Last updated: April 06. 2013 7:10PM - 795 Views

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TOPEKA, Kan. — A phrase declaring that life begins “at fertilization” tucked into new abortion legislation in Kansas is creating concern among abortion rights advocates that the wording will inspire new attempts to prevent the procedure.


Supporters of the measure said the language is no more than a statement of principle — similar to those found in several states, including neighboring Missouri — rather than an attempt to prevent any pregnancies from being terminated. But advocates on both sides of the issue acknowledge the wording could prove helpful to abortion opponents over time.


The bill, sent late Friday to Gov. Sam Brownback, would block potential tax breaks for abortion providers and ban them from furnishing materials or instructors for public school sex education classes. It also outlaws sex-selection abortions and spells out in greater detail what information doctors must provide to women before an abortion.


The measure’s provision declaring that life begins at fertilization says that “unborn children have interests in life, health and well-being that should be protected” and that their parents also have “protectable interests” in their children’s well-being. A similar idea is embodied in “personhood” measures in other states, which are aimed at revising their constitutions to ban abortion; none have been enacted, though the question will be put to North Dakota voters in 2014.


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