A new Kansas state law affecting abortion-seeking patients has been struck down by a judge this week, and existing laws were suspended as well.
New and Old Laws Reviewed by Judge
In Kansas, a new law was recently voted into effect that detailed specific information that abortion providers were required to tell patients.
Kansas has required a 24-hour wait period for women seeking abortions since the 1990s.
A “Contentious Issue”
This week, a district judge ruled the law unconstitutional and said it could not be upheld.
Judge K. Christopher Jayaram said that while he understood it was a “contentious issue” with “deeply held beliefs on either side,” legislators must uphold the state Constitution.
State Cannot Legislate Based on “Moral Scruples”
“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.
Planned Parenthood Rep Speaks Out
Emily Wales, Planned Parenthood Great Plains President and CEO, spoke on the clinical perspective of the restrictions.
“Medically Wrong and Ethically Unjustifiable”
“Each day these restrictions were in effect, we have been forced to turn away patients for reasons that are medically wrong and ethically unjustifiable,” she said.
State of Kansas Has Abortion Protections
While Kansas’s legislature is Republican-led, the state has been protective of abortion rights since before Roe v. Wade was overturned in 2022.
A “Natural Right of Personal Autonomy”
In 2019, Kansas’s Supreme Court concreted the state’s abortion protections.
In a bombshell ruling that rocked state politics, the Supreme Court of Kansas determined that abortion was included in the “natural right of personal autonomy” ensured by the state’s Constitution.
Second Trimester Abortions Remain Legal
That ruling came in response to a bill that would have banned most second-trimester abortions. The bill was blocked as a result of the court’s decision.
Alliance Defending Freedom in Deep
Conservative group Alliance Defending Freedom is representing anti-abortion activists in Kansas and plans to continue the fight to ban abortion in the state.
Informed Consent Laws Draw Scrutiny
Referring to “informed consent laws” like the existing 24-hour waiting period that was required before a woman could access an abortion, an Alliance Defending Freedom attorney named Caleb Dalton defended their stance.
“We Will Continue Defending” Unborn Interests, says Alliance Defending Freedom
“These kinds of informed consent laws reflect the long-standing will of the people of Kansas.
Kansans are right to want to protect maternal health and the safety and the lives of the unborn, and we will continue defending their interests,” Dalton said.
“No Credible Evidence” That Waiting Periods Make a Difference
Judge Jayaram noted that “there is no credible evidence that the mandatory delays imposed by the Act for arbitrary periods of time are likely to, in fact, improve either the consent/decision-making process by pregnant patients or conduct by the medical profession.”
Republicans Behind Various Restrictions
Republicans in the legislature have created laws imposing other restrictions on abortion access and what information must be given to patients by their providers.
Law Requires Unproven Information to be Shared
One recent law states that physicians providing abortions have to inform patients of a medical regimen that anti-abortion activists claim can reverse the effects of a medication abortion.
Abortion Reversal Regimen May Not Be Safe for Pregnant Patient
Judge Jayaram said that he had researched that regimen and determined that there is no evidence for its effectiveness and that it could possibly have ill effects on the patient.
Kansas: An Abortion Destination for Neighboring Residents
Since surrounding states have outright banned abortion after the Supreme Court toppled Roe v. Wade, Kansas has seen an influx of abortion-seeking visitors from out of state.
The rate of abortion in Kansas increased by 57% in 2022.
“Kansas Clinics are Overwhelmed” with Out-of-State Patients
Advocates argued that the laws restricting abortion access in Kansas were causing more problems than ever since Kansas is now serving so many more patients.
An attorney for the Center for Reproductive Rights, Alice Wang, said that the “restrictions are especially harmful now that Roe v. Wade was overturned, and Kansas clinics are overwhelmed with patients from neighboring states where abortion is banned.”
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