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Kansas Governor Vetoes Ban on Gender Care for Minors and 2 Anti-abortion Bills

Friday, 12 April 2024 08:45 PM EDT

Kansas' governor on Friday vetoed a proposed ban on gender care for minors, a measure to require more reporting from abortion providers and what she called a "vague" bill making it a crime to coerce someone into having an abortion.

Democrat Gov. Laura Kelly's actions set up a series of confrontations with the Republican-supermajority Legislature over those issues. The measures appeared to have the two-thirds majorities needed in both chambers to override vetoes, but GOP leaders' success depends on how many lawmakers are absent on a given day, especially in the House.

The two-term governor, who is term-limited, is a strong supporter of abortion and LGBTQ+ rights. Republicans control the Legislature, and they've joined other GOP lawmakers across the U.S. in rolling back transgender rights.

But Kansas has been an outlier on abortion among states with Republican legislatures because the Kansas Supreme Court declared in 2019 that the state constitution protects abortion rights, and a statewide vote in August 2022 decisively affirmed that position.

"Voters do not want politicians getting between doctors and their patient by interfering in private medical decisions," Kelly wrote in her veto message on the abortion reporting bill.

Kelly did allow one GOP proposal on a social issue highlighted by Republicans across the U.S. to become law without her signature. Starting July 1, pornography websites must verify that Kansas visitors are adults. Kansas will follow Texas and a handful of other states despite some concerns about privacy and how broadly the law could be applied.

In rejecting an attempt to have Kansas join at least 24 other states in banning or restricting gender care for minors, Kelly argued that a ban "tramples parental rights" and targets "a small group."

"If the Legislature paid this much attention to the other 99.8% of students, we'd have the best schools on earth," she wrote.

The Kansas bill against gender care would bar surgery, hormone treatments, and puberty blockers, limiting care for minors to therapy.

"Hopefully, this will be the end of that, at least this year, and they don't decide to waste anyone's time anymore," Jenna Bellemere, a transgender University of Kansas student, said after learning of the veto.

The bill also would require that the state revoke the licenses of any doctors violating the ban and bar recipients of state funds for treating children or state employees who work with children from advocating gender care for them. It would ban the use of state dollars and property on such care, which restricts the University of Kansas Medical Center in Kansas City, Kansas.

Supporters of the bill argue the ban will protect children from experimental, possibly dangerous and potentially permanent treatments. They have cited the recent decision of the National Health Service in England to no longer routinely cover such treatments. Senate President Ty Masterson, a Wichita-area Republican, said of Kelly, "The radical left controls her veto pen."

"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," said Kansas House Speaker Dan Hawkins, a Wichita Republican.

But U.S. states' bans go against the recommendations of major American health care groups, including the American Medical Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics. Also, many medical professionals say providing such care makes transgender children less prone to depression or suicidal thoughts.

Copyright 2024 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.


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Kansas' governor on Friday vetoed a proposed ban on gender care for minors, a measure to require more reporting from abortion providers and what she called a "vague" bill making it a crime to coerce someone into having an abortion.
transgender, care, minors, abortion, pornography, kansas, bill, parental rights
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Friday, 12 April 2024 08:45 PM
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