The Kansas House is considering HB 2598, a 69-page, extreme anti-abortion bill that would force doctors to warn women that abortions cause breast cancer — even though scientific studies have disputed the claim — define a fetus as a human being, and require women to hear the fetal heartbeat prior to undergoing an abortion. In February, before a House committee approved the bill, a Planned Parenthood of Kansas official described it as “the largest and most sweeping overhaul we’ve seen to date.”
But in a state where the attorney general has already spent more than half a million dollars defending an anti-abortion law that severely limits the availability of insurance coverage for abortions, this bill is just one more harmful restriction on abortion services that state lawmakers have added:
— EXPANDED ‘CONSCIENCE MEASURE: Earlier this week, the state Senate aproved a bill that offers additional legal protection to Kansas health care providers who refuse to participate in abortions. The House had already approved the measure, and it is likely that Gov. Sam Brownback (R) will sign it. But critics of the bill worry the “conscience” measure goes too far, and that it would allow pharmacists to refuse to dispense birth control “allow a doctor to refuse to provide chemotherapy to a pregnant cancer patient because it might end her pregnancy,” according to the Associated Press.
— PREVENTING LICENSES FOR PROVIDERS: Last year, the legislature approved licensing regulations that specifically targeted the state’s three abortion providers, potentially making Kansas the first state where a woman could not access abortion services. But when a judge temporarily blocked the regulations from going into effect, Brownback’s administration planned to enact the exact same regulations to skirt around the court’s ruling.
— DEFUNDING PLANNED PARENTHOOD: Lawmakers signed off on a law last year to ban Planned Parenthood clinics in Kansas from receiving federal funds, endangering health care for at least 5,700 patients. A judge blocked the law from going into effect, but the state has spent hundreds of thousands continuing to defend the law.
And each of these overreaching regulations are in addition to other measures, like preventing abortions after 20 weeks and requiring women to wait 24 hours before an abortion procedure. By limiting women’s access to abortion services — and potentially other forms of care — Kansas is is denying women choice and undermining their health.