Gov. Laura Kelly Vetoes Ban on Gender-Identity Health Care for Minors and Two Anti-Abortion Bills.

The governor of Kansas has overruled a bill that would have outlawed gender-affirming medical treatment for children, increased reporting requirements for abortion providers, and a bill that would have made it illegal to force someone to get an abortion due to its unclear language.

Kansas governor vetoes ban on gender-affirming care for minors and 2 anti-abortion bills1

Ban on Gender-Affirming Care for Minors and two Anti-Abortion Bills:

With a veto pen in hand, Gov. Laura Kelly rejected bills on Friday that would have made it illegal for transgender youth to receive health care related to their gender identity, introduced a vague crime of forcing someone to have an abortion, and expanded the scope of the survey conducted on women seeking abortions. These measures were sure to spark attempts in the Republican-led House and Senate to override the veto.

Given her past resistance to Congress interfering in private matters that she felt should be the purview of families and doctors, the Democratic governor’s decision to utilize her power to reject these proposals about health and abortion rights wasn’t shocking.

Senate Bill 233, according to Kelly, is an unjustified attack on a small percentage of Kansans under 18. It would prohibit gender-affirming care for transgender adolescents in Kansas. She said that the measure was founded on the politically perverted notion that the Legislature was better at raising children than individual parents.

She stated that preventing doctors from operating on people or from writing prescriptions for puberty blockers is neither a conservative nor a Kansas principle. She claimed it was improper to take away a doctor’s license for advocating for a patient’s health. The measure would make it impossible for physicians who violate medical ethics to rely on their professional liability insurance to defend themselves in court and might subject them to litigation.

Kelly declared, “To be clear, this legislation tramples parental rights.” Being a politician and standing between a parent and a child who needed medical attention of any kind is the last place I would want to be. And yet, this law accomplishes precisely that.

In response to the governor, Senate President Ty Masterson, a Republican from Andover, and House Speaker Dan Hawkins, a Republican from Wichita, criticized the vetoes and promised to pursue overrides when lawmakers reconvened at the Capitol on April 26. The transgender measure passed the Senate 27–13 and the House 82–39, indicating that both chambers were very close to obtaining the two–thirds majority needed to block the governor.

Masterson stated, “The governor has once again demonstrated that the extreme left is in charge of her veto pen.” “This dedication to extremism will not stand, and when we return in two weeks, we look forward to overriding her vetoes.”

Senior director of the Human Rights Campaign Cathryn Oakley claimed that the prohibition on transgender adolescents receiving vital, medically essential health treatment was discriminatory, intended to disseminate harmful disinformation, and timed to incite anti-LGBTQ+ activists.

According to Oakley, “age-appropriate, gender-affirming care for transgender and nonbinary people is demanded by every credible medical organization, which represents over 1.3 million doctors in the United States.” “For this reason, the majority of Americans are against making gender-affirming healthcare illegal or outlawed.”

Coercion for Abortion:

Additionally, Kelly rejected House Bill 2436, which would have made it a criminal to coerce a girl or woman to terminate a pregnancy notwithstanding her declared intention to bring the child to term using physical, financial, or other means. The Senate voted it down 27–11, and the House passed it 82–37, maybe just missing a veto override.

The bill would penalize anybody found guilty of forcing an abortion with a $5,000 fine and a year in prison. If the pregnant woman was under the age of eighteen and the adult exerting pressure happened to be the fetus’s father, the fine might be increased to $10,000. A 25-year jail term might be imposed if the compulsion was coupled with stalking, domestic abuse, abduction, or around twenty additional felonies.

According to Kelly, No one should undergo medical treatment against their will. She stated that it was already illegal in Kansas to threaten someone with violence.

The governor expressed concerns about the bill’s ambiguous wording and its ability to pry into personal, frequently painful discussions between a person and their friends, family, and medical professionals. “This overly sweeping language runs the risk of criminalizing Kansans who are simply sharing their expertise as a health care provider or who are being confided in by their loved ones.”

The head of the House Republican Caucus, Hawkins, stated that Kelly’s rejection of the measure was an excessively progressive move and that compulsion is always wrong.

“It’s a sad day for Kansas when the governor can’t even support victims of abuse and trafficking who are forced to have the procedure because of her unwavering support for abortion,” Hawkins said.

According to Emily Wales, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Great Plains Votes, the goal of HB 2436 was to undermine a fundamental constitutional right to bodily autonomy, spread misleading narratives, and associate abortion with criminality. The measure made little effort to shield Kansas against coerced pregnancy or birth control tampering, among other forms of reproductive coercion.

Wales stated, “Planned Parenthood Great Plains Votes believes in its patients and is adamantly opposed to any legislation that aims to restrict access to vital health care services or undermine reproductive rights.”

Kansas for Life spokesperson Danielle Underwood claimed that “Coercion Kelly” showed no mercy for women coerced into having an abortion by using this veto.

The Abortion Survey:

A law mandating the addition of over a dozen questions to surveys given to women seeking abortions in Kansas was adopted by both the House and the Senate. A lively discussion in the House took place over the potential public health advantages of mandating that men be questioned about the reasons behind their desire for a vasectomy or why they sought treatment from medical experts for erectile dysfunction.

Adopted 81-39 in the House and 27-13 in the Senate, House Bill 2749 mandates that the Kansas Department of Health and Environment generate reports on the results of the enlarged abortion survey every two years. Kansas cannot mandate that women respond to survey questions.

In her veto letter, Kelly stated that the measure was “invasive and unnecessary” and that lawmakers ought to have considered the fact that a proposed amendment to the Kansas Constitution that would have created the conditions for legislation further restricting or banning abortion access was rejected in August 2022.

“If a woman has experienced abuse, rape, or incest before having an abortion, there is no legitimate medical reason to force her to disclose to the Legislature,” Kelly stated. Furthermore, there is no justification for making a woman reveal to the legislature the reason she wants an abortion. Legislation that defies the will of the vast majority of Kansans, who made their voices heard on August 2, 2022, will not be signed by me. Politicians should not be engaged in the private medical decisions made by Kansans.

The law, according to Wales of Planned Parenthood Great Plains Votes, would have forced medical professionals to “interrogate patients seeking abortion care” and to violate patient privacy while causing unwarranted emotional anguish.

The Republican speaker of the House, Kirk Hawkins, stated that the record number of abortions performed in Kansas—which has been driven by restrictions or outright bans in other states—was reason enough to examine KDHE’s abortion-related data. Additionally, he chastised the governor for appealing to “irrational fears of offending the for-profit pro-abortion lobby” and claimed that she had no business stifling reporting on abortion.

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