Topeka The Kansas House failed to override Gov. Mark Parkinson’s veto of a bill that would have rewritten the state’s laws on late-term abortions, falling two votes short on Friday.
The measure could have discouraged any doctor who provides late-term abortions from establishing a practice in Kansas following the murder last year of Dr. George Tiller.
His Wichita practice was one of the few in the nation performing late-term procedures.
Doctors would have to give the state more details about abortions performed after the 21st week of pregnancy and involving fetuses considered viable, or able to survive outside the womb.
Kansas allows such abortions only to save the mother’s life or prevent major damage to her health. Patients or family members would also be able to sue doctors if they have evidence an abortion violated state law.
Republican supporters of the measure immediately said they would move to reconsider the override action on Monday, giving absent members a chance to vote. The Senate will vote only if the House is successful, but chances for an override in the Senate seem more remote.
House Democrats tried to short-circuit Republican efforts by making a procedural move to reconsider. That would have forced the re-vote Friday.
Republicans countered with a motion to adjourn immediately to save their chances.
“This is clearly an attempt to kill the bill and not allow those members to vote,” said Rep. Lance Kinzer, an Olathe Republican who led the override attempt. “You never know what votes may change over a weekend.
“We knew we were short, and it’s not just a delay tactic. While we can’t guarantee we’ll have the 84 votes, we want to preserve the opportunity to get there.”
The 82-40 vote Friday was shy of the 84 needed to overturn the veto.
Parkinson, a Democrat, said in vetoing the bill on April 15 that current law “strikes a reasonable balance on a very difficult issue” and doesn’t merit changing.
Supporters of the override attempt said the bill addressed concerns that an earlier law wasn’t being enforced and would end the issue that has risen annually in the Legislature.
Anti-abortion groups saw the bill as a way to keep providers from moving to Kansas to perform late-term procedures.
They are most concerned about Dr. Leroy Carhart, a friend of Tiller who has a clinic outside Bellevue, Neb.
Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman recently signed two new laws regarding abortion, one of which was partly aimed at Carhart’s clinic.
It prohibits abortions at and after 20 weeks of pregnancy based on assertions that fetuses feel pain at that time. The current standard is viability.