The Kansas Department of Health and the Environment released a report Friday showing an increase in abortions performed in Kansas in 2020 over 2019.
In early spring 2020, opportunistic anti-abortion activists and politicians used a global health crisis to restrict access to abortion in several states, including Texas, Ohio, Iowa, Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Alabama. We even saw groups in Kansas attempt to ban abortion at the county level.
Kansas is not the only state to see an increase in out-of-state patients during the COVID-19 pandemic. States like Iowa and Colorado also experienced increases in out-of-state patients seeking access to abortion while those bans were in effect.
Abortion is part of the full spectrum of reproductive health care, and it should be treated as the normal and common experience that it is. Nearly one in four women in America will have an abortion at some point in her life.
A delay of only a few weeks can make abortion completely inaccessible. So can additional barriers, such as forcing people to drive out of state for hundreds of miles to find a health center still open while trying to arrange time off work, places to stay, and childcare — all during a pandemic.
Statement from Rachel Sweet, Regional Director of Public Policy for Planned Parenthood Great Plains Votes:
“Abortion is time-sensitive, essential health care. No one stops needing sexual and reproductive health care, even in a public health crisis. People still need birth control, STI testing and treatment, and safe, legal abortion. The last year has shown us that people will go to great lengths to access abortion when they need it, even if it means navigating medically unnecessary, politically motivated obstacles in the midst of a pandemic.”
“We've seen state legislatures across the country pass countless laws that make abortion care inaccessible or ban it entirely. We cannot let this happen in Kansas. Decisions about whether to end a pregnancy are deeply personal and should be left to a woman in consultation with her health care provider — not politicians. The majority of Kansans support access to safe, legal abortion, and this constitutional amendment is out of step with our values. With the future of Roe v. Wade in serious jeopardy, it's more important than ever that we protect our state constitution and ensure that abortion remains safe and legal in Kansas.”