TOPEKA, Kan. – The Kansas state Senate approved a bill Wednesday to place strict limits on abortions after 22 weeks, based on research that fetuses can feel pain at that point of development.

The fetal pain provision in House Bill 2218 is based on its proponents’ belief that fetuses can experience pain prior to the third trimester of pregnancy, which has traditionally been a cutoff point for abortions except in extreme circumstances.

The Senate has passed other restrictions on abortion in previous years, only to see the bills vetoed by former Gov. Kathleen Sebelius. The fetal pain topic is a new one. It is expected that Gov. Sam Brownback will sign the bill into law.

The fetal pain bill passed the House overwhelmingly last month.

Several amendments to the House bill were offered in the Senate. In lengthy debate, the reliability of the research that demonstrates fetuses feel pain as early as 22 weeks was challenged.

“I don’t want to put the state in the position of endorsing science that may be flawed,” said state Sen. Marci Francisco, D-Lawrence. She wanted to see the bill based on different research that would move the cut off to 26 weeks.

State Sen. Julia Lynn, R-Olathe, said she considered the practice of aborting fetuses after 22 weeks “barbarism.”