Kansas' governor vetoes a bill for extending child support to fetuses

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Kansas governor vetoes bill extending child support to fetuses, sparking debate on reproductive rights and legal boundaries.

Kansas Governor Vetoes Bill Extending Child Support to Fetuses

 

Kansas' governor vetoes a bill for extending child support to fetuses

TOPEKA, Kan.  — Kansas’ Democratic governor, Laura Kelly, vetoed a bill on Friday aimed at extending child support payments to cover fetuses, a move criticized by opponents as potentially granting fetuses the same legal rights as pregnant women.

 

The bill, similar to legislation enacted in Georgia and introduced in several other states, was rejected by Governor Kelly, who argued that it represented a concerning intrusion into women's medical decisions. Supporters in the Republican-controlled Kansas Legislature asserted that the measure sought to ensure that expenses related to pregnancy and childbirth are adequately covered.

 

However, Governor Kelly, a staunch advocate for abortion rights, denounced the bill as “a blatant attempt” by “extreme” lawmakers to exert control over women and families’ private medical choices. She emphasized that the measure contradicted the desires of Kansas voters, who reaffirmed abortion rights in August 2022, following a Kansas Supreme Court ruling that safeguarded access to abortion as part of a “fundamental” right to bodily autonomy.

 

“Kansans have already made it abundantly clear that they do not want legislators interfering in personal matters,” Kelly stated. “It is imperative that we heed their voices.”

 

The Kansas Legislature, long dominated by supermajorities opposed to abortion, overrode Kelly’s vetoes of four other anti-abortion measures earlier this year.

 

“Now she won’t allow women to have the potential for additional child support,” remarked Jeanne Gawdun, a lobbyist for Kansans for Life, the state’s preeminent anti-abortion organization. “This will not deter those of us who genuinely empathize with women facing difficult circumstances.”

 

Although lawmakers cannot reconsider overriding the latest veto since they adjourned their annual session on May 1, they could propose a modified version during a special session called by Kelly to address tax reduction.

 

Under the provisions of the vetoed bill, judges would have been required to take into account the “direct medical and pregnancy-related expenses” of the mother, dating back to conception, when determining the child support payments owed by either parent.

 

The vetoed bill raised concerns among abortion rights advocates nationwide, particularly following a ruling by the Alabama Supreme Court in February that classified frozen embryos as children under state law.

 

Despite the veto, supporters of the bill pointed out that Kansas has historically afforded legal protections to fetuses. Since 2007, Kansas has had legislation in place allowing individuals to face separate charges for offenses against fetuses, including assault, manslaughter, and even capital murder. Additionally, a 2013 state law acknowledges that “unborn children have interests in life, health, and well-being,” although it does not serve as a restriction on abortion.


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CRN News Update - Latest Breaking News: Kansas' governor vetoes a bill for extending child support to fetuses
Kansas' governor vetoes a bill for extending child support to fetuses
Kansas governor vetoes bill extending child support to fetuses, sparking debate on reproductive rights and legal boundaries.
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