Dioceses link abortion, Medicaid debates

State News

November 15, 2019 - 3:04 PM

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The four Catholic dioceses in Kansas will not support expanding Medicaid to thousands more low-income adults and children unless the state passes a constitutional amendment and new laws restricting abortion, the head of the Kansas Catholic Conference said.

Chuck Weber, the group’s executive director, told a joint House and Senate committee on Wednesday that the dioceses in Dodge City, Salina, Wichita and Kansas City, Kansas, want an amendment to the state constitution to clarify that it does not include a right to abortion, in response to a Kansas Supreme Court ruling last year that the constitution protects that right. The dioceses also are seeking a law allowing medical professionals or health facilities to decline to perform certain procedures for religious reasons, The Topeka Capital-Journal reported.

Hundreds of thousands of Kansans are members of the Catholic church and, on social issues, it is influential with conservative Republicans, who hold the top leadership positions in the GOP-controlled Legislature.

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