Legislators attempt to override Kansas governor’s veto of abortion coercion bill

raped, abuse, pregnant, coerced abortion

Kansas Governor Laura Kelly has vetoed legislation that could have protected women and teens from coerced abortions.

According to Catholic News Agency, she said she decided to veto it because she thought the language was too vague. There are enough votes to override the veto if most of the Republican members of the state legislature vote for the override.

The law would have made it a felony to coerce a pregnant woman “with the intent to compel such woman to obtain an abortion when such woman has expressed her desire to not obtain an abortion.” Coercion is defined to include abuse or threatening abuse of the legal system, extortion, physical restraint, physical threats, financial threats, and other coercive acts. Anyone who violates the law would face a year in prison and up to a $10,000 fine.

Studies have previously shown that 64% of post-abortive women felt pressured to abort. At the same time, 67% received no counseling before undergoing the abortion. Often, mothers face pressure from parents, boyfriends, employers, and friends to undergo an abortion. Research published November 1, 2021, in the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology revealed that a leading cause of death among pregnant women is homicide. The study found that homicide during pregnancy “exceeded all the leading causes of maternal mortality.”

Often, a pregnant woman is murdered when she refuses abortion. This is what happened to 17-year-old Breana Rouhselang, who was murdered by her baby’s father Aaron Trejo when she was six months pregnant because she waited to tell him about the pregnancy until it was too late to get an abortion. Therefore he said, “I took action… I took her life.”

Tassila Kenha, 24, was also murdered by her boyfriend after she refused an abortion. And 35-year-old Jennifer Irigoyen and her preborn child were murdered by the baby’s father as her neighbors heard her scream, “He’s going to kill the baby.” Stories like these are, tragically, increasingly common.

While Kelly said she agrees that no woman should be coerced “into undergoing a medical procedure against their will,” it’s important to note that induced abortion is not merely a “medical procedure.” It is a procedure that has the sole purpose of intentionally and directly killing a preborn human being. An induced abortion is not “successful” unless one patient is dead in the end. Because it is “already a crime to threaten violence against another individual,” she claims the law is not necessary.

“I am concerned with the vague language in this bill and its potential to intrude upon private, often difficult, conversations between a person and their family, friends, and health care providers,” said Kelly. “This overly broad language risks criminalizing Kansans who are being confided in by their loved ones or simply sharing their expertise as a health care provider.”

In response to the veto, Kansas Republicans said they are planning to use their supermajority to override it. The Senate needs a two-thirds majority to overrule the veto and if they are successful, the bill would then return to the House, which also needs a two-thirds majority.

“As we watch other states, nations, and organizations reverse course on these experimental procedures on children, Laura Kelly will most surely find herself on the wrong side of history with her reckless veto of this common sense protection for Kansas minors,” Republican House speaker Dan Hawkins said on social media. “House Republicans stand ready to override her veto to protect vulnerable Kansas kids.”

The Senate will vote in an attempt to override the veto on April 29.

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