Thursday, September 21, 2023
Courthouse News Service
Thursday, September 21, 2023 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Kansas governor vetoes second Republican anti-abortion bill in two weeks

The governor's vetoes come as the Republican-controlled legislature seeks to restrict abortions even though Kansas voters last year rejected its attempt to scrap the constitutional right to an abortion.

(CN) — Kansas Governor Laura Kelly on Wednesday vetoed a bill requiring providers of abortion inducing drugs to tell patients that they can interrupt the process.

This is the second anti-abortion bill pushed through by the state's Republican-controlled legislature that Kelly, a Democrat, has vetoed in the last two weeks.

On April 14, Kelly vetoed a bill that could have penalized providers accused of not doing enough during certain procedures to try to safe an aborted fetus that is still alive even if it's expected to die within minutes or seconds.

“This bill is misleading and unnecessary," Kelly said in a statement regarding last week's veto. "Federal law already protects newborns, and the procedure being described in this bill does not exist in Kansas in the era of modern medicine. The intent of this bill is to interfere in medical decisions that should remain between doctors and their patients."

Her veto Wednesday involved a requirement that patients seeking medical abortions receive written notice that they can interrupt the process. Kelly had vetoed a similar bill in 2019, saying the practice of medicine should be left to licensed health professionals, not elected officials.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has said that claims regarding abortion “reversal” treatment are not based on science and do not meet clinical standards.

"Despite this, in states across the country, politicians are advancing legislation to require physicians to recite a script that a medication abortion can be 'reversed' with doses of progesterone, to cause confusion and perpetuate stigma, and to steer women to this unproven medical approach," the professional association states on its website. "Unfounded legislative mandates like this one represent dangerous political interference and compromise patient care and safety."

The governor's vetoes come as the state's Republican lawmakers, who hold a majority in both houses of the legislature and have potentially enough votes to override any veto Kelly makes, continue to push for restrictions on abortions even though Kansas voters last year overwhelmingly rejected a state constitutional amendment saying that there's no basic right to an abortion in the state.

After the U.S. Supreme Court ruled last year that the U.S. Constitution does not protect abortion rights and that states can prohibit abortion, Kansas lawmakers put the proposed amendment on the August 2022 ballot. They asked voters to allow the legislature to greatly restrict or ban abortion despite the Kansas Supreme Court's 2019 holding that the state's constitution protects a woman's right to terminate a pregnancy.

Voters soundly rejected the initiative, surprising many due to the conservative tilt of the state's body politic.

The battle over the legislature's efforts to find ways to restrict abortions went before Kansas's top court last month where the justices appeared skeptical of the state's position that voters aren't opposed to the restrictions.

One of the cases that was before the Kansas Supreme Court in March involved the state's appeal of a permanent injunction against an attempt to regulate abortion clinics more strictly than other health care providers. The state's solicitor general's defense of this blocked regulation prompted one of the justices to describe it as overregulation and “killing an ant with an atom bomb, in effect.”

Follow @edpettersson
Categories / Government, Health, Politics, Regional

Read the Top 8

Sign up for the Top 8, a roundup of the day's top stories delivered directly to your inbox Monday through Friday.