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Minutes for HCR5004 - Committee on Federal and State Affairs

Short Title

Proposition to amend section 1 of the Kansas bill of rights regarding equal rights for all human life.

Minutes Content for Thu, Mar 21, 2019

Chairperson Barker opened the hearing on HCR5004.  Jason Long, Revisor, provided an overview of the resolution (Attachment 1)

Chairperson Barker stated that they are having hearings on three bills today.  As a result he is setting time limits for the testimony.  Each side on this resolution will have 12 minutes.

Chairperson Barker recognized Representative Randy Garber as a proponent of HCR5004 (Attachment 2).  He believes this is the most important bill in this session.  He stated several statistics about abortion and stated his opinion is that no nation survives that kills its babies.  If we want our nation to survive, we must stop abortion.  Questions and comments were made by Representatives Woodard, Humphries, and Clayton.

Chairperson Barker stepped out of the room.

Vice-Chairperson Awerkamp recognized Donna Lippoldt who testified in support of HCR5004 (Attachment 3).  She was the head of a ministry that stood in front of George Tiller's abortion clinic for 18 years. She stated that decades ago the Kansas legislature legalized abortion right up until the time of delivery.  In the last few years bills have been passed to curb this practice.  She believes Kansas should be the state that sends Personhood to the Supreme Court.

Vice-Chairperson Awerkamp recognized Margaret Mans as a proponent of HCR5004 (Attachment 4).  Forty-seven years of abortion in Kansas have taken a toll.  Life has been devalued and we are seeing increasing murder and suicide rates.  She stated Kansas citizens want an end to abortion and want the Committee to support this resolution. 

Bruce Garren testified in support of HCR5004 (Attachment 5).  He stated his belief that the goal of this constitutional amendment is to ensure the unborn child has the same legal protections that we take for granted everyday.  He has a petition with 10,000 signatures of Kansas residents who want the opportunity to vote on a constitutional amendment to provide protections for the unborn children in this state. 

Vice-Chairperson Awerkamp recognized John Pride as a proponent of HCR5004 (Attachment 6).  He stated his belief that abortion is murder and is unacceptable.  This state has allowed and regulated abortion for far too long.  He would encourage the Legislature to abolish the practice of abortion. 

Vice-Chairperson Awerkamp recognized Jarad Garren as a proponent of HCR5004 (Attachment 7).  He stated that he believes abortion is wrong and HCR5004 is a step in the right direction.

Vice-Chairperson Awerkamp noted that there is written proponent testimony from Grace Lallement (Attachment 8)

Vice-Chairperson Awerkamp allowed questions from the Committee to the various proponents.  Representatives Clayton, Highberger, and Lusk had questions for Bruce Garren, and Representative Woodard had a question for Ms. Mans. 

Vice-Chairperson Awerkamp recognized Rachel Sweet as an opponent to HCR5004 (Attachment 9).  She stated her belief that this bill is a blatant attempt to outlaw abortion in Kansas. She believes it would prohibit doctors from offering in-vitro fertilization and other assisted reproductive services, ban many forms of birth control, interfere with a doctor's ability to treat miscarriages and ectopic pregnancies, and give state actors the power to control, detain, arrest and surveil a pregnant woman from the moment she has a fertilized egg inside of her.  She strongly urges the Committee to reject HCR5004.

Julie Burkhart provided opposition testimony to HCR5004 (Attachment 10).  She stated her belief that this bill puts the rights of Kansas women in danger just because of pregnancy and the ability to become pregnant. She believes there is no way to give embryos personhood rights without infringing upon the rights of pregnant women.  She indicated this bill would limit a woman's ability to make decisions about contraception, cancer treatment, organ transplants and in vitro fertilization, and could lead to the investigation and possible prosecution of pregnant women who miscarry. 

Chairperson Barker returned to the room.  He recognized Bria Boykins as an opponent to HCR5004 (Attachment 11).  She stated that this measure would repeal women's rights by removing a class of persons -- pregnant women -- from the protection of the Kansas Constitution.

Chairperson Barker recognized Letitia Harmon who testified in opposition to HCR5004 (Attachment 12).  She stated that one of the concerns if this bill were passed is that it would interfere with the absolute right to refuse treatment.  She indicated fetal personhood would give the state blanket authority to intervene in a woman's medical decisions concerning her pregnancy and childbirth over religious objection.  Also, she believes acknowledging the personhood of a fetus means that a woman who failed to carry a pregnancy through to a live birth or who injured a fetus even accidentally could be charged with homicide. 

The Chairperson allowed questions of the opponents.  Representatives Arnberger and Smith had questions for Ms. Harmon, and Representative Highberger had a question for Ms. Sweet. 

Chairperson Barker noted that there was written opponent testimony from Nigel Morton, of Unite for Reproductive and Gender Equality (Attachment 13) and Brandi Fisher of Mainstream Coalition (Attachment 14).  

After determining there were no further conferees, Chairperson Barker closed the hearing on HCR5004