The Kansas House approved a bill Monday designed to ban tax breaks for facilities providing abortions and to ban writing off abortion costs as medical expenses. The House also passed a bill, dubbed the "anti-Sharia bill," that prevents state courts from heeding any foreign or religious laws.
The abortion-related bill titled SB 313, which supporters refer to as "The No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act," passed 88-31, and would prohibit Kansas taxpayers from claiming abortion expenses under a deduction for medical costs when filing their income taxes. It also would deny tax breaks to abortion providers.
Opponents of the law have expressed concern about how tax auditors would know whether a woman had an abortion, which would presumably require the woman's medical records to be checked, potentially leading to violations of privacy, according to the Topeka Capital-Journal.
Pro-life groups, on the other hand, have been celebrating Kansas lawmakers' decision, seeing the passage of "The No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act" as a step forward in an effort to outlaw abortion, which is legal nationwide under federal law.
Mary Kay Culp, executive director of Kansans for Life, said the bill is legally harmless but prevents public money from going to a cause considered morally wrong by pro-life advocates.
"This common sense bill simply ensures women have access to medical information compiled by Kansas health department professionals, protects human dignity in civil law, prevents Kansas taxpayers from subsidizing abortion, and poses zero threat to medical school accreditation," Culp told The Associated Press.
The bill is set to be reviewed by the Kansas Senate, where some observers say it might be sent first to a committee, for more detailed scrutiny, because of the legislation's extensive scope.
At the same time, another bill has passed the Kansas House, which aims at preventing the state's courts from making decisions based on foreign laws -- an attempt to prevent what some see as a possibility of U.S. courts taking under consideration such non-Western legal codes as Sharia, or Islamic law based on the Quran. The bill, dubbed the "Kansas Laws for Kansas Courts Act," passed 120-0.
The legislation would prevent judges from making any ruling based on a foreign or religious law that is contrary to the state or federal Constitution, if passed, according to the Topeka Capital-Journal. The language of the bill does not specifically include the word "Sharia," the newspaper reported, presumably since a similar law in Oklahoma was ruled unconstitutional in January.