Kansas Attracts Out-of-State Women for Late-Term Abortions

Topeka, KS - Nearly half the women who had abortions in Kansas last year were from other states, an agency reported Monday, and legislators cited George Tiller's late-term abortion facility in Wichita as the main reason.

Lawmakers were divided on whether Tiller, one of the nation's few abortion prqactitioners performing late-term abortions, was a source of shame or pride to the state.

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment reported that of 12,323 induced abortions last year in the state, 6,352 of the women were Kansas residents and 5,971 were from elsewhere.

Of the 639 abortions performed after 22 weeks of pregnancy, 59 were performed on Kansans, and 580 were on women from other states, KDHE said.

Pro-life legislators said Tiller thrives because Kansas law allows late-term abortions for essentially any reasons.

"The statistics continue to show we are the abortion capital," said Rep.Tony Powell, R-Wichita. "I think that's really sad."

Legislators who support abortion said Tiller and his clinic, Women's Health Care Services, are assets to the state.

"Because of Dr. Tiller in Wichita, we do find people come from out of state," said Sen. Sandy Praeger, R-Lawrence. "We have a doctor who is willing to risk his life. It's hard to find providers who provide late-term abortions and stick their necks out."

Tiller's office didn't return a telephone message left Monday with his office by The Associated Press.

Legislators on both sides of the abortion debate were troubled by the statistics on women who receive second, third and fourth abortions.

According to the report, 37.3 percent of the abortions in Kansas last year were performed on women who had undergone a previous abortion.

Sen. Nancey Harrington, R-Goddard, a pro-life advocate, said the statistics amounted to evidence that women use abortion as a form of birth control.

Rep. Nancy Kirk, D-Topeka, an abortion supporter, also was disturbed by the statistic. She asked, "How are we helping women get the information they need to avoid an unwanted pregnancy?"

PRO-LIFE Infonet
30. mars 2001