Kansas abortion providers seek to block law requiring them to report patients’ reasons

By Thomson Reuters May 21, 2024 | 4:01 PM

By Brendan Pierson

(Reuters) – Abortion providers in Kansas are asking a state court to block a new law requiring them to report patients’ reasons for getting abortions to state authorities.

In a motion filed late on Monday in Johnson County Civil Court, the providers said the law, passed by the state’s Republican legislature in April over the veto of its Democratic governor and set to take effect in July, would violate their right to free speech under the U.S. Constitution and their patients’ right to personal autonomy.

They are asking the court to let them add the claim to their earlier lawsuit over a law requiring doctors to tell patients that medication abortion can be reversed, a claim not supported by evidence. They won a preliminary order blocking that law in October.

“The decision to have an abortion is deeply personal – no one should be forced to tell the government why they are making that decision,” Alice Wang, an attorney at the Center for Reproductive Rights, which represents the doctors, said in a statement. “It’s frankly frightening that the state of Kansas is attempting to collect this type of private information, and unclear how it will be used.”

The office of Kansas Attorney General Kris Kobach did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Abortion is legal in Kansas up to 22 weeks, and in 2019, the state’s highest court ruled that the Kansas constitution protects the right to abortion. Kansas voters in August 2022 rejected a measure to remove abortion protections from the state constitution.

That vote came after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned its landmark Roe v. Wade precedent, which had established a right to abortion nationwide, allowing many Republican-led states to ban or restrict abortion.

(Reporting By Brendan Pierson in New York, Editing by Alexia Garamfalvi and Alistair Bell)