Jan 23, 2020 1:00 AM

Kansas mother pleads guilty in starvation, abuse of child

Posted Jan 23, 2020 1:00 AM
Francis photo Johnson Co.
Francis photo Johnson Co.

OLATHE, KAN. (AP) — A Shawnee woman has pleaded guilty to her role in the starvation of a 5-year-old boy.

Elizabeth Marie Francis, 28, pleaded guilty Tuesday to aggravated criminal sodomy and child abuse, the Johnson County District Attorney's office said.

She and her boyfriend, John Carter, 36, were charged after the child was taken to Children's Mercy Hospital in December 2018. Doctors reported he was bruised and malnourished from starvation, prosecutors said. The hospital staff said the boy had lost 10 pounds since he was taken to the hospital in September 2018. The child was taken into protective custody.

As part of the plea agreement, battery and endangerment charges were dismissed.

Carter has pleaded not guilty to charges of child abuse and endangerment. His case is pending in district court.

Francis will be sentenced March 9.

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Jan 23, 2020 1:00 AM
Proposal to reverse Kansas abortion rights ruling advances
Image courtesy House Federal and State Affairs Committee

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Republican lawmakers on Wednesday pushed two separate but identical versions of the same proposed anti-abortion amendment to the Kansas Constitution past their first hurdles in the GOP-controlled Legislature.

The House Federal and State Affairs Committee endorsed a measure that would overturn a Kansas Supreme Court decision last year declaring access to abortion a “fundamental” right under the state constitution. The amendment would declare that the Kansas Constitution does not “secure” a right to abortion and allow legislators to regulate it as far as federal court decisions allow. The vote was 15-6.

The Senate Judiciary Committee approved its own version of the same proposal less than two hours later on a voice vote without debating the measure.

Top Republicans said the votes set up a debate in one chamber or both as early as next week. GOP leaders have made putting an amendment on the August primary ballot a priority.

Both chambers must approve the measure with two-thirds majority for it to go on the ballot. A simple majority of voters would have to approve it at the polls.

Supporters of the proposed amendment argue that it would allow voters to preserve the Legislature's long-standing power to regulate abortion and protect a raft of restrictions approved over the past decade. Critics see it as a step toward an eventual attempt to ban abortion.