UNITED STATES NEWS

Abortion providers sue Kansas over new medication rule, longstanding waiting period

Jun 6, 2023, 12:45 PM | Updated: 12:56 pm

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Abortion providers sued Kansas on Tuesday, challenging a new law requiring them to tell patients that an abortion medication can be stopped but also existing restrictions that include a decades-old requirement that patients wait 24 hours to terminate their pregnancies.

The lawsuit filed in state district court in Shawnee County, home to the state capital of Topeka, argues that Kansas has created a “Biased Counseling Scheme” designed to discourage patients from getting abortions and to stigmatize patients who terminate their pregnancies. The lawsuit contends that the requirements have become “increasingly absurd and invasive” over time and spread medical misinformation.

Kansas voters in August 2022 a state Supreme Court decision three years earlier that declared access to abortion a matter of bodily autonomy and a fundamental right under the state constitution. The providers hope the state courts will invalidate the entire state law that spells out what they must tell patients — in writing — and when, with a single, specific style of type mandate for the forms.

Emily Wales, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Great Plains, one of the providers filing the lawsuit, said the Republican-controlled Legislature’s approval of the new abortion medication law caused providers to look at the broader law and restrictions they have always found problematic. Under the new law, set to take effect July 1, providers would be required to tell patients about a regime for stopping medication abortions that major medical groups consider ineffective and potentially dangerous.

“We thought about the fact that the voters were very clear in the fact that they want providers able to speak directly and honestly to their patients,” Wales said in an interview. “This addition would really harm patients potentially, so we felt compelled to do something.”

Last year’s vote and the 2019 state Supreme Court decision mean that Kansas lawmakers cannot greatly restrict or ban abortion, in sharp contrast to other states with Republican-controlled Legislatures following enacted over the veto of Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly, an abortion rights supporter.

The medication abortion-reversal regime, touted for more than a decade by abortion opponents, uses doses of a hormone, progesterone, commonly used in attempts to prevent miscarriages. Supporters of the new law — and Kansas’ entire Right to Know Act — argue that they are making sure that patients have the information they need to make informed decisions about ending their pregnancies.

Anti-abortion groups and lawmakers also are likely to be upset about the lawsuit because of the campaign leading up to the August 2022 vote. The measure on the ballot was a proposed amendment to the state constitution that would have declared that it does not grant a right to abortion. Abortion opponents pitched it as a way to preserve reasonable restrictions. But as written, the Legislature would have gained the power to ban abortion — and that point was emphasized by abortion rights supporters.

Abortion foes warned repeatedly that without a change in the state constitution, the state risked having even longstanding restrictions reversed. Parts of the law being challenged — including the 24-hour waiting period — were enacted in 1997.

“With today’s lawsuit, the profit-driven abortion industry has launched an unprecedented attack on a woman’s right to informed consent before an abortion is performed on her,” Danielle Underwood, spokesperson for Kansans for Life, the state’s most influential anti-abortion group, said in a statement.

Underwood added that with the attack on the waiting period, “they’re aggressively working to speed up the decision-making process, seemingly forcing women into abortion without discussion of alternatives.”

The lawsuit was filed by the Planned Parenthood affiliate, which operates two clinics in the Kansas City area and one in Wichita; another center offering abortion services in the Kansas City area; its owner and another doctor working there. The defendants are state Attorney General Kris Kobach, a Republican who has vowed to defend state abortion laws; district attorneys in the Kansas City and Wichita areas who would enforce the restrictions; and the top staffer and chairman of the state medical board.

However a district court judge rules, the case is likely eventually to go to the Kansas Supreme Court. The seven justices already are reviewing a ban enacted in 2015 on the most common second-trimester abortion procedure and a 2011 law setting special health and safety regulations for abortion providers. Neither has been enforced.

____

Follow John Hanna on Twitter: https://twitter.com/apjdhanna

United States News

Associated Press

Millions sweating it out as heat wave nears peak from Midwest to Maine

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — A heat wave extending from the Midwest to New England moved closer to a breaking point Thursday, with millions of people sweating it out for another day. The National Weather Service said the heat wave was expected to peak in the eastern Great Lakes and New England on Thursday, and in […]

10 minutes ago

Associated Press

580,000 glass coffee mugs recalled because they can break when filled with hot liquid

NEW YORK (AP) — Some 580,000 glass coffee mugs are being recalled across the U.S. after dozens of burn and laceration injuries were reported by consumers. According to a Thursday notice from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, the now-recalled JoyJolt-branded “Declan Single Wall Glass Coffee Mugs” can crack or break when filled with hot […]

32 minutes ago

Associated Press

So long plastic air pillows: Amazon shifting to recycled paper filling for packages in North America

Amazon is shifting from the plastic air pillows used for packaging in North America to recycled paper because it’s more environmentally sound, and it says paper just works better. The company said Thursday that it’s already replaced 95% of the plastic air pillows with paper filler in North America and is working toward complete removal […]

4 hours ago

Associated Press

Several people shot at Oakland Juneteenth celebration, police say

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — A Juneteenth celebration in Oakland, California, turned violent when several people were shot, police said. The Lake Merritt event on Wednesday night was largely peaceful, with as many as 5,000 in attendance, until a sideshow involving “motorbikes and vehicles” took place around 8:15 p.m. on the north side of the lake, […]

6 hours ago

Palestinians displaced by the Israeli air and ground offensive on the Gaza Strip walk through a mak...

Associated Press

Rifts seem to appear between Israel’s political and military leadership over conduct of the Gaza war

In a rare public rift between the country’s leadership, an Israeli army spokesman appeared to question the goal of destroying Hamas.

14 hours ago

Associated Press

Probe finds carelessness caused Jewish student group’s omission from New Jersey high school yearbook

An investigation into how and why a Jewish student group was erased from a New Jersey high school yearbook found the omission was caused by negligence and carelessness, but was not done on purpose or out of malice, the school district announced Wednesday. East Brunswick Public Schools hired a law firm to investigate after the […]

15 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Sanderson Ford

3 new rides for 3 new road trips in Arizona

It's time for the Sanderson Ford Memorial Day sale with the Mighty Fine 69 Anniversary, as Sanderson Ford turned 69 years old in May.

...

Collins Comfort Masters

Here’s how to be worry-free when your A/C goes out in the middle of summer

PHOENIX -- As Arizona approaches another hot summer, Phoenix residents are likely to spend more time indoors.

...

Midwestern University

Midwestern University Clinics: transforming health care in the valley

Midwestern University, long a fixture of comprehensive health care education in the West Valley, is also a recognized leader in community health care.

Abortion providers sue Kansas over new medication rule, longstanding waiting period