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Kansas Abortion Providers Sue to Hide Risks from Women

The Kansas Woman’s Right to Know Act ensures that women considering abortion are informed about the nature and risks of the procedure.
Alliance Defending Freedom
The Kansas State Capitol Building is seen in Topeka

For nearly every major medical procedure in the United States, doctors and other health-care providers must receive informed consent from their patients before treating them. From a simple vaccine to a major surgery, patients have the right to hear about the risks involved before they decide whether to undergo the procedure.

When Kansas passed its Woman’s Right to Know Act in 1997, it did so to ensure that expectant mothers are informed about the risks of abortion. But abortion businesses are now trying to keep women in Kansas from being informed about abortion, putting their own profits ahead of women’s safety.

Read on to learn how Alliance Defending Freedom became involved.

Who is Kris Kobach?

Kris Kobach is the attorney general of the state of Kansas. Since he represents the voters in the state, he has a vested interest in defending the laws that these voters enacted through their elected officials. ADF attorneys are serving as co-counsel alongside Attorney General Kobach to defend the Kansas Woman’s Right to Know Act against challenges from two abortion businesses and two abortion providers.

Hodes & Nauser v. Kobach

The Kansas Woman’s Right to Know Act protects women in several ways. First, it requires abortion businesses and abortion providers to inform a woman seeking an abortion about the risks of the procedure, the prenatal and postnatal care that is available, the right to have an ultrasound and see her child, the right to withdraw consent before the abortion, and other important information about her pregnancy.

Next, the law requires abortion facilities that dispense abortion drugs to inform women about the unique risks of the drugs and provide information about abortion pill reversal if a woman decides to continue her pregnancy. Abortion providers are also required to disclose whether they have faced disciplinary action, whether they have malpractice insurance, and whether they enjoy privileges at any hospital within 30 miles.

Finally, the law includes a 24-hour waiting period for a woman who is seeking an abortion. This provision ensures that profit-minded abortion businesses cannot pressure a woman into an abortion without giving her time to consider the risks, consequences, and alternatives.

All these provisions are commonsense protections for women. Before deciding to proceed with a serious and dangerous procedure such as abortion, women have a right to know the basic facts about it. But two abortion businesses—including Planned Parenthood—and two abortion providers don’t want to comply with the law because it threatens their profits.

In June 2023, the abortion businesses and providers filed a lawsuit challenging Kansas’s commonsense law and seeking an emergency injunction to block the law that even they admit they’ve complied with for years. ADF attorneys are defending the law alongside Attorney General Kobach.

What’s at stake?

Every woman deserves to have all the information she needs to make a life-affirming choice for both her unborn child and herself. Kansas’s law helps ensure that women cannot be tricked or pressured into an abortion, but rather are informed about the risks and all their options, just as they should be about any other major procedure.

By trying to skirt these commonsense protections, abortion providers have proven they prioritize their own interests over the physical or mental health of their customers. The court must uphold Kansas’s law to ensure that abortion providers cannot put profits over people.

Case timeline

  • June 2023: Two abortion businesses—including Planned Parenthood—and two abortion providers filed a lawsuit challenging the Kansas Woman’s Right to Know Act, which is aimed at protecting women.
  • July 2023: ADF attorneys and Attorney General Kobach filed their response explaining the important purpose of the law and asking the court to uphold it.
  • October 2023: A district court issued an order allowing Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers to temporarily block enforcement of the Women’s Right to Know Act.

The bottom line

Kansas’s law ensures that profit-driven abortion businesses are transparent about what they sell.