In the four decades since Roe v. Wade, a series of court decisions have narrowed its scope. With each decision, lawmakers in multiple states have followed up by making abortions more difficult to obtain or imposing restrictions on providers.
A majority of states now impose a waiting period for patients wishing to obtain an abortion, and three-quarters require parental involvement before a minor can obtain an abortion, according to the New York-based Guttmacher Institute, which researches reproductive health issues. Almost all allow physicians to refuse to participate in abortions. All such policies are in place in Kansas.
Kansas has three abortion clinics, all of them in the Kansas City area. An abortion rights group, Trust Women, plans to open a new clinic in Wichita in the building where the late Dr. George Tiller performed late-term procedures until he was murdered in 2009 by a man professing strong anti-abortion views. But the new clinic doesn’t plan to end pregnancies as late as Tiller did — and couldn’t in most cases under a 2011 state law restricting such procedures at or after the 22nd week of pregnancy.
The American Civil Liberties Union recently dropped a federal lawsuit against a state law restricting private health insurance coverage for abortions, after a judge’s ruling limited the issues to be decided at trial. A challenge to state regulations specifically for abortion providers is still pending in the state’s courts.