Kansas legislators pass a bill to require providers to ask patients why they want abortions

TOPEKA — Republican legislators gave final approval Tuesday to a bill that would require Kansas abortion providers to ask their patients why they want to terminate their pregnancies and then report the answers to the state.

The Senate approved the bill 27-13 after the House approved it earlier this month, sending the measure to Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly. She is a strong abortion rights supporter and is expected to veto the bill, but the bill’s supporters appear to have exactly the two-thirds majorities in both chambers they would need to override a veto.

At least eight states require similar reporting, but none of them has had a statewide vote on abortion rights as Kansas did in August 2022. In the first state ballot question on abortion after the U.S. Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision, voters decisively protected abortion rights under the state constitution.

Democrats are frustrated because Republicans and anti-abortion groups have pursued new rules for abortion providers despite the 2022 vote. But supporters of the reporting bill say it would give the state better data that would help legislators make policy decisions.

The bill would require providers to ask patients 11 questions about their reasons for terminating a pregnancy, including that they can’t afford another child, raising a child would hinder their education or careers, or a spouse or partner wanted them to have an abortion. They would not be required to answer, however.

The bill also would require providers to report each patient’s age, marital status, race and education level, while using a “confidential code” for each patient so that they wouldn’t be identified to the state. The state would be barred for at least five years from identifying the abortion providers in the data it publishes.


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