With passage of a bill in the Republican-controlled state Senate on Tuesday, Kansas is now one step closer to making the size and font of a mandated physician's disclosure form the basis for denying or delaying a women's right to an abortion.
The measure, which passed the Kansas House last week and is now headed for the desk of Republican Gov. Sam Brownback, stipulates that patients seeking abortion care must be given a signed disclosure form that details the administering physician's work history. The form must be given to the patient 24 hours prior to any procedure and it must be provided, according to the strict wording of the proposed law, "on white paper, in a printed format, in black ink, and in 12-point Times New Roman font."
The Senate passed the measure 25-15, largely along party lines.
While Republican State Sen. Mary Pilcher-Cook argued the law was necessary because "abortion is ugly and evil" and that women seeking them are often "acting under coercion or ignorance," Democratic lawmakers and reproductive rights advocates who oppose the law said it just the latest attempt by right-wing lawmakers to impose their religious views on the state's female population by making access to abortion even harder than it already is.
"This bill is simply harassment," said Sen. Lynn Rogers, a Democrat from Wichita, whose said the law was directed at intimidating the few abortion providers that remain in the state. Women's health advocates, reports the Kansas City Star, worry that if they print the form out at home using the wrong color paper or ink they could have to reschedule their appointments.
Kansas—which according to the Associated Press now has only "has fewer than 10 physicians performing abortions for three providers"—has been at the forefront of states pushing increasingly restrictive abortion laws in recent years.
Earlier this month, the Guttmacher Institute, which provides research and analysis on women's health and reproductive care, released a study showing that state governments in the U.S. are increasingly passing abortion restrictions that "lack a foundation in rigorous scientific evidence." Of the many states surveyed, Kansas was tied for first with Texas for using dubious scientific claims as the basis for restricting women's access and care.