Abortion veto override fails; minister vows Sebelius will pay

Measure would have regulated some clinic procedures, but not others

? Gov. Kathleen Sebelius’ veto of an abortion clinic regulation bill survived an override attempt Thursday, but supporters of the legislation said they would continue the fight in the political arena.

“This vote today will mark the defeat of Kathleen Sebelius in November 2006,” said Rev. Terry Fox, a conservative minister from Wichita, who lobbied lawmakers to override the governor.

House members voted 82-42 to override the veto, falling two votes short of the 84 needed to get a two-thirds majority to reverse a governor’s veto.

Fox, who with Wichita minister Joe Wright, recently spearheaded the push for a constitutional prohibition on same-sex marriage, said his political calendar was now full.

“You guys have been asking what’s next for us. The list is Gov. Sebelius and the legislators who voted against the override,” he said.

Sebelius, a Democrat who is expected to seek re-election in 2006, declined to comment. Her office said she stood by her veto message when she struck down the bill, saying it represented “pure politics over good policy.”

The measure would have required abortion clinics to obtain an annual license from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, hire surgeons as their medical directors and report patient deaths to the state within a day.

It also mandated that KDHE set standards for equipment, medical screenings, ventilation and lighting.

In 2003, Sebelius vetoed a similar bill, saying that clinic standards should be set by medical professionals instead of by legislators.

The House failed, by a vote of 82-42, to override Gov. Kathleen Sebelius’ veto of a bill imposing additional regulations on abortion clinics. Supporters of the bill needed a two-thirds majority, or 84 votes, to override the veto.Area representatives voting to sustain the veto:¢ Tom Sloan, R-Lawrence¢ Barbara Ballard, D-Lawrence¢ Paul Davis, D-Lawrence¢ Tom Holland, D-Baldwin¢ Ann Mah, D-TopekaArea representatives voting to override the veto:¢ Anthony Brown, R-Eudora¢ Joann Flower, R-Oskaloosa¢ Joe Humerickhouse, R-Osage City

Sebelius made the same argument this year and said she would have considered a regulatory bill that would have applied to all clinics that conducted surgical procedures.

Debate in the House during the veto-override effort was short and bitter.

Rep. Peggy Mast, R-Emporia, said the override was necessary to ensure that women were getting safe health care.

“Current policy is inadequate,” she said, noting problems at a Kansas City, Kan., abortion clinic that have taken more than one year for state officials to address.

Mast said she hoped those who voted against the override would be “sentenced to the same kind of health care that we are condemning women to today.”

But defenders of Sebelius’ veto said it was unfair to focus only on abortion clinics.

“I’m waiting for the bill that seeks to regulate all of the clinics,” said Rep. Judith Loganbill, D-Wichita.

Peter Brownlie, president and chief executive of Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri, said the bill would have established onerous regulations and resulted in shutting down three of seven clinics in Kansas that provide health care services to 5,000 women.

“Women are being served in a safe manner now. The regulations (in the bill) were only a disguise to further a political agenda to limit access to reproductive health care in Kansas,” Brownlie said.

But Mary Kay Culp, executive director of Kansans for Life, the largest anti-abortion organization in Kansas, said the group just wanted to improve conditions.

“We’re just trying to shutdown the legal back-alley abortion clinics in Kansas,” she said.

After more than a year of complaints from Kansans for Life, state officials recently shut down a Kansas City, Kan., clinic run by Dr. Krishna Rajanna. Inspectors found that the clinic was unclean, found a dead mouse in the building and concluded that Rajanna mishandled medications.