by Steven Ertelt
April 29, 2005
Topeka, KS (LifeNews.com) — The Kansas state House was unable to override the veto of a bill that would put stronger safety measures in place for women having abortions. At the last minute, enough Kansas lawmakers changed their mind on the bill that the override effort failed.
The measure passed handily by a vote of 87-36 in the state House but six lawmakers switched their votes Thursday to keep the veto in place. The bill received an 82-42 vote, two short of the necessary two-thirds.
"It’s the kind of vote that’s going to come back and haunt legislators who voted against it and the governor,” Mary Kay Culp, director of Kansans for Life, told the Associated Press. "The people of Kansas understand the need for this.”
The defections came as abortion advocates engaged in last-minute lobbying to discredit the bill. Also, some lawmakers introduced a weaker version of the bill that persuaded some legislators to change their votes.
Gov. Kathleen Sebelius vetoed the bill, which would have required licensing of abortion facilities by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment. The department currently regulates hospitals and outpatient surgery centers, but not abortion facilities.
The bill also makes sure abortion businesses report any abortion-related deaths to the state within a day.
With two abortion deaths this year and an abortion practitioner disciplined for safety violations, pro-life groups say the bill is needed.
"It is an extremist, indefensible position to say that restaurants and beauty shops have to have proactive department of health inspections but not abortion clinics," Culp said. "Women are getting hurt."
But, abortion advocates claim the bill is only an attempt to shut down abortion businesses.
Sarah London, a lobbyist for Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri, told AP that the only goal of lawmakers backing the proposal is to create enough "red tape and bureaucracy" to force abortion facilities to close.
Sebelius vetoed a similar bill in 2003 claiming that medical professionals should be setting the standards for abortion facilities rather than state legislators. She vetoed the bill this time around for the same reasons.
Related web sites:
Kansans for Life – https://www.kfl.org