TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Abortion opponents marked the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade on Tuesday with workshops, prayers and calls for more legislation chipping away at the abortion rights the U.S. Supreme Court decision seemed to guarantee.
Many looked to Kansas, where Republican Gov. Sam Brownback has signed a series of tough, anti-abortion measures during his first two years in office. Much to the dismay of abortion-rights advocates, Kansas has been part of a wave in which states with Republican governors and GOP-controlled Legislatures enacted new restrictions on abortion providers.
Hundreds of abortion opponents gathered in Topeka for a rally with Brownback, who has called on lawmakers to create “a culture of life” and is expected to support whatever further restrictions they approve. Kansans for Life, the most influential of the state’s anti-abortion groups, plans to ask lawmakers to enact legislation ensuring that the state doesn’t finance abortions even indirectly, such as through tax breaks or allowing doctors-in-training at the University of Kansas Medical Center in Kansas City, Kan., to perform them on the center’s time. The group also wants to strengthen a state law dictating what information must be provided to abortion patients.
“There are still things we can do,” Mary Kay Culp, the group’s executive director, said before Tuesday’s events, which also included workshops and prayer gatherings.
Abortion rights advocates have celebrated the Jan. 22, 1973, Roe v. Wade decision because it declared women have a constitutional right to abortions in some circumstances and prevented states from banning it.
“It should be honored — not trying to find loopholes, ” said Rep. Emily Perry, a lawyer and Democrat from the Kansas City suburb of Mission who supports abortion rights. “I wish the amount of energy put into narrowing Roe v. Wade would be put into school funding or our budget.”