Archive for Thursday, May 25, 2006

Lawmakers sustain governor’s abortion records

Override fails in Kansas Senate on final day of session

May 25, 2006


— Anti-abortion lawmakers took one final swipe at Gov. Kathleen Sebelius but failed today to override her veto of a bill requiring physicians to report more information to the state about late-term abortions they perform.

The effort in the Senate came on the 94th and final day of the 2006 session, when legislators also fixed problems in recently enacted laws dealing with school finance and court fees.

The vote was 23-12 - four votes short of the required two-thirds majority to send the bill to the House.

It was the second time this year the Senate mounted an override effort against the governor. The last time was successful, when senators trashed her veto of a concealed guns bill. The House went along, making it law despite the veto.

The latest override attempt pitted two longtime foes - abortion opponents and abortion rights supporters.

The bill, which Sebelius vetoed Friday, would have required physicians to inform state health officials about each late-term abortion and whether the fetus was abnormal. It also would have increased the information to be reported, including how a woman would have been harmed without the procedure.

When the bill was debated by legislators, supporters said it would give Kansans better information about abortions and help officials determine whether doctors and clinics are complying with restrictions on the procedure.

It also called for creation of a special form to be filled out when an attempted abortion resulted in a live birth, which clinics say rarely happens.

Sebelius, who supports abortion rights, said the bill would have forced doctors to turn over sensitive information about their patients and did nothing to reduce the number of abortions in the state.

"Instead, it will force women to provide intimate, sensitive health information to the government," she wrote. "Privacy is a fundamental concern to all Kansans."

Sen. Karin Brownlee, who led the override attempt, said the governor was wrong.

"It's important to note this bill is only an improvement on our reporting system," said Brownlee, R-Olathe. "The privacy of the woman isn't infringed because the law already says the name is confidential."

But Sen. David Haley called it an opportunity "to engage in witch hunts."

"It's another opportunity for malfeasance and mischief," said Haley, D-Kansas City. "This has been the bill from hell."

Brownlee said the legislation will be back next year "because we need the information."

State health statistics show 414 late-term abortions were performed last year in Kansas, including 235 in which the fetus was listed as viable.

In other business, both chambers quickly pass a bill to fix a glitch discovered in the three-year, $541 million school finance plan after the governor signed it. Legislators are under a Kansas Supreme Court mandate to spend more money for public schools.

The problem was the law gave additional money to 38 school districts with a high concentration of poor students. The flaw would have shorted three districts - Hutchinson, Kansas City Turner and Leavenworth - nearly $1.4 million over two years.

Lawmakers also reconciled conflicting provisions in state law dealing with court fees. Without the change, the state general fund would have lost about $1 million in the upcoming budget year beginning July 1.


akuna 12 years ago

What the hell do they "...need the information" for? If they are worried about the health of the mother or the chance for counseling the mother, then they should bark up that tree, not this one. It is simply not needed.

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