GOP-Led Legislature Overrides Dem Governor’s Veto of Born-Alive Infants Protection Act
The Republican-controlled Kansas Legislature voted on Wednesday to nullify Democrat Gov. Laura Kelly’s veto of the Born-Alive Infants Protection Act.
The legislation, also known as HB 2313/SB 320, will take effect on July 1 and will require that healthcare providers “exercise the same degree of professional skill, care and diligence” to preserve the health of newborns delivered during an abortion procedure that a “reasonably diligent and conscientious” provider would with other live births.
Newborn babies who survive attempts to end their lives will now have to be transported to a hospital to receive medical care. Violations of the new law will be a felony, punishable by up to a year’s probation for a first-time offender.
Two-thirds of the legislative majority voted to quash Kelly’s veto. The Kansas House voted 87-37, and the Kansas Senate voted 31-9.
A survey recently conducted by Heart+Mind Strategies for Kansans for Life shows 96% of Kansans support protection for babies born alive following an abortion.
“We thank the leaders in the Kansas House and Senate who are leading the way in protecting babies born alive following an abortion,” Carol Tobias, president of National Right to Life said in a statement. “We praise our affiliate Kansans for Life for their tireless and unceasing work in seeing this law passed.”
Pro-life advocates argued the new law is a commonsense measure that protects newborns and recognizes the human lives of abortion survivors.
“We do have a culture of death,” said Republican state Rep. Ron Bryce, a southeastern Kansas physician. “The value of life is of the utmost importance.”
Jeanne Gawdun, who lobbies for Kansans for Life, the state’s most influential pro-life organization, said lawmakers “stood together for compassion and basic human decency.”
But abortion supporters say the law is designed to sow fear so that doctors won’t want to perform abortions and women will be afraid to seek them.
“The words in these laws do not have any kind of real meaning,” said Elisabeth Smith, state policy and advocacy director for the Center for Reproductive Rights. “Doctors and hospitals and clinics that are trying to interpret them don’t know what they mean and they don’t know how a prosecutor or a district attorney will be reading those laws.”
The Kansas law is similar to laws in at least 18 other states requiring that such newborns go to a hospital while also imposing criminal penalties for doctors who don’t provide the same care that would typically be offered for other live births. In Montana, voters rejected a proposed “born alive” law in November 2022.
The new Kansas law includes a requirement for medical providers to file annual reports with the state health department on infants “born alive” during abortion attempts. Like most states, Kansas doesn’t collect such statistics.
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in June 2022 that the U.S. Constitution allows states to restrict abortions. A statewide vote affirmed abortion access in The Sunflower State in August of 2022, but Kansas bans most abortions at the 22nd week of the preborn person’s development.