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Kan. House Overrides Veto of Antiabortion Bill; Okla. Law Temporarily Blocked

Kan. House Overrides Veto of Antiabortion Bill; Okla. Law Temporarily Blocked

May 4, 2010 — The Kansas House voted to override Gov. Mark Parkinson's (D) veto of antiabortion legislation, while an Oklahoma judge placed a temporary hold on a new antiabortion law.

~ Kansas: The Kansas House on Monday voted 86-35 to override Gov. Mark Parkinson's (D) veto of a bill (HB 2115) that would require abortion providers to provide a specific medical diagnosis to justify abortions performed at or beyond 22 weeks' gestation, the Kansas City Star reports. Current state law (KSA 44-665) requires physicians to certify that a woman's health is in jeopardy in such cases. The bill also would allow women, their partners or the parents of minors to sue providers if they suspect violations of the state's late abortion law (Klepper, Kansas City Star, 5/3). The House attempted to override the veto on Friday but fell three votes short of the required two-thirds majority (Women's Health Policy Report, 5/3). Lobbying efforts and the presence of two antiabortion-rights lawmakers who were absent from last week's vote secured the override. The bill now heads to the Senate, where the chances of overriding Parkinson's veto are "iffy at best," according to the AP/Hutchinson News. The bill passed the Senate with 24 votes; the support of 27 senators is required to override the veto. Senate Majority Leader Derek Schmidt (R) said the chamber will not vote for a few days to give supporters time to find more votes. In his veto message, Parkinson criticized the House for focusing on the "politically divisive issue" of abortion instead of pressing concerns, like the state budget (Milburn, AP/Hutchinson News, 5/3).

~ Oklahoma: Oklahoma County District Judge Noma Gurich on Monday placed a temporary hold on enforcement of a new state law (HB 2780) requiring women to undergo an ultrasound and listen to an explanation of the findings no more than one hour before an abortion, the Tulsa World reports (Hoberock, Tulsa World, 5/4). The law also requires physicians to use a vaginal ultrasound if it would provide a clearer image of the fetus than a regular ultrasound (Talley, AP/Google News, 5/3). The hold will delay the law's enforcement for 45 days (McKinley, New York Times, 5/3). Gurich set a hearing on a motion for a temporary injunction against the law for July 19. According to Center for Reproductive Rights attorney Jennifer Mondino, the law was in effect for a few days before the group filed a lawsuit challenging the statute (Tulsa World, 5/4). According to the AP/Google News, CRR attorneys were prepared to argue for the temporary restraining order Monday, but both sides agreed to the temporary hold until the hearing. Attorney General Drew Edmondson (D) accepted the hold to give his office more time to retain Teresa Collett, a professor at the University of St. Thomas Law School who represented the state in a case challenging a similar antiabortion law in 2008. Collett also is the Republican nominee for a Minnesota congressional seat (AP/Google News, 5/3). Two abortion providers have challenged the law as violating the state Constitution's clauses that protect privacy, equal protection and freedom of speech (New York Times, 5/3).