By Kathy Ostrowski, Legislative Director, Kansans for Life
First, the good news—Kansas continues to see annual abortion numbers steadily decrease. On Wednesday, we learned there were 3% fewer Kansas abortions in 2014 (7,263) than in 2013 (7,485), according to the annual preliminary report from the Kansas Department of Health & Environment.
Also encouraging is that clinics reported 115 women received informed consent certification and did not go through with an abortion in Kansas in 2014.
As has long been the pattern, almost exactly half –49%– of Kansas abortions were obtained by out-state residents (3,578). The heavy majority came from Missouri (3,381) which has only one operative abortion facility in St. Louis. That means that women from northwest Missouri, including the populous Kansas City metro area, obtain abortions right over the state line at Planned Parenthood and the Center for Women’s Health in Overland Park, Kansas.
There is a third Kansas abortion business, South Wind Women’s Center (SWWC) in Wichita, which opened in April 2013. SWWC is located in the same building as abortionist George Tiller occupied for decades which closed in June 2009. A fourth abortion clinic, the Aid for Women clinic in Kansas City, closed in July 2014.
The Kansas annual report shows that most of the abortion patterns as to age, ethnicity and pregnancy history remain unchanged. However, of concern in this report is
1. the continued rise in abortions by pill to an annual figure of 3,228 –now 44.4% of total abortions. This is far above the reported national average for chemical abortions;
2. an unexpected 9% rise in D&E/ dismemberment abortions from 2013 (584) to 2014 (637); and
3. a troubling rise in abortions obtained by metro Wichita-area women in the past 2 years while abortions have consistently declined in every other metro area in Kansas.
First, the increase in abortions induced by abortifacients is a national trend. A 2011 Guttmacher report tabbed it as 22.6 % of all abortions. In Kansas, abortions by pill are available at all three clinics, and rose from 2,903 in 2013 to 3,228 in 2014. Only one clinic, SWWC, publishes the cost of such– $600– on its website.
Second, it is very disturbing that the number of D&E/ dismemberment abortions rose last year to 637, after the number had been decreasing. State data shows the figures as: 932 in 2008,793 in 2009,715 in 2010, 661 in 2011, 640 in 2012, and 584 in 2013.
The SWWC website describes the D&E method as the “removal of the pregnancy with forceps” — similar to the deceptive descriptions from the other clinics. None of their “informed consent” documents reveal that the living unborn child will be painfully torn limb from limb and bleed to death.
SWWC charges $800-$2,000 for a D&E, according to a Feb. 20, 2015, PBS NewsHour story. The other clinics do not post their D&E pricing. All three clinics testified in opposition to SB 95, the Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act, which passed the legislature March 25 and awaits the promised signature of Gov. Sam Brownback.
The third trend of concern in the Kansas abortion data is that one county has shown a rise in women obtaining abortions over the past two years– Sedgwick– which covers the Wichita metro area where SWWC opened in April 2013. Annual abortions obtained by Wichita area women were down to a historic low of 566 in 2012, but rose to 691 in 2013, and then 834 in 2014.