TX abortion laws spark debate in KS

TX abortion laws spark debate in KS

Annika Yoder, Reporter

On Sep.1, the state of Texas passed a new restriction on abortions. This new restriction does not allow women to get an abortion beyond six weeks of pregnancy. If you get an abortion in the state after those six weeks, there is the possibility of anyone suing you and getting a financial award of $10,000 if found successful.

Although this restriction was just passed, according to AP News, the justice department has already sued the state of Texas for it. A constitutional law states, “a state may not prohibit any woman from making the ultimate decision to terminate her pregnancy before viability,” but Texas has done just that. Last week, attorney general Merrick Garland said that the justice department would enforce a federal law known as the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act, which will open up access to abortion clinics and also prevent property damage at these clinics.

According to a recent University of Texas study, the new Texas law is set to decrease the number of abortions performed in the state by 85%. This restriction has pushed many women out of the state to surrounding states, where abortion is currently legal, although most have tight restrictions. New Mexico has had a huge rise in numbers in abortion appointments, as it is the least restrictive on abortion laws in Texas’ surrounding states.

Kansas abortion clinics have also seen a rise in patients over the last couple of weeks, even though states like Kansas and Oklahoma don’t have enough clinics to provide all the women coming from Texas access to abortions. In Kansas, abortions became legal in 1973 in the Roe v. Wade decision passed by the U.S. Supreme Court. Kansas is not a leading state in the number of abortions performed and there are still many restrictions in order.

According to the Guttmacher Institute, the following restrictions applied to Kansans as of Jan. 1, 2021; If a minor wants an abortion performed, parents must be aware and have given their consent. An abortion may be performed 20 weeks post-fertilization, only in the cases of life or death or for physical health reasons, otherwise, if one wishes to get an abortion, it should be performed before this point. Health plans and private insurance will only cover abortions in the case of life endangerment. 

Earlier this year, the Kansas Senate approved a vote on abortions Kansans will, if they choose to, partake in 2022. According to the Washington Post, if approved by Kansans, the law will amend the current Kansas constitution and state that there is no right to abortions. The power to regulate abortions would be left up to the legislature, which has tightened abortion restrictions in recent years.

With Kansas being a Republican state with the majority of elected state legislatures Republican as well, Kansas has many supporters for this law. However, Kansas Democrat Governor Laura Kelly, an advocate for abortion rights, has been against the proposed law from the start. Kelly said last year that this law would return the state back to “the Dark Ages.”