Kansas could soon require doctors to ask patients why they want abortions and report the answers

(John Hanna/Associated Press)

Kansas could soon require doctors to ask patients why they want abortions and report the answers



March 7, 2024

Kansas would require abortion providers to ask patients why they are terminating their pregnancies and report the answers to the state under a measure moving through the Republican-controlled Legislature. Frustrated Democrats are strongly suggesting a similar rule for vasectomies and erectile dysfunction.

The state House planned to hold a final vote Thursday. The bill would require providers to ask patients 11 questions about their reasons for terminating a pregnancy, including that they cannot afford another child, that raising a child would interfere with their education or career, or that a spouse or partner wanted her to have an abortion. At least seven states require similar reporting.

Supporters of the bill argued during a House debate Wednesday that the state needs data so lawmakers can create programs to address their concerns. Opponents saw an attempt to harass abortion providers, shame patients and stigmatize abortion.

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Approval in the House would send the measure to the Senate. Both chambers have large anti-abortion majorities, and last year Republicans overrode Democratic vetoes of other restrictions on providers. Laura Kelly, a strong supporter of abortion rights.

Democrats are frustrated that Republicans and anti-abortion groups have pursued new rules for abortion providers and aid to anti-abortion counseling centers, despite a decisive statewide vote in August 2022 to protect abortion rights under the state constitution.

Frankly, I don’t understand it, you know, because I think Kansans have made it very, very clear how they want Kansas to operate in this arena, Kelly said during a brief interview with the Associated Press. Why would an elected official facing an election in November go against the wishes of his constituents?

Unable to prevent the bill from passing and possibly becoming law. Democrats, especially female lawmakers, attacked what they saw as an unfair situation of requiring women to ask detailed questions about their motives for seeking health care, while men would not. Democrats start vasectomies.

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Then, Kansas City Democratic Rep. Stephanie Sawyer Clayton called erectile dysfunction a plague that was lowering the state’s birth rate. She proposed requiring doctors to ask male patients whether they wanted the treatment because their husband wanted it, or because it caused the man stress or embarrassment.

If we ask one group humiliating questions when they receive legal health care, then all groups should be subjected to humiliating questions when they receive legal health care, she said. Or we can vote against this bill.

Republicans argued that doctors often ask patients questions when they seek care, including about their mental health and whether they have guns in their home.

This is about abortion reporting. It has nothing to do with male body parts, said House Health Committee Chairman Brenda Landwehr, a Republican from Wichita.

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In Kansas, a doctor who performs an abortion must already report the patient’s age and ethnicity, whether the person was married and the method used to end a pregnancy.

The state allows abortions for virtually any reason until the 22nd week of pregnancy, and that would not change under the bill.

States that require doctors to report the reasons for an abortion include Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Louisiana, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Dakota and Utah. Minnesota’s Democratic-controlled Legislature repealed its similar reporting requirement last year.

The law in Oklahoma, where most abortions are banned, includes a list of more than 30 questions a provider must ask a patient about her motives. Possible reasons include relationship problems and not feeling mature enough to raise a child.

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“Everyone on both sides of this issue should agree on the need for better reporting,” said Tessa Longbons Cox, senior research associate at the anti-abortion Charlotte Lozier Institute.

But none of the other states have such a reporting law

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There was a statewide vote on protecting abortion rights, as Kansas has done. In pursuing anti-abortion measures, Republican lawmakers have said their new rules do not go against voters’ wishes to maintain some access to abortion.

This bill has nothing to do with banning abortion in Kansas, does not ban it and does not address it at all, Landwehr said. I respected that voice.”

John Hanna writes for the Associated Press. AP writer Steve Karnowski contributed to this report.


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