Parkinson vetoes changes to Kansas late-term abortion laws

TOPEKA | Kansas Gov. Mark Parkinson today vetoed legislation designed to tighten the rules on late-term abortion.

The bill – similar to one vetoed last year by former Gov. Kathleen Sebelius – would have required doctors signing off on late-term abortions to provide the specific medical diagnosis that justified the procedure. Abortions after 22 weeks of pregnancy are prohibited by state law unless two physicians say the pregnancy presents a serious health threat to the woman.

The bill passed both the House and Senate earlier this year but without the high margins that would suggest an easy veto override. Still, Mary Kay Culp, executive director of Kansans for Life, said work to shore up support for a veto override is underway. Lawmakers return to Topeka for a wrap-up session April 28.

The veto was expected. In a statement accompanying his veto, Parkinson, a Democrat, said the current law “strikes a reasonable balance on a very difficult issue.”

“I support the current law and believe that an annual legislative battle over the issue is not in the public’s best interest,” he said. “My view is that all abortions are tragedies, which is why I would encourage women who have unwanted pregnancies to consult with their partners, families, doctors and spiritual advisors. I would not encourage women to consult with state legislators, as this is a private decision and should not be dictated by public officials.”