Kansas abortions up in 2020 due to Texas, Oklahoma patients

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TOPEKA, Kan. — The number of abortions performed in Kansas increased by 9.1% last year. That’s largely because more women from Oklahoma and Texas traveled north to terminate pregnancies there than in 2019.

Advocates on both sides said Tuesday that much of the increase likely occurred because Republican governors in Oklahoma and Texas sought to ban most abortions last spring. Kansas Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly refused to do so.

The state reported that 7,542 abortions were performed in Kansas in 2020, up 626 from 2019. The number for patients from Oklahoma and Texas jumped to 566 in 2020 from 110 in 2019.

Kelly has long been at odds with the Republican-controlled state legislature, whose members have fought to end the state-mandated right to an abortion.

After a Kansas judge ruled that people are guaranteed abortion rights under the state constitution, legislators decided to propose an amendment through a state-wide vote. That question, which will likely appear on the 2022 August ballot, will ask if the state should be able to restrict abortion access.

“I don’t think those supporting this amendment are aware of the consequences it will have for the state of Kansas and our reputation,” Kelly said in a statement after the legislative decision.

She alleged the amendment could do “irreparable damage” to pandemic recovery efforts and business recruitment.

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