By Deanna Ambrose
KU Statehouse Wire Service
TOPEKA — Doctors providing abortions in Kansas might be required to provide women with more information about their medical background
Currently, the name of the physician is the only information about the doctor that must be provided by clinics. The bill would require some information already available from the Kansas State Board of Healing Arts be added to abortion procedures.
SB98 would also require information about the provider’s clinical privileges at other hospitals, and show whether the provider resides in Kansas. The bill specified all additions to be written in black 12-point Times New Roman font in clinic paperwork.
Proponents of the bill included the Family Policy Alliance of Kansas, Kansans for Life, Sen. Molly Baumgardner (R-Louisburg), and two feminine health care providers. They testified Tuesday to the Senate Federal and State Affairs Committee.
Baumgardner said women don’t have direct access to information about their abortion provider from clinics, which is why she said she supports the bill.
Kansans for Life Legislative Director Kathy Ostrowski said opponents to the bill have no real reason to oppose it.
“[The proposed addition is] not harassment, it’s not a stigma, it’s not an undue burden and it’s eminently rational,” she said. . .“They just don’t want us invading their territory.”
Sen. Oletha Faust-Goudeau (D-Wichita), ranking minority leader of the committee, questioned the requirements of the bill, and made a similar comment about territory, citing her 13 years of experience in the state legislature.
“So this is kind of the nature of the beast. [Abortion] will come up over and over and over,” Faust-Goudeau said. “Again, it’s all about control.”
The bill could face potential legal issues. Trust Women Foundation Attorney Robert Eye opposed the bill, saying the Supreme Court had already ruled similar provisions unconstitutional in 2016 on a Texas case, Texas v. Hellerstedt.
The Court ruled that abortion legislation introducing any restrictions or requirements without a medical basis are unconstitutional. He said the addition could be legal if the proponents of the bill could point to a health benefit provided from the additions.
“The burden is on them, those who are supporting more restrictions, more red tape,” Eye said.
Faust-Goudeau said she wanted what is in the best interest of women who want and need abortions.
“And then I want us to do what’s legally fair and respectful to physicians that would be required to provide this information to a woman,” Faust-Goudeau said.
Currently, no medical providers in any specialty are required to disclose the information being discussed in SB98.
Planned Parenthood, the American Civil Liberties Union of Kansas and two feminine health care providers from Kansas also opposed the bill.
No action was taken on the bill.
Deanna Ambrose is a senior journalism major at the University of Kansas from Frankfort.