Kansas legislators have reached a new low in meddling. They will soon be commanding abortion providers which typeface size and font they must use on disclosure forms given to patients. The bill, SB98, is awaiting the governor’s signature.
Since 2011, state legislators nationwide have introduced more than a thousand bills to add new anti-abortion restrictions to the already long list. Governors have signed into law more than 250 of these. All these laws ultimately are meant to do one thing: control women’s sexuality by making it harder, more expensive, more time-consuming, and more privacy-invading to obtain what the U.S. Supreme Court has for 44 years said is a woman’s right. Nothing to do with a woman’s health, her safety, her physicians’ skills.
As a Guttmacher Institute report pointed out early this month, a big proportion of the laws “lack a foundation in rigorous scientific evidence.” In fact, the authors write, a third of American women live in one of the 17 states where at least five of the restrictions imposed by forced birthers clash with scientific evidence, and more than 50 percent live in states with at least two such laws.
Much of this amounts to purely petty harassment.
Already under current law, abortion providers must provide biased and medically unnecessary information to each woman seeking an abortion in the state. SB98 will mandate that providers disclose information to patients that heart surgeons don’t: their credentials, medical school, disciplinary record, malpractice insurance, year they started working for the provider. To top it off, the bill requires that this information must be provided "on white paper in a printed format in black ink with 12-point Times New Roman Font.”
Advocates say this is necessary so that the disclosure form will be easily readable. Quite the claim when, for decades, the legislature’s own documents, including SB98, have been printed in a 10-point font. Does this mean they don’t want Kansans to read them?
John Hanna reports:
Sen. Lynn Rogers, a Wichita Democrat, described the measure as “simply harassment” of abortion providers. Others saw the measure as an attempt to discourage women from having abortions.
Women often print out the informed-consent forms themselves at home before traveling to a clinic to terminate their pregnancies, abortion rights supporters said, and if they use the wrong color of paper they would have to reschedule their appointments.
That’s obviously a feature, not a bug.