kansas voters will then have the final say on the issue.

“We’re not deciding anything. We’re asking the voters of the state of Kansas, ‘tell us what you want us to do,'” said Rep. John Barker, (R) Abilene.

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