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HomeGeneralKansas Supreme Court Strikes Down Abortion Restriction Laws

Kansas Supreme Court Strikes Down Abortion Restriction Laws

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A picture of pro-abortion protesters
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The Kansas Supreme Court has reaffirmed the state constitution’s protection of abortion rights. Recently, a Kansas Judge blocked a new law affecting abortion-seeking patients in the state. Lawmakers in Kansas recently voted a new law into effect. The law reportedly details specific information that abortion providers are required to tell patients.

Before this new law, Kansas required a 24-hour wait period for women seeking abortions since the 1990s. However, a district judge ruled the law unconstitutional, stating the state could not uphold it. Judge K. Christopher Jayaram acknowledged that it is a contentious issue with deeply held beliefs on either side.

He also emphasized the need for legislators to uphold the state Constitution. “The State’s capacity to legislate pursuant to its own moral scruples is necessarily curbed by the Kansas Constitution and its Bill of Rights,” Judge Jayaram said.

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In a bombshell ruling that rocked state politics, the court adhered to precedent from a 2019 landmark ruling by the Kansas Supreme Court. The verdict, for the first time, recognized the fundamental right to abortion under the state constitution.

Also, in that ruling, the Kansas Supreme Court upheld a preliminary injunction the state trial court granted. In addition, the court stated the state constitution firmly embeds the right to personal autonomy in its “natural rights guarantee and its included concepts of liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

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That ruling came in response to a bill that would have banned most second-trimester abortions. However, the court’s decision blocked the bill.

Emily Wales, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood Great Plains provided a perspective on the clinical impact of the restrictions. She added that while these restrictions were in effect, they turned away patients for medically wrong and ethically unjustifiable reasons.

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“The Kansas Supreme Court was loud and clear in 2019: abortion is a fundamental right under the Kansas state constitution,” said Nancy Northup, President and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights. “This decision reaffirms that ruling and ensures that Kansans have access to the best abortion care.”

She added, “This ban made it a crime for doctors to use their best medical judgment. This ban is not about medicine; it’s purely political.” Although Republicans lead Kansas’s legislature, the state has been protective of abortion rights before the overturning of Roe v. Wade in 2022. 

While this new development is a break from the abortion ban happening in most American states, some are against it. Conservative group Alliance Defending Freedom has vowed to take the fight up in the state. The group is representing anti-abortion activists in Kansas and plans to continue the fight to ban abortion in the state. In addition, the group promised to protect maternal health and the safety and lives of the unborn.

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Since surrounding states have banned abortion, Kansas has seen an influx of abortion-seeking visitors from out of state. According to reports, the rate of abortion in Kansas increased by 57% in 2022.

Nonetheless, advocates argued that the laws restricting abortion access in Kansas caused more problems than ever since Kansas is now home to many abortion-seeking patients.

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