Kansas State Lawmakers Try Abortion Facility Regulation Bill Again
by Paul Nowak
LifeNews.com Staff Writer
February 18, 2004
Topeka, KS (LifeNews.com) — Pro-life advocates in Kansas are re-introducing a bill to set standards for abortion facilities — despite the fact that pro-abortion Governor Kathleen Sebelius vetoed the same bill in April 2003.
"If exactly the same bill passes again, I’ll veto it again," Sebelius said. "To repeat exactly the same exercise doesn’t make a lot of sense to me."
The persistence to establish standards for the facilities — which pro-life organizations say are more lax than veterinary clinics — is an attempt to save women’s lives and reduce the number of abortions.
"The public perceives that legal abortion is safe abortion," said Brendan Mitchell, an obstetrician and gynecologist who told the House Federal and State Affairs Committee that 12,000 abortions are performed annually in Kansas.
"Indeed, many of the proponents of abortion rights cite safe abortion as the main justification against laws restricting abortion," Dr. Mitchell explained. "The public believes that the same standards that apply to other surgical procedures apply to legal abortion. However, this is not the case."
Currently state law treats abortion facilities like doctor’s offices, overseen by the Board of Healing Arts which does not require inspections.
The bill would require the Kansas Department of Health and Environment to set minimum standards for an abortion facility’s supplies, equipment, sizes of rooms, as well as ordering that a licensed physician serve as medical director, a female staff person be present during any abortion done by a male doctor, and have ultrasound equipment in hand if the facility performs abortions after the 12th week of pregnancy.
"Women are very vulnerable when they go in for an abortion," said the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Peggy Long-Mast (R-Emporia). "We need these regulations because the industry itself has admitted to not measuring up to these minimum standards."
Similar laws in other states have required abortion facilities to spend tens of thousands of dollars or more to meet the requirements. In at least one case, the regulations were too costly and the abortion facility shut down.
Last session, the legislature fell just short of the two-thirds vote necessary to override the governor’s veto.
“We gathered much evidence as to why the bill was necessary. She ignored it," said Mary Kay Culp, director of Kansas for Life after the governor vetoed the legislation in April. "She said health care in Kansas is great. We say, prove it."
Culp said Sebelius has been the recipient of political donations from infamous late-term abortionist George Tiller and other state abortion practitioners, many of whom have claimed the bill is an attempt to close abortion facilities by setting standards too high, or making abortions too expensive.
"The health care facilities addressed in this bill are already subject to those high standards,” the Democratic governor wrote in her veto message to legislators.
That’s contrary to what occurred at a Lawrence, Kansas abortion facility that closed temporarily in 2001.
Abortion practitioner Kristin Neuhaus kept faulty records and performed an abortion on one woman without her consent. The shutdown resulted in financial problems leading to the permanent closure of the facility in 2002.
Meanwhile, the University of St. Mary, a Catholic university in the state, came under fire last week for inviting Sebelius to be the keynote speaker at an event honoring Abraham Lincoln.
Following the event, Archbishop James Keleher of the Diocese of Kansas City has ordered that "none of our Catholic institutions invite any person" who supports abortion or has a pro-abortion voting record "to address, give workshops, or otherwise make any presentations at these institutions."
Sebelius, a Catholic, said she sees no conflict between her religious views and pro-abortion actions.
Related web sites:
Kansas State Legislature – https://www.kslegislature.org