Final Actions Taken on Abortion Bills in KS, OK, and GA
Bills regulating abortion reached their end stages in three states this past week.
Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius (D) vetoed on Monday a measure that would have required doctors to submit information about abortion patients to the state. Late-term abortions are only legal under Kansas law to save the life of a woman or when her health is severely threatened. Some lawmakers want doctors to explain why they perform each late-term procedure, information that would be included in the Kansas Department of Health and Environment's annual report. Sebelius, an abortion rights advocate, said that the provision would have violated women's privacy. According to the Kansas City Star, her veto message said, "The questions required by this proviso are open-ended and request detailed information on a patient's medical condition." The Senate was eight votes short of the 27 votes necessary to overturn the veto.
In Oklahoma, Governor Brad Henry (D) allowed a bill to become law yesterday that will limit the abortions that can be performed in public facilities. The law allows abortions to be performed with state money only in cases of rape, incest, or when a woman's health is endangered. It does not permit abortions in cases when the fetus is viable. The Oklahoma State Medical Association, some doctors, and some lawmakers oppose the measure because it will hinder a woman's ability to obtain an abortion if she relies on state-funded health care. It could also interfere with a hospital's ability to teach obstetrics and gynecology, according to the Associated Press. The Senate approved the measure 34-14 and the House supported it by a vote of 77-19. Henry vetoed a similar but more stringent measure last month.
Finally, Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue (R) yesterday signed the Full Disclosure Ultrasound Act, mandating that all abortion providers offer their patients ultrasounds before performing abortion procedures. Anti-abortion advocates are promoting such bills in many states in hopes that a woman will decide not to have an abortion after viewing the ultrasound. Georgia has been adding restrictions and impediments to abortion access for several years; in 2005, the state passed the Woman's Right to Know Act, which delays an abortion for 24 hours after a woman first requests the procedure.
Media Resources: Pryor Daily Times 5/24/07; Kaiser Daily Women's Health Policy 5/23/07; Atlanta Journal-Constitution 5/23/07; Kansas City Star 5/21/07; Associated Press 5/24/07