VIDEO: Abortion mental health exception may be removed with new House bill

Rebecca Zepick / State of the State KS

With the new legislative session under way, a controversial abortion bill has already been filed in the Kansas House. Rep. Steve Huebert (R), the sponsor of the bill says  aims to remove the mental health exception to late term abortions.

An identical bill passed the House last year but failed to win enough votes in the Senate. He says he believes the mental health exception is misused to give more women access to the third trimester abortion procedure.

The law currently says that if the fetus is viable after 22 weeks, an abortion is only allowed to preserve the life of the mother or to address a substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function.

Hubert says that the law has been wrongly interpreted by the Attorney General’s office to include harm to mental health as impairment of a major bodily function.

But opponents of the bill from the National Organization for Women have said that physical and mental health are one in the same, saying that mental health is part of a woman’s overall well being.

Opponents have also raised the issue of legal challenges, questioning the constitutionality of the bill. Huebert says the legal challenges would be welcomed to clarify the issue.

The bill now goes to the Federal and State Affairs committee for a hearing before moving on the full House chamber. It one of a number of abortion bills that may be introduced this legislative session.