Kansas Liberty: 21 April 2008
From Kansas Liberty
Sebelius vetoes bill banning coerced abortions
Claiming she feared a bill that “is likely unconstitutional or, even worse, endangers the lives of women,” Gov. Kathleen Sebelius has vetoed the Comprehensive Abortion Reform Act (CARA).
The bill had been passed in the Legislature with large bipartisan majorities.
While the bill, SB 389, would have added no new restrictions on abortion, it did require abortion providers to give patients additional information about the procedure, allowed for lawsuits by patients and their families in the event of an illegal abortion, and would have helped protect women and girls whose abortions had been coerced by others – a concern for those who wanted additional safeguards against sex crimes, especially those perpetrated on minors.
In her veto message, Sebelius wrote, “As governor, nothing is more important to me than the safety, health and privacy rights of our citizens.”
The bill’s chief sponsor, Rep. Lance Kinzer, R – Olathe, released a statement condemning the veto. “The decision to veto CARA is a tragedy for women who will continue to be exploited by an industry that places profit above respect for human life,” he wrote. “Sadly in Kansas it is not only the abortion industry itself, but the government agencies that are charged with regulating them, that have consistently ignored Kansas law and made our State the late term abortion capital of America.”
Sebelius wrote that the bill would have blocked an abortion on a patient “even where it may be necessary to save her life.” However the bill only permitted a patient’s spouse or family members to go to court if they believed a doctor had performed or was about to perform an illegal late-term abortion. Kansas law allows a woman to receive an abortion when her “life is in danger,” and CARA would have had no effect on that part of the law.
Anti-abortion activists quickly responded to the Sebelius veto, calling it “extreme.” Mary Kay Culp, state executive director of Kansans for Life, said, “the real question Sebelius must answer is why she would veto a law which simply gives women more information when considering abortion…and in no way prevents a legal, non-coerced abortion from taking place.”
Kinzer noted that the bill had passed the House 84-40, a veto-proof majority. In the Senate, the vote was 25-13, with two senators not voting. The bill needs two additional votes in the Senate to over-ride Sebelius’ veto.