Along with Texas, Kansas leads the nation when it comes to imposing abortion restrictions not supported by scientific evidence, according to a report by a leading abortion rights organization.
The Guttmacher Institute looks at 10 categories of abortion restrictions it says are not grounded in science. The analysis finds that Kansas and Texas have enacted laws in all 10 – although courts have blocked the restrictions in two of those categories: requirements that abortion clinics meet the standards for ambulatory surgical centers and that doctors have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals.
Kansas laws also include requirements for counseling and waiting periods, and disclosures about when fetuses can feel pain.
“The antiabortion movement has long been an evidence-free zone and many of its signature initiatives and proposals are devoid of any factual foundation,” study co-author Elizabeth Nash says in a news release about the study. “Worse still, these unfounded abortion restrictions often have serious consequences for women, including potentially delaying the procedure and increasing costs.”
Supporters of the restrictions say they promote women’s health and safety.
In a blog post, Kansans for Life, the largest anti-abortion group in the state, says there is nothing newsworthy about the Guttmacher study.
“The one truly irrefutable scientific fact in the abortion debate is the humanity of the unborn child; if they come up with a scientific report proving that wrong, we’re all ears,” Mary Kay Culp, Kansans for Life’s executive director, is quoted as saying.
The Guttmacher study also names Missouri, with restrictions in six of the categories, as among the states with the most restrictions not supported by rigorous scientific evidence.
A bill under consideration by the Kansas Legislature would impose additional disclosure requirements for abortion providers. In March, the House passed legislation stipulating that information provided to women considering an abortion must be printed in black ink and in 12-point Times New Roman font.
Meanwhile, the Kansas Supreme Court is considering whether the Kansas Constitution provides a right to abortion. In January 2016, the Kansas Court of Appeals found that it does and blocked a state law banning the common second-trimester abortion method known as dilation and evacuation.
Dan Margolies is KCUR’s health editor. You can reach him on Twitter @DanMargolies.