Kansas antiabortion activist suggests ban on fetal "beheadings"

Inspired by journalist beheadings, a lobbyist is promoting a law to prevent "decapitations" during abortions

By Jenny Kutner

Published January 7, 2015 3:33PM (EST)

  (Reuters/Stephen Lam)
(Reuters/Stephen Lam)

As Kansas' GOP-dominated legislature considers new moves to impede women's access to abortion care, an antiabortion lobby group could propose a novel restriction: banning fetal decapitation! Kansas Coalition for Life, one of the state's leading anti-choice groups, is working to craft legislation that would outlaw "beheadings" during abortion procedures, on the basis of scientifically unsound arguments about fetal pain.

According to the Wichita Eagle, such a law is unprecedented (and inspired!):

Mark Gietzen, founder of Kansas Coalition for Life, said the videotaped beheadings of journalists by Islamic terrorists have raised concerns about what he calls the “decapitation” of fetuses during abortions, making an attempt to ban it timely.

No state has ever tried for such a law, he said, but he is working with the American Center for Law and Justice, founded by Christian broadcaster Pat Robertson, on language that would make such a bill work in Kansas and in the U.S. Supreme Court.

If the right language can be found, Gietzen said, “I don’t think there’s a judge on earth that’s willing to say, ‘Decapitations are just fine.’ ”

Pro-choice activists say the ban is yet another attempt to portray abortion is gruesome and gory, and could have similar repercussions to so-called heartbeat legislation that is expected to be proposed in Kansas this year. The latter would dramatically curtail access to abortion by limiting the timespan in which a woman can undergo the procedure to the first three weeks of pregnancy, before many women even know they are pregnant.

Jenny Kutner

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