UPDATE AND CORRECTIONS: Kansas Governor Vetoes Abortion Bill

Rachel Larris

Kansas Governor Mark Parkinson vetoed a bill that would have added a slew of reporting requirements for doctors performing abortions and contained many provisions effecting physicians and their ability to practice in Kansas.

UPDATE: This was updated and corrected at 6:20 p.m. on April 15. An earlier version of this article mistakenly reported that the bill vetoed would have eliminated the mental health exception for allowing an abortion after 22 weeks. This is incorrect. The elimination of the mental health exemption was contained in HB 2166 which passed the House in March, but was never passed by the Senate. The bill Gov. Parkinson vetoed today was S Sub HB 2115, a bill that, according to Sarah M. Gillooly, Kansas lobbyist & public affairs manager for Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri, “is a conference committee report and not a normal bill, it is not now nor has it ever been available to the public.”

Today, Kansas Governor Mark Parkinson vetoed a bill that would have added a slew of reporting requirements for doctors performing abortions and contained many provisions affecting physicians and their ability to practice in Kansas.

The Associated Press reports:

The measure struck down by Parkinson would prevent any late-term abortion provider from establishing a practice in Kansas following the May 2009 murder of Dr. George Tiller. Tiller’s Wichita practice was one of the few in the nation performing late-term procedures.

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The measure would allow patients or family members to sue doctors if they have evidence an abortion violated state law.

Also, doctors would be required to report more details to the state about abortions performed after the 21st week of pregnancy and involving fetuses considered viable, or able to survive outside the womb.

Legislators approved the bill before taking their spring recess but appeared to lack the two-thirds majority of votes to override the veto. Both chambers return April 28 to resume the legislative session.

The Topeka Capital-Journal has more:

“Kansas’ current law concerning abortion was passed more than a decade ago and strikes a reasonable balance on a very difficult issue,” Parkinson said in his official veto message. “I support the current law and believe that an annual legislative battle over the issue is not in the public’s best interest.”

He also said: “My view is that all abortions are tragedies, which is why I would encourage women who have unwanted pregnancies to consult with their partners, families, doctors and spiritual advisers. I would not encourage women to consult with state legislators, as this is a private decision and should not be dictated by public officials.”

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