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Pro-Lifers Have a Victory in Kansas After All

AP Photo/Patrick Semansky

Much was made out of the failure of a pro-life amendment in Kansas last August, and even conservatives like Ann Coulter have warned about the failure of many other pro-life initiatives that have been on the state ballots. With a Democratic governor in office, Laura Kelly, it appeared as if other pro-lifers would experience more heartbreak when she vetoed a born-alive protection act a few weeks ago, among other pro-life bills. Last week, however, the state legislature overrode her veto, overwhelmingly. 


In order to override a veto, two-thirds of legislators must vote to do so. Liberty Counsel highlighted the pro-life victory in a press release, noting that the House voted 87-37, and the Senate voted 31-9. The Born-Alive Infants Protection Act will thus go into effect on July 1.

As the press release explains, the "bill requires emergency care by any 'health care provider present' for infants born alive after a failed abortion. The bill requires medical providers to treat babies born alive after a failed abortion with the same level of care as they would any other newborn of the same gestational age."

The bill also requires an annual report to be submitted to the Secretary of Health and Environment. States are not required to report their abortion statistics, and few report abortions resulting in live births, so it is not entirely known how many babies are born alive from abortions. Reports from just seven states found that 34 babies were born alive between 2020 and 2022 from abortion attempts, as summarized by The Centers for Disease Control also found that 143 babies were born alive from abortion attempts in eight states between 2003 and 2014. 

Testimony from nurses also speaks to babies born alive, with some being left to die from exposure, and even some being killed after birth

Such testimony flies in the face of criticism from the pro-abortion American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologist, which claimed that the concept of babies being born from a failed abortion and then left to die is a "fabricated political concept."


In vetoing the bill, the governor had similarly claimed that "This bill is misleading and unnecessary." She also noted that "Federal law already protects newborns, and the procedure being described in this bill does not exist in Kansas in the era of modern medicine" and claimed that "The intent of this bill is to interfere in medical decisions that should remain between doctors and their patients."

Kelly was referring to the Born Alive Infants Protection Act, signed into law in 2002, which is mostly symbolic, since it lacks enforcement. 

The editorial board of Kansas City put forth sensationalized opposition to the bill after the legislature overrode the veto, with their editorial, "Kansas 'born-alive' abortion bill is unnecessary. But that doesn’t mean it’s harmless." 

In it, the editors equated abortion with protecting babies born alive from failed abortions by claiming "what lawmakers have done--in clear opposition to the will of Kansans, as expressed in last year’s landslide vote to preserve abortion rights in the Kansas Constitution--is pass a law that will subject abortion providers in Kansas to additional criminal penalties if they do not provide care to infants 'born alive' in an abortion."

"And though we do see this new Kansas law as unnecessary, that doesn’t mean there’s no harm in it, as women could be forced to endure and doctors forced to perform lifesaving measures in cases of severe malformation and incompatibility with life," the editorial closes with. 


Such bills have been popping up around the country, with virtually all Democratic governors vetoing the legislation when it comes across their desks. Gov. Andy Beshear (D-KY) allowed such a bill to become law without his signature. Legislation at the federal level has passed the House, but has failed to pass the Senate

Republicans have supermajorities in the Kansas legislature, certainly making for an interesting situation with Kelly having vetoed a record of 15 bills sent to her desk. 


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