Both chambers of the Kansas legislature have approved a newly restrictive abortion access law that Governor Sam Brownback is expected to sign.
In some ways, the law would mimic HR3, the so-called "No Taxpayer Funding For Abortion" Act that was passed in the House recently:
Starting in July, individuals and employers who want abortion coverage would have to buy supplemental policies that cover only abortion. Supporters of the bill argue that it will protect employers who oppose abortion rights from having to pay for policies that cover the procedures.
The legislation also says that no state or federally administered health-insurance exchange in Kansas established under last year's federal health care overhaul law can offer coverage for abortions, other than to save a woman's life.
Separately, not content to let Indiana steal its thunder in denying Planned Parenthood women's health funding for the temerity of providing legal abortions, Kansas has found its own route. Whereas Indiana's strategy was to simply deny all Medicaid funding to Planned Parenthood, in blatant violation of federal Medicaid standards, Kansas's state budget simply diverts $300,000 in funding to Planned Parenthood.
Kansas has long been ground zero for many abortion-rights battles. Dr. George Tiller was murdered by an anti-abortion extremist in Wichita. One of the doctors who tried to open a clinic in Wichita partly to carry on his legacy has been unable to find a lease thanks to anti-abortion activists, who have also attracted a Justice Department complaint for harassing her. In April, Brownback signed a "fetal pain" bill banning abortions after 21 weeks, as well as a parental consent law.