In 2013, Kansas passed a law containing more than a dozen harmful measures, including redefining what constituted a medical emergency in a way that would have required many pregnant women in life-threatening situations to wait at least 24 hours before obtaining emergency abortion care. The law also would have forced doctors to vouch for the accuracy of medically inaccurate information against their better judgment. In response to the Center’s lawsuit, in April 2014 the Governor of Kansas signed a bill into law that repealed portions of these two provisions.
The other harmful measures contained in the law are still in effect, however, and continue to impede women’s right to abortion. The law forces doctors to provide medically inaccurate information to their patients seeking an abortion and imposes discriminatory tax penalties on patients, providers, and others who facilitate access to abortion services. It requires abortion providers to hang massive signs in their offices, effectively turning their office walls into billboards for the government’s message, denies abortion providers protection against discrimination by state agencies that is afforded to other health care providers, prohibits University of Kansas Medical School faculty members from teaching medical students and residents how to perform abortions, and eliminates coverage of medically-necessary abortion services from public health insurance plans. The law even goes so far as to ban abortion providers from volunteering at their children’s schools.
Plaintiff(s): Hodes &, Nauser, MDs, P.A., Herbert Hodes, M.D. and Traci Nauser, M.D.
Center Attorney(s): Genevieve Scott
Co-Counsel/Cooperating Attorneys: Teresa Woody, of The Woody Law Firm PC, LJ Leatherman, of Palmer, Leatherman, White &, Dalton, LLP
Summary: The Center for Reproductive Rights challenged the law in state court on behalf of two physicians and their patients, arguing among other things that the Kansas Constitution protects a woman’s right to terminate her pregnancy, and that the law places women’s lives in jeopardy by eliminating any meaningful medical emergency exception from the restrictions on access to abortion imposed by Kansas law.