Kansas Senate fails to override vetoed abortion bill

TOPEKA | An attempt to overrule Kansas Gov. Mark Parkinson’s veto of a late-term abortion bill failed this morning in the Kansas Senate.

The Senate vote was 26-14, one vote short of the necessary two-thirds majority needed to enact a law despite a veto.

The effort succeeded in the House Monday.

The bill would require physicians who authorize late-term abortions to provide the specific diagnosis that justifies the procedure. State laws prohibits abortions of viable fetuses during or after the 22nd week of pregnancy unless a physician determines that continuing the pregnancy could seriously harm the woman.

Anti-abortion groups say the state health department routinely accepted vague or non-existent diagnoses from George Tiller’s former Wichita abortion clinic. That clinic specialized in late-term abortions until it closed following Tiller’s murder. No known late-term abortions have been performed in Kansas since.

It’s possible supporters of the bill could make another attempt in the Senate before lawmakers adjourn their 2010 session in the next several days.

Anti-abortion lawmakers have pushed similar bills for years. Last year’s legislation was also vetoed, and the attempt to revive the bill failed.

If they don’t try again this year, lawmakers are sure to push the bill again next year, when the state has a new governor.

“Someday I hope the unborn has a voice in these chambers,” said Sen. Ralph Ostmeyer, a Grinnell Republican. “It’s not about a woman, it’s not about a man. I’m convinced at this point that the unborn do not have a choice... We will have a change in governor. We will get this passed. It’s just a year away.”

Here's how metro area Senators voted on the bill:

Republicans voting yes (to enact the law despite the veto): Karin Brownlee and Julia Lynn, both of Olathe; Jeff Colyer and Tim Owens, both of Overland Park; and Mary Pilcher Cook, Shawnee.

Republicans voting no: Terrie Huntington, Fairway; and John Vratil, Leawood.

Democrats voting no : David Haley, Kelly Kultala and Chris Steineger, all of KCK; Tom Holland of Baldwin City;