One of Kansas’ most conservative lawmakers to retire Jan. 16

December 27, 2019 GMT

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — One of the Kansas Legislature’s most conservative members and strongest abortion opponents is retiring in next month.

Republican state Sen. Mary Pilcher-Cook of Shawnee announced Friday that she will step down Jan. 16, just days after lawmakers open their next annual session. She said in her announcement that “new leadership is sometimes required” to promote “time-honored” conservative principles.

Pilcher-Cook, a 65-year-old computer software engineer, was first elected to the Senate in 2008 and re-elected in 2012 and 2016. She also served in the House in 2001-02 and again in 2005-06.

She’s been a consistent supporter of new abortion restrictions.

She backed a bill that Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly vetoed earlier this year to require abortion providers to tell patients who take medication to terminate pregnancies that the process can be reversed after they take the first of two pills. Kelly and other critics deemed it junk science.

Pilcher-Cook also helped lead a successful effort to pass a resolution condemning a New York law protecting abortion rights, which she labeled “depraved.”

Pilcher-Cook also criticized Kelly for issuing an executive order prohibiting anti-LGBTQ discrimination in state hiring and employment decisions, and she’s long opposed same-sex marriage.

Fellow Republicans in her Kansas City-area Senate district will name her replacement.