Politics & Government

Brownback signs abortion measure that sets font, info requirements

Gov. Sam Brownback signs a bill into law Wednesday that requires additional information to be provided to women considering an abortion and sets font and type size requirements for the information.
Gov. Sam Brownback signs a bill into law Wednesday that requires additional information to be provided to women considering an abortion and sets font and type size requirements for the information. The Wichita Eagle

Abortion providers will be required to provide additional information — in 12-point, Times New Roman font — to women considering the procedure under a bill signed into law by Gov. Sam Brownback on Wednesday.

Brownback said Kansas leads the country in the “pro-life movement” and Senate Bill 83 is a continuation of that.

“The dignity of life and the inherent right to life is shared by all people, both born and unborn,” he said. “The complexities surrounding countless crisis pregnancies are many and varied. Too often, women are led to believe that abortion is their only option when it clearly, clearly is not.”

The bill would require that women seeking an abortion receive information about when physicians received their medical degrees, when they started working at a clinic, whether they have malpractice insurance, whether they have faced disciplinary action, whether they have clinical privileges in a nearby hospital and whether they live in Kansas.

The bill specifies that the information is to be printed in black ink in 12-point, Times New Roman font on white paper.

The Senate passed the bill 25-15 after the House passed it 84-38.

Supporters and opponents of the bill split over whether the requirements are necessary. Those who back the measure said the bill would provide women with more information in a clearer manner. Opponents said the legislation won’t benefit women’s health.

“This is simply transparency in the process,” said Kathy Ostrowski, legislative director of Kansans for Life.

Trust Women, which operates a clinic in Wichita, said the bill was another way to stigmatize abortion and target physicians.

“As with other anti-choice legislation, the real purpose of this bill is to create more bureaucratic red tape for clinics,” said Julie Burkhart, the organization’s founder and CEO.

Planned Parenthood has not ruled out litigation against SB 83. In March, a spokeswoman said the organization was keeping its options open.

Lawsuits have targeted other abortion-related legislation passed by Kansas lawmakers in recent years. The Kansas Supreme Court heard arguments in March over a 2015 law that prohibits a type of second-trimester abortion.

Jonathan Shorman: 785-296-3006, @jonshorman

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