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Kansas governor vetoes 'abortion reversal' bill, but legislative override still possible

Lara Korte, The Kansas City Star on

Published in News & Features

TOPEKA, Kan. -- Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly on Monday vetoed a bill that would have required doctors to inform patients that the abortion pill is reversible -- a controversial practice that Democrats and abortion rights advocates have criticized for being scientifically unproven.

The Republican-held legislature, however, could override Kelly's veto with a two-thirds majority of each chamber. Doing so would require only one more vote from the Senate.

"I think there's a strong potential for override," said Sen. Gene Suellentrop, R-Wich., noting that two Republican senators were absent from voting that day and would likely be in favor of an override.

Non-surgical, or medical, abortions are carried out with a sequence of pills. The first, Mifepristone, more widely known as RU-486, stops the growth of the fetus by blocking the hormone progesterone. Misoprostol, taken about two days later, makes the uterus contract to complete the abortion, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, or ACOG.

Some pro-choice gynecologists and lawmakers say medical abortions can be halted if the mother is given a dose of the hormone progesterone before the second pill is administered. The hormone is often used to prevent miscarriages.

SB 67 would require doctors to inform abortion patients, either in written or verbal form, that medical abortions can be reversed. Kansans for Life calls the method "pro-science, pro-woman, and proven effective."


Kelly said Monday that the bill constituted undue interference into women's reproductive health decisions.

"Senate Bill 67 will interfere with the relationship between patients and their physicians. This unwarranted legislation will create confusion and could be harmful to women's health," said Kelly, a Democrat. "The practice of medicine should be left to licensed health professionals, not elected officials."

Julie Burkhart, founder and CEO of the abortion-rights group Trust Women, applauded Kelly's veto.

"Women are capable of making complex decisions about their health care and lives without unnecessary interference from anti-choice lawmakers," Burkhart said in a statement.


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