TOPEKA, Kansas — Where does life begin? It’s a question the Kansas legislature has tackled before, but the question is taking a new route in the abortion debate. “Conception happens and it’s a unique and individual human being,” said Rep. Jim Howell, a sponsor of the proposal. The personhood amendment would change the language in the state constitution “to guarantee rights, and protection to humans from the beginning of biological development, including fertilization.”
“It’s time to address the issues and recognize that we no longer see it as a blob of tissue,” said Margaret Mans with Right To Life forKansas. “It is a unique human being with its own DNA.” The amendment is stirring strong opposition from both sides of the abortion debate. They argue the language is too broad and would create a legal frenzy.
“The anti-choice is divided, I don’t know how they expect the majority of Kansasto get behind it,” said Kari Ann Rinker, State Coordinator forKansasNOW. Because it would be a constitutional amendment, there would have to be an explainer on the ballot. For those in opposition, that language is just as bad as what’s being proposed.
As it’s written, the current federal legal status of preborn humans “would remain that of a class of human being that can intentionally be killed.”
“It basically says if you do not vote for this you are condoning murder,” said Rinker. Supporters argue the main goal here is to challenge Roe v.Wade. That’s an uphill battle for supporters.
“If our legislature adopts this constitutional amendment it is doomed to failure,” said attorney Dan Monnat. Monnat says the language is too vague to be upheld in court. “Does it mean from the formation of the egg? Does it mean from the formation of the sperm? Does it mean from the second the sperm meets the egg?” Monnat questioned.