by Steven Ertelt
May 24, 2006
Topeka, KS (LifeNews.com) — Lawmakers in the Kansas state Senate were unsuccessful in their attempt to override a veto by Gov. Kathleen Sebelius of a measure that would require more accurate and comprehensive reporting of late-term abortion statistics.
The bill requires abortion practitioners to keep detailed information about any late-term abortions performed and notes on whether the baby was healthy before the abortion.
The senate voted 23-13 in favor of overriding the veto, but the vote was four short of the two-thirds majority necessary to override.
The House appeared to have the numbers to enact the bill into law but did not vote on overriding the veto because it wanted to wait for the outcome in the Senate, were lawmakers were more closely divided.
Sebelius, in her veto message, claimed the abortion statistics reporting bill would have violated the privacy rights of women having abortions, even though the state already collects some abortion data.
Sen. Karin Brownlee, a Republican who led the effort to override the veto, said Sebelius’ claims were misguided.
"It’s important to note this bill is only an improvement on our reporting system," Brownlee said, according to an AP report. "The privacy of the woman isn’t infringed because the law already says the name is confidential."
However, Sen. David Haley, a Democrat, called the bill an opportunity "to engage in witch hunts," AP reported and said the sponsors of it were engaging in "malfeasance and mischief."
The state House approved the bill on a 89-34 vote and the Senate initially backed it 25-15. Lawmakers would have needed 27 votes in the Senate and 84 in the House to override Sebelius’ veto.
Kansans for Life strongly criticized Sebelius for vetoing the bill.
Kathy Ostrowski, the legislative director for Kansans for Life, took exception with Sebelius’ reasons for vetoing the bill.
She said the bill would actually help reduce abortions in Kansas by stopping those "that are apparently being obtained in violation of the 1998 late-term abortion law," she said in a statement provided to LifeNews.com.
"That’s why abortion lobbyists and pro-abortion lawmakers tried desperately to keep SB 528 from reaching Sebelius’ desk in this election year," she said. "They knew she would have to veto the bill, because it would significantly impact the abortion industry" — including Wichita-based late-term abortion practitioner George Tiller, a longtime Sebelius financial supporter.
Abortion practitioners already send some abortion statistics to the state for its records, and this bill is partly intended to make sure they are complying with the state’s law-term abortion law.
Ostrowski also said that women having abortions in Kansas have no privacy fears because, for eight years, "Kansas law has required reporting of the reasons late term abortions are sought-information based on sensitive patient information."
Kansas law requires that an abortion on a baby older than 22 weeks along can only be done if the pregnancy threatens the mother’s life, or "substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function."
However, Ostrowski pointed to a Los Angeles Times article showing some abortions being done at Tiller’s abortion business simply because the baby had Down syndrome.
State records show 414 late-term abortions done last year in Kansas and the unborn child was past the point of viability in 235 of the abortions.
ACTION: Contact Gov. Sebelius at 877-579-6757 or go to https://www.ksgovernor.org/contact.html for more contact information to express your opinion about her veto.