Democratic Governors Are Stopping Dangerous Abortion Restrictions

Heading into the 2018 midterms, the landscape for abortion rights in the U.S. looked extremely dire. But a series of somewhat unexpected wins in the governors’ races helped reverse what could have made a bad situation even worse when it came to accessing a termination.

Now those Democratic governors are coming through with vetoes on some of the new legislation proposed by their far-right legislatures, stopping even more abortion restrictions in their tracks.

Kansas Democratic Governor Laura Kelly is facing the wrath of an angry anti-choice majority in the statehouse for her recent veto of a bill that would require all abortion providers to tell patients that a medication abortion is reversible and supply them with contact information for anti-abortion groups that will supposedly perform a “reversal” of the procedure.

In a statement accompanying her veto, Kelly said:

This unwarranted legislation will create confusion and could be harmful to women’s health. The practice of medicine should be left to licensed health professionals, not elected officials.

Although the legislature attempted to overturn her veto, the override failed by one vote.

Medication abortion reversal is an unproven practice at this point — and now that a doctor has offered to take on the task of doing a scientifically sound study to test its effectiveness, opponents are fighting against the project, claiming it would be inconclusive. Despite the lack of verified effectiveness, anti-abortion activists continue to demand that the process be codified in state law, leaving progressive governors as the last hope of striking them down.

While Kelly is stopping abortion bills in Kansas, Democratic Governor Tony Evers is doing the same in Wisconsin. Evers announced last week that he plans to veto a bill that would add even more punishment to any medical provider who refuses to conduct life support procedures on a fetus should it be delivered alive during second or third trimester abortion.

According to the Associated Press, in an interview with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Evers said:

We have all sorts of issues to deal with in the state of Wisconsin and to pass a bill that is redundant seems to be not a productive use of time. And clearly I ran on the belief — and I still believe — that women should be able to make choices about their health care. But this deals with a specific issue that’s already been resolved.

There’s little doubt that had Republican Governor Scott Walker managed to win another term in office, the bill would have been signed into law. While Walker was governor of Wisconsin, he signed legislation that helped close multiple reproductive health clinics by cutting them off from state funding for low-income patients needing breast exams and other sexual health care. He also signed a bill that briefly made medication abortion inaccessible for the entire state, in addition to signing a 20 week post-conception “fetal pain” ban and a TRAP bill that would have closed the only independent abortion clinic in the state — and the one that served patients the latest in gestation.

Like Wisconsin and Kansas, North Carolina’s new democratic governor is also striking down legislation, and he’s even inspiring “pro-life” Democrats to reverse course, too. Governor Roy Cooper — like Evers — is vetoing a state “born alive” abortion bill that mandates care for hypothetical fetuses that “survive” an abortion attempt.

CNN reports:

In a letter announcing his veto, Cooper, a Democrat, wrote that laws “already protect newborn babies, and this bill is an unnecessary interference between doctors and their parents.”

“This needless legislation would criminalize doctors and other healthcare providers for a practice that simply does not exist,” Cooper wrote.

State Republicans announced their intention to override Cooper’s veto, but that may not be as easy as they think. To do so, the GOP needs Democrats who oppose abortion to stand with them — and at least one of those politicians, state Sen. Ben Clark, says he won’t do it.

According to the Fayetteville Observer, Clark announced:

I will vote to uphold Governor Cooper’s veto of the Born Alive Bill because as leader of the state, Governor Cooper speaks with constitutional authority that should be respected. As governor, he is in a strong position to negotiate for the enactment of laws that protect the lives of newborns and their mothers.

What Kansas, North Carolina and Wisconsin show us is just how much of an impact a Democratic governor can make when it comes to abortion access, even in some of the more conservative states in the nation. It’s a lesson that we absolutely must remember as we make our plans for the 2020 election cycle — and beyond.

Photo credit: Robin Marty

35 comments

pam w
pam w9 days ago

Kenny Wes..."using abortion as birth control should get you jail time." WHATTTT? Are you suggesting a woman might go into Planned Parenthood every month to have an abortion? Let me tell you something..contraceptives can (and DO) fail! We perform abortions on many women who thought they couldn't get pregnant because they had implants or used a patch, etc. Abortions are caused by one of three ''failures." 1. Contraceptives can/do fail us 2. Men can/do fail us. 3. We get pressured or carried away and fail ourselves. NONE of these is justification for blaming a woman, shaming a woman, enforcing pregnancy and lifetime motherhood on an unwilling woman!

SEND
Carole R
Carole R10 days ago

Thanks for the post.

SEND
Tabot T
Tabot T11 days ago

Thanks for sharing!

SEND
Sherry Kohn
Sherry Kohn11 days ago

Noted

SEND
hELEN hEARFIELD
hELEN hEARFIELD11 days ago

tyfs

SEND
Kenny Wes
Kenny Wes11 days ago

Republicans are not a governing party. If we could come up with a long term compromise on abortions and guns maybe we could get Republicans out of leadership positions so we could get this country on track. No one likes abortions and idiots outside of relationships that have sex just to feel good without doing something to prevent a possible abortion should be held accountable. You should still be able to get an abortion but using abortion as birth control should get you jail time. As far as guns, a ban on assault weapons and background checks for everyone, those are compromises I could live with, otherwise the division is never going to end and conservatives will keep wanting to be in government just to affect these two issues.

SEND
Danuta W
Danuta Watola11 days ago

Thanks for sharing.

SEND
Debbi W
Debbi W11 days ago

Good for those governors! I am so sick of the republicans trying to force their private belief on the rest of us. No one has the right to force their belief on others. The choice to have an abortion is a private choice for the woman. Abortions are NOT mandatory!!! What in the hell is their problem? They don't care about the babies once they are born, and refuse to vote for financial aid or SNAP for their families. So again, I ask, what is their problem????

SEND
Roslyn McBride
Roslyn McBride11 days ago

Noted.

SEND
Alea C
Alea C11 days ago

If a woman goes out of state to get an abortion she will go to prison for 30 years for murder, and anyone assisting her goes to prison for 10. So says the republican governor of Georgia.

SEND