This is the letter that the lobbyist from that the NOW suggest I talk to. Seems to be good news! I'll be keeping track to make sure the wording changes!- Laura
First of all, congratulations! Second of all, there's no need to worry. When we first looked at HB 2088, we thought the same thing you did - that it would be a felony to have an unassisted birth. The current wording certainly implies that. However, after listening to the Health and Human Services Committee hearings on the bill, it became clear that this was not, in fact, the intent of the author (Rep. Mast). She admitted that the language was very alarming and has agreed to change it to better reflect the bill's purpose.
This legislation is a response to a number of cases in which infant corpses have been discovered after too much time has passed to determine whether there was a live- or stillbirth. An agent of the KBI testified that if these cases are to be prosecuted, authorities must be be alerted of the situation before too much time passes. In this legislation, the "magic number" is twelve hours. This means that if an infant dies within the first twelve hours after delivery, and no attempt has been made to get medical assistance, the mother and any witnesses could be prosecuted with the level 2 person felony that you referred to.
Basically, this purpose of this bill would be to make mandatory the reporting of infant death within the first twelve hours of life. If a problem were to arise within that time frame, and the mother or a witness did contact any of the medical professionals outlined in the bill, then the situation would be investigated just as it would have been were this law not in place.
There is still a debate around the scope of the bill, with many arguing that it is too broad and would involve more than the intended targets. Questions have been raised regarding the efficacy of this approach, along with concerns as to how such a case would actually play out in court. Several representative on the committee asked these questions during the hearings and will continue to do so during the working of the bill. I am not sure when final action will be taken on this, but if you're interested in how it ends up looking, I would suggest visiting www.kslegislature.org
. You can look up the full text of the bill or track its progress in committees. And of course, if you have any more questions, feel free to e-mail me again or call at the number below.
I hope this helps you out, and that your delivery goes beautifully!
Lobbyist, Kansas NOW[email protected]
P.O. Box 1061
Lawrence, KS 66044