Life and health exemptions to abortion bans are complex. With the legality of abortion effectively on the August 2 ballot, Kansans should understand how looming government regulations might affect women’s health. If the abortion amendment passes, the Kansas Legislature will likely ban all or most abortions soon. Conservatives have generally avoided talking about abortion bans during this campaign, instead opting for emotional arguments that often mislead voters about threats to current abortion regulations and what types of abortions are actually occurring here. But recently, conservatives have started going off script. Most notably, the Kansas Reflector reported on comments from conservative legislators and an activist group staffer about House Bill (HB) 2746. HB 2746 was introduced in the Kansas Legislature this year. It banned abortion except in limited circumstances, with no exception for rape, incest, or many threats to a woman’s life or health. Let’s focus on life and health. Should something like HB 2746 pass, states that have newly banned abortion are giving Kansas hints of its future. Most state abortion bans offer some vague exception for a woman’s life, though sometimes not her health in non-fatal situations. Doctors and hospitals in many states are voicing concerns in media reports that they are unsure how to navigate the intentionally vague language of these exceptions. Specifically, doctors are often unsure if they can legally provide emergency abortions in many cases, even when they feel women have clear health needs. Violating these new abortion bans carries penalties up to life in prison in some states, so it’s understandable that doctors who fear prosecution are denying or delaying medical care to women. Let’s identify some scenarios where it’s often uncertain whether abortion is allowed under vague life or health exceptions: If a woman develops a serious condition where her chance of dying is under fifty percent or not quantifiable, is that “life-threatening” enough? If a woman discovers cancer but it won’t immediately kill her, should government require her to delay chemotherapy? Since many states explicitly require health threats to be physical, what about women experiencing severe mental health crises? If a pregnancy will likely result in stillbirth or a quick death for the fetus, should government require women to endure the mental and physical effects of continuing with that pregnancy? What about high risk of cardiac failure but symptoms haven’t yet manifested? Pre-eclampsia? Placenta accreta? Responding to confusion among doctors, President Biden recently issued Executive Order 14076. It reminds medical providers of their obligation to provide emergency care—including emergency abortions—under the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act of 1986. Texas has filed a lawsuit challenging that emergency care obligation, and federal courts have yet to rule. Kansas already bans abortion after 22 weeks. If conservatives ban abortion before that point and if they allow health or life exemptions, then like any new government regulation, it takes time and—ultimately—testing the law to learn how government is implementing it. Under a ban, if Kansas doctors perform emergency abortions under a life or health exemption and if the government does not prosecute them or their female patients, then doctors may get comfortable performing emergency abortions they feel are warranted. But as that process evolves, women can expect delayed or denied care—and likely riskier pregnancies—while doctors navigate the new regulations.

(14) comments

Fremon

Thank you, Patrick Miller for a well balanced article about many of the potential pitfalls of navigating this emotional topic and their convoluted approaches in attempting to gain an advantage. I can see why some may want to distract us from hearing about these tactics.

Ricky

Don’t see you disputing his claims, just sarcastic comments and making fun of him. You can do better than that.

Fremon

What in the world are you talking about now, Ricky? What did "he?" do to you? Do you disagree with this article, or are you finally angry with MWS below? (he can like whatever he wants to) Please try to focus your rage. You're as hard to follow as you are to agree with..... How was that? [smile]

Ricky

Maybe I’m giving you to much credit for figuring it out. So be it, not worth the try to.

Ricky

I realize sometimes it’s hard for you to comprehend what is being written but you might reread that and try little harder.

Aim_High

Why are you responding to your own comment? You really shouldn't be so hard on yourself, lol.

Ricky

Adding to it, idiot. Always butting into others Business. Go back to work, and try to give your employer an honest days work instead of wasting all your time butting into peoples business.

Ricky

I bet you’re a real Gladys Kravitz around your neighborhood. LOL

Fremon

Again Ricky, MWS makes no claims here only lists what he likes and makes fun of himself by liking so many strange things. But, I'm sure he appreciates you as an ally.

MWS

I changed my mind. I agree with Freehead. I think the Afghan pull out was great, I like Inflation, I like CRT and racism and sexual perversion being taught to our grade schoolers, I like a president with dementia and a VP who is a laughing stock, I like soaring crime in Democrat run cities, I like spending billions on endless wars, I like handing the U.S. over to China, I like BLM causing $2B in damages in riots in 2020, I like food shortages for babies, I like mandating vaccines that don't work, I like green new energy that does not work, I like commuting prison sentences of violent criminals for the sake of equity, I like hoards of criminals being let in the U.S., I like giving out free crack pipes and heroin needles, I like uncontrolled homelessness, I like high taxes, I like China murdering 100K of our people annually with imported drugs, I like listening to Fauci, Walinski, the FBI, the DOJ constantly lie to the American people, I like soaring deficits, I like sky rocking murder rates in Democrat run cities, I like crashing stock markets, I like rising mortgage rates. I think things are fine. I stand with freebird.

Fremon

Hi MWS, I had forgotten how foul desperation could "smell". But, this is QAnon-MAGA we're talking about here and I'm sure "The Best Is Yet to Come." Pace yourself my friend. Take a breath, but open the window first.[smile]

MWS

The best way to gauge it is this: If a Democrat is for something and thinks it's a good idea for the country, GO THE OPPOSITE DIRECTION. Everything they touch turn to bat poop.

Fremon

MWS... The "bat poop" was a nice touch, with an obvious reference to Lindsey Graham announcing that the Republican Party has gone "BATCHIT CRAZY"! (Feb 26, 2016). GUANO ON!!!!, my friend.

cyberspace

Educate, educate, educate! We need to make sure adolescents understand how the reproductive system work. We need to focus on PREVENTION, so that abortions are rare. We need to make sure contraception is accessible to all women who choose. It is their bodies and their lives. We need to STOP placing all the RESPONSIBILITY on Women! If needed, we need to pass laws that include the man's role in this whole process. If you truly value women, you will let them have their FREEDOM and trust them to make the right choices with guidance, if needed.

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.