Kansas pregnancy crisis center funding, anti-abortion measures sent to governor

Share this post or save for later

TOPEKA — Limited by the state’s constitutional protection of abortion, Kansas anti-abortion lawmakers have funneled more money into a program encouraging women to give birth, among other such focused measures sent to the governor.

The Kansas Legislature approved a $2 million allocation to the Pregnancy Compassion Awareness Program account as part of a state budget blueprint sent to the governor’s office April 5. The allocation is meant to “enhance and increase resources that promote childbirth instead of abortion to women facing unplanned pregnancies.” 

Kansas lawmakers overrode Kelly’s veto in 2023 to set up the program, putting $2 million into the project and placing some of the state’s most prominent anti-abortion activists into leadership positions. 

Just before the Legislature adjourned for three weeks, the House also voted 82-38 to approve a measure that would authorize Kansas courts to create a pathway for pregnant women to seek child support starting from conception. 

“Asking birth fathers to rise up and do what they should do with their children is a good thing for the state of Kansas and it is in the best interest of the child,” said Rep. Susan Humphries, R-Wichita, who carried the motion Friday.

Critics say the legislation would sneak the anti-abortion concept of “fetal personhood” into the state, making it easier for legislators to criminalize or restrict health care during pregnancy. Fetal personhood is the idea that life begins at the fertilization of an egg and that fetuses should be given legal rights and protection. 

“When you add in that fetal personhood definition, you complicate matters significantly in law for the state of Kansas,” said Rep. Dan Osman, D-Overland Park. ”Let’s say the supreme court in Kansas decides that frozen fetuses are people like another supreme court has done and now you have this definition here.”

“What happens in a storage facility that has frozen fetuses?” Osman questioned. “Could they sue for child support payments?  I don’t know the answer, but I doubt any of you do either.”

The Senate may debate this legislation when it returns April 25. 

Other measures 

While other anti-abortion pieces introduced early in the session have stalled out, lawmakers also sent a bill criminalizing “abortion coercion” and  an abortion questionnaire bill to Kelly’s desk. 

 The first bill would create a new felony crime. People who try to force a woman to end a pregnancy despite her expressed desire to give birth could face jail time and thousands of dollars in fines. 


During initial discussion of the bill, House committee lawmakers amended it, expanding the crime to include all interference with reproductive autonomy. The amended version would have criminalized pressuring women into pregnancy as well as making it a crime to interfere with a person’s contraception. Lawmakers chose to take up the Senate version of the bill instead, to avoid including those provisions. 

Lawmakers also sent Kelly House Bill 2749. The bill would require medical care facilities and providers to report the reasons for each abortion to the state secretary of health and environment. 

Under the bill, abortion seekers would have to answer a series of questions before undergoing the procedure. Questions include asking them if they have been raped, and if they have an abusive partner. Reproductive rights advocates say that’s overly intrusive and potentially traumatizing. 

State law allows abortions up to 22 weeks after gestation and after that if the mother’s life is in danger. The Kansas Supreme Court in 2019 determined the state constitution’s right to bodily autonomy extends to the decision to terminate a pregnancy, and voters in August of 2022 overwhelmingly rejected a proposed constitutional amendment that would have allowed lawmakers to ban abortion without exception. 

But Republican lawmakers opposed to abortion continue to attempt to chip away at protections. In the 2023 legislative session, the Legislature passed a “born alive law” that prohibits doctors from killing babies born after failed abortion — despite experts’ assertion that the scenario is a non-existent scare tactic.

 Lawmakers also pushed through a law requiring  abortion providers to tell patients that it might be possible to reverse a medication abortion. The supposed “abortion reversal” is based on junk science and has been known to cause hemorrhaging. The provision is under injunction after reproductive rights groups filed a lawsuit against the restrictions.

Those opposed to the procedure have remained steadfast.

“Abortion is the pathway to a life of regret and emptiness,” said Sen. Mark Steffen, a Hutchinson Republican, during the questionnaire bill debate. “… Every abortion kills an innocent child. That’s a fact. Every abortion kills an innocent child.”

Kansas Reflector is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Kansas Reflector maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Sherman Smith for questions: info@kansasreflector.com. Follow Kansas Reflector on Facebook and Twitter.

Don’t miss a beat … Click here to sign up for our email newsletters

Click here to learn more about our newsletters first

Latest state news:


Previous Article

Kansas Legislature brings gavel down on civil asset seizure powers of law enforcement

Next Article

Pet killed in house fire in North Lawrence