TOPEKA — Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly vetoed a bill on Monday that would require doctors and abortion clinics to tell women about treatment that is meant to reverse a medication abortion.
Senate Bill 67 would require medical professionals to notify women in writing that by taking the hormone progesterone, a medication that could stop a medication abortion. A clinic that failed to do so could be fined up to $10,000, and doctors could face a misdemeanor for a first offense, and a felony for a second.
The veto from the Democratic governor sets the stage for a showdown with the Republican-dominated legislature with the ability to override a veto with a two-thirds majority in both chambers. Republican lawmakers met on a Friday afternoon to negotiate an agreement between the House and Senate to pass the bill before taking a three-week legislative break, which ends on May 1. The bill passed 85-35 in the Kansas House of Representatives and 26-11 in the Kansas Senate.
The most common method of pregnancy termination in Kansas are medication abortions. According to the Kansas State Department of Health and Environment, medication abortion accounts for 61% of total abortions in 2018.
In this method, women can terminate a pregnancy by taking a drug called Mifepristone that stops the child from growing, then taking another drug called Misoprostol about 48 hours later that clears the uterus.
Kelly told reporters Monday that the practice of medicine should be left to doctors.
“Senate Bill 67 will interfere with the relationship between patients and their physicians,” Kelly said. “The practice of medicine should be up to listened health professionals, and not to elected officials.”
Sen. Gene Sullentrop (R-Wichita) disagreed with the claim that the bill is coercive.
“There’s no forcing anyone in this treatment. It’s just a notification that the option does exist.” Sullentrop told The Wichita Eagle.
He also said that there is “strong potential” for an override of Kelly’s veto by a two-thirds vote in the House and Senate.
Pro-life supporters of this type of law in Kansas and other states cited a 2018 study by Dr. George Delgado, a board member of the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetrics and Gynecology and professor at the University of California, San Diego.
The study suggests that women can reverse the first pill’s effects by taking the hormone progesterone, which is normally used to prevent miscarriages.
Seven other states have enacted similar laws, all with Republican governors.
On the other hand, pro-choice activists and legislature have called this study flawed, inadequately tested, not based on science, and have said that the treatment does not meet clinical standards.
This is Kelly’s second veto since taking office in January.
Grant DeMars is a senior from Salina majoring in journalism.