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Kansas law says abortion seekers may view fetal images first

Gov. Kathleen Sebelius signs a bill requiring abortion providers who use ultrasound or monitor fetal heartbeats to give their patients access to the images or sound before an abortion.

March 28, 2009|Associated Press

TOPEKA, KAN. — Gov. Kathleen Sebelius signed a bill Friday to ensure that women and girls seeking abortions in Kansas are allowed to see ultrasound images or hear their fetus' heartbeat before the procedure.

The bill, which takes effect July 1, amends a state law requiring doctors to obtain a patient's informed consent before performing an abortion.

The measure requires abortion providers who use ultrasound or monitor fetal heartbeats to give their patients access to the images or sound at least 30 minutes before an abortion.

Spokeswoman Beth Martino said Sebelius, who is awaiting U.S. Senate confirmation as President Obama's nominee for secretary of Health and Human Services, concluded that the bill had no constitutional flaws, didn't jeopardize patient privacy and did not block access to health services.

The governor has in the past vetoed legislation sought by anti-abortion groups.

Supporters of the bill said it would ensure women have enough information to make decisions about abortion and protect their health.

Peter Brownlie, president and chief executive officer of Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri, said that its clinic in Overland Park already allows women to see ultrasound images but that few accept the offer.

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