Sebelius, Shallenburger records on abortion summarized
Topeka ? Here is how Democratic gubernatorial candidate Kathleen Sebelius and Republican nominee Tim Shallenburger voted on abortion issues as members of the Kansas House.
Sebelius served in the House in 1987-94 before being elected insurance commissioner in 1994. Shallenburger served in the House in 1987-98, before being elected state treasurer in 1998.
Years are not listed if no significant abortion bills came before the entire House for a vote.
On Feb. 22, the House Federal and State Affairs Committee rejected HB 2779, requiring doctors to notify a parent when a girl under 16 sought an abortion.
Four days later, the House voted 65-58 on a motion to take the bill from committee and put it before the House, with 70 needed for the motion to prevail. SEBELIUS: NO. SHALLENBURGER: YES.
On Feb. 28, the House Transportation Committee stripped the contents of SB 129, dealing with vehicle registration fees, and substituted a parental notification proposal.
On March 1, the House discussed the bill, first approving the committee’s report, 65-60, allowing debate to go forward. SEBELIUS: NO. SHALLENBURGER: YES.
During debate, a compromise proposal was offered that was less restrictive. It passed, 77-47. SEBELIUS: NO. SHALLENBURGER: YES.
Another amendment set up a court procedure to allow a girl to get around notifying a parent. It failed, 46-75. SEBELIUS: YES. SHALLENBURGER: NO.
A third amendment would have prevented the Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services from denying coverage of abortions under any of its medical programs. It failed, 37-82. SEBELIUS: YES. SHALLENBURGER: NO.
On March 2, the House passed the bill, 73-50. SEBELIUS: NO. SHALLENBURGER: YES. The measure died in the Senate.
Sebelius was chairwoman of the Federal and State Affairs Committee, which handled abortion legislation.
On Feb. 27, it endorsed HB 2778, which codified the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe vs. Wade decision into Kansas law. It said an abortion after a fetus is viable was legal only if a doctor said it was necessary to preserve a woman’s life or health, or if the fetus had a serious abnormality. It required counseling for minors but prohibited interference with clinics’ business. Supporting it were Planned Parenthood, the ProChoice Action League and the National Organization for Women.
The House debated it the next day. An amendment to require parental notification and a 24-hour wait failed, 40-83. SEBELIUS: NO. SHALLENBURGER: YES.
Another amendment to limit post-viability abortions only to cases in which a woman’s life is in danger failed, 49-74. SEBELIUS: NO. SHALLENBURGER: YES.
A third amendment requiring a woman give “informed consent” and wait 24 hours failed, 51-59. SEBELIUS: NO. SHALLENBURGER: YES.
The House passed the bill, 82-41, on March 2. SEBELIUS: YES. SHALLENBURGER: NO. The Senate rejected it March 18.
On April 2, the Senate substituted an abortion proposal for the contents of HB 2646, which had dealt with perjury.
Under that proposal, post-viability abortions were allowed to save a woman’s life or if a fetus was severely deformed. Parental notification and counseling were required for girls under 18. An informed consent provision and 8-hour waiting period were included.
On April 3, the House voted 71-53 to accept the Senate proposal, sending the measure to Gov. Joan Finney. Many abortion opponents found its restrictions too weak but voted for it, fearing that Sebelius would negotiate for a measure more favorable to abortion rights. SEBELIUS: NO. SHALLENBURGER: Yes.
Finney signed the measure.
It was Sebelius’ last year in the Legislature.
Abortion opponents introduced HB 2357, which tightened restrictions on post-viability abortions, required counseling for all women seeking the procedure and imposed a 24-hour waiting period. Shallenburger was a sponsor.
The Federal and State Affairs Committee rejected it. On Feb. 28, the House rejected, 53-71, a motion to pull the bill from committee. SEBELIUS: NO. SHALLENBURGER: YES.
Shallenburger began four years as House speaker.
On Feb. 23, the Health and Human Services Committee endorsed HB 2323, requiring clinics performing abortions to be licensed as ambulatory surgical centers. The House approved it, 66-58, on March 1. SHALLENBURGER: YES.
The bill stalled in the Senate.
On Feb. 14, the Health and Human Services Committee endorsed HB 2938, a proposed Woman’s Right to Know Act, requiring doctors to counsel women about abortion procedures, their risks, fetal development and alternatives. It also imposed a 24-hour waiting period. Shallenburger was a sponsor.
The House approved it, 71-53, on Feb. 27. SHALLENBURGER: YES. It stalled in the Senate.
Later, the Senate approved SB 352, a proposed Right to Know law, and the House committee endorsed it on April 26, with no amendments. On April 29, the House approved it, 78-46, sending it to Gov. Bill Graves. SHALLENBURGER: YES.
Graves vetoed it.
Shallenburger was a sponsor of HB 2269, an informed consent proposal endorsed by the Judiciary Committee on Feb. 17.
The House debated it on Feb. 19, rejecting an amendment to substitute an alternative women’s health education initiative not focused on abortion. The vote was 44-78. SHALLENBURGER: NO.
The House approved the bill, 86-38, on Feb. 20. SHALLENBURGER: YES.
The measure stalled in the Senate.
On March 13, the Health and Human Services Committee added a proposed Right to Know law to SB 286.
The House passed the amended version, 80-43, on March 20. SHALLENBURGER: YES. The revised version stalled in the Senate.
Legislators eventually dumped a compromise Right to Know law into the final version of SB 204. The House approved it, 118-0, on May 3. SHALLENBURGER: YES. It went to Graves, who signed it.
Meanwhile, legislators were also discussing new restrictions on late-term abortions and a ban on a procedure critics called partial-birth abortion.
The Judiciary Committee took SB 234, made it more restrictive, and endorsed it on April 4. The House then approved that version, 87-37, on April 10. SHALLENBURGER: YES.
Senate leaders pigeonholed that bill, then rewrote HB 2509 to make it a bill on late-term abortions.
The House debated the Senate’s version on May 3, amending it to make it more restrictive. The vote on the amendment was 73-47. SHALLENBURGER: YES.
The House passed the bill, 80-41. SHALLENBURGER: YES. It stalled in the Senate.
It was Shallenburger’s last year in the Legislature.
Both SB 234 and HB 2509 remained alive from the 1997 session.
But HB 2531 eventually became the vehicle for a compromise proposal on late-term abortions.
The House approved it, 78-45, on April 10, sending it to Graves, who signed it. SHALLENBURGER: YES.
Sources: House and Senate Journals, annual bill tracking reports compiled by the Kansas Legislative Research Department; AP archives.