TOPEKA (KSNT)- Kansas lawmakers are stirring up an abortion debate this legislative session.
Republican Senator Chase Blasi, R-Wichita, has introduced a bill which would allow cities and counties to enact abortion restrictions. In an interview with Kansas Capitol Bureau, Blasi said he introduced the bill on behalf of his constituents.
“The fight for life continues in Kansas… In my district, I have many constituents that are very concerned still about the unborn in our state, and so I introduced legislation today to be had with local constituents, local governments,” Blasi said.
The Wichita lawmaker, who sits on the state’s Senate Federal and State Affairs committee, introduced the bill to his fellow committee members Thursday morning.
This comes after nearly 60% of Kansas voters voted to uphold abortion rights in last year’s Primary Election, rejecting a constitutional amendment on the ballot. If approved, the amendment would have given Kansas lawmakers the power to pass new regulations on abortion.
Blasi said his bill would allow the abortion issue to be handled at the local level.
“State law currently forbids local governments from imposing further restrictions or safeguards on the abortion industry, and so this bill, if adopted, would allow the conversation to be had on a more local level,” Blasi said.
Senator Cindy Holscher, D-Overland Park, who also sits on the Senate Federal and State Affairs committee, said that this is an effort from “extremists” in the Legislature to “find another path” to tighten rules and regulations. Holscher said the bill is likely to go to court, if passed.
“If you have a provision like this come forward and made into law, that increases the chances of litigation…,” Holscher said.
“The anticipation of these types of bills coming back was already there, because, even though the public has spoken, we haven’t had really much change significantly in the Legislature, and this is an issue that will continue to come back, as long as the same legislators are there,” Holscher continued.
Other abortion legislation has also been introduced.
A bill introduced by Senator Mark Steffen, a Republican from Hutchinson, would prevent the prescribing of drugs intended to cause an abortion using telemedicine. It would also restrict the governor’s power during a state of emergency to alter such prohibitions
A state Supreme Court ruling in 2019 protects the right to an abortion under the state’s constitution. Any abortion restrictions that are passed would be presumed unconstitutional unless the state shows that they are narrowly tailored to serve a compelling state interest.