Texas is a lousy role model

Citizen vigilantes? Unsafe or botched abortions? These are not things to which Kansas should aspire.



September 15, 2021 - 10:23 AM

Pro-choice activists protest outside the U.S. Supreme Court. Increasingly, national politics are affecting local races. (Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images/TNS)

It’s time to have a chat about Texas.

Yet again decisions made in the Lone Star State are affecting the Sunflower State. Frankly, it’s getting old. 

This time, it’s restrictions on abortion access are causing Texans to make their way north. 

We’re not about to debate the morality of abortion. Kansas is a state of diverse opinions on this matter. We will, however, point out that Roe v. Wade established the legal precedent for women to get one if they choose.

Texas law bans abortions when a fetal heartbeat is detected, which can occur at six weeks. While there are no explicit exceptions for cases of rape or incest, an abortion can be performed later if a medical emergency occurs.

Furthermore, it allows private individuals and organizations to sue a doctor or clinic that performs an abortion after a fetal heartbeat is detected. A successful plaintiff in such a case could receive at least $10,000 from the abortion provider or others in damages.

We are more concerned about what kind of impact this law will have in Kansas. 

The Topeka Capital-Journal’s Andrew Bahl reported in 2020, 289 Texans traveled to Kansas for an abortion, while 277 came from Oklahoma and 74 were from Arkansas. In 2019, those numbers were 25, 85 and 40, respectively. Could more be on the way?

We admit there’s a lot of nuance to what’s unfolding seeing that the U.S. Attorney general Merrick Garland is suing the state of Texas over its new law. There’s more to come.

We have some thoughts and concerns.

Could this lead to the passage of a similar law in Kansas? There is a constitutional amendment on the upcoming August 2022 primary ballot that could put restrictions on abortion access. 

What kind of complications might come about from something like that? Would courts be backlogged by lawsuits against those who received or assisted in an abortion?

Would everyday Kansans become vigilantes? With restrictions in place, would Kansas see an uptick of other medical problems as a result of unsafe and/or botched abortions?

The Texas law doesn’t take into account acts of rape or incest. Would a Kansas law?

This law essentially seems to be an effort to bypass the current law of the land. Can that even be done?