Abortion bill veto stands
Topeka ? Gov. Kathleen Sebelius’ veto of new restrictions on abortion providers withstood an attempt Wednesday by anti-abortion senators to overturn it.
The vote was 25-14, two short of the two-thirds majority needed to nullify the veto in the Senate and send it to the House, where an override effort probably would have been successful.
Besides imposing new restrictions, the measure would have allowed lawsuits to block late-term procedures on fetuses 22 weeks or older.
When she vetoed the measure, Sebelius argued it could deny women life-saving medical care.
The measure was partly a response to allegations that Dr. George Tiller has performed illegal late-term abortions at his Wichita clinic. Tiller is among the few U.S. physicians who perform such procedures, and he says that he follows state law.
The vote came with little debate, as Sen. Tim Huelskamp, R-Fowler, made the override motion.
The bill called for doctors using ultrasound or monitoring fetal heartbeats to make information from those sources available to a patient at least 30 minutes before an abortion. Also, doctors would have to tell their patients whether their fetuses are viable and, if not, why.
The bill also allows a former patient or her family to sue a doctor for monetary damages if she believes a pregnancy was improperly terminated.
When Sebelius, who supports abortion rights, vetoed the bill on April 21, she objected most strongly to provisions allowing 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. The patient herself also could sue, but so could a local prosecutor.