Kansas House Overrides Parkinson Veto of Bill to Enforce Late-Term Abortion Law
by Steven Ertelt
May 3, 2010
Topeka, KS (LifeNews.com) — After failing to override Governor Mark Parkinson’s veto last week, the Kansas state House today voted 86-35-3 to override his veto of a bill that would help provide enforcement to a state law limiting late-term abortions. Last week’s vote of 82-40 fell just two votes shy of the 84 votes needed to override.
The pro-life bill provides new reporting standards that could stop more abortions.
The legislation holds late-term abortion practitioners accountable by making them report to the state health department a precise diagnosis used to justify late-term abortions.
Kathy Ostrowski, the legislative director for Kansans for Life, told LifeNews.com today, "The Governor’s veto would have welcomed late-term abortionists to set up shop in continued violation of Kansas’ 1998 post-viability abortion ban, and the Kansas House rebuked that welcome."
"HB 2115 tells the state health agency to stop the abortion reporting abuse, tells the state Medical Board to take away medical licenses for abortion crimes, and tells the victims of criminal abortion to take it to court," she said.
Friday’s first attempt at override was unsuccessful due to the absence of two pro-life advocates and what Ostrowski called games-playing by Democrats who sometimes vote pro-life.
The effort to fully override Governor Parkinson now heads to the Kansas state Senate, which voted for the original measure on a 24-15 margin.
Last week, Rep. Lance Kinzer, an Olathe Republican who is a pro-life leader, changed his vote to no at the last minute so he could potentially bring up the override again for a vote today.
In a statement accompanying his veto, Parkinson, a Democrat, said the current law strikes a reasonable balance on a very difficult issue.
I support the current law and believe that an annual legislative battle over the issue is not in the publics best interest, he said.
Kansas law currently bans post-viability abortions unless the continuation of the pregnancy would present a "substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function" of the pregnant woman.
Since 2000, that law has been interpreted to include "mental health" as long as the mental health risk was "substantial and irreversible."
The bill would allow families of women to sue abortion practitioners if they believed the abortion was done illegally. It would have also codify the requirement that the second consenting physician needed for approval of late-term abortions be licensed in Kansas.
"Our 1998 law was supposed to keep post-viable abortions banned (except for very dire circumstances) but it hasn’t been enforced," Kansans for Life said in an email to LifeNews.com before the veto. "Instead, according to official Kansas abortion stats, there have been 3,000 since then."
H.B. 2115 requires that state agencies honor the original legislative intent and mandate that abortionists give real, medical reasons for doing a post-viable abortion. It also gives women and their families standing to sue if they believe the woman received an illegal abortion.
KFL says the bill is especially important as Nebraska-based abortion practitioner LeRoy Carhart determines what to do with his late-term abortion business that is facing new limits from the Nebraska legislature.
"Carhart of Nebraska (who still retains a Kansas medical license) said recently that a new law passed in Nebraska may cause him to move his late-term abortion clinic to another state, and Kansas is one he is considering," KFL says. "He formerly worked for George Tiller and is responsible for many of those 3,000 post-viable abortions mentioned above."
"He enjoyed the fact that while Kansas required reasons be given for post-viable abortions, that Kansas didn’t enforce that requirement the way it was intended by the legislature," KFL adds. "H.B. 2115 does. It mandates a medical reason be listed for post-viable abortions on state abortion report forms. The fact that something that simple could keep Kansas off Carhart’s relocation list shows just how illegal most, if not all, of those 3,000 post-viable abortions likely were."
Related web sites:
Kansans for Life – https://www.kfl.org
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