Finally, Abortion Rights Advocates Score a Huge Legal Victory in Kansas

Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly
Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly
Photo: John Hanna/AP

The Kansas Supreme Court reaffirmed abortion rights on Friday by striking down a 2015 law banning the most-common second-trimester abortion procedure, the Associated Press reported.


According to the Wichita Eagle, abortion rights advocates and their foes have waited more than two years for the court’s decision. The ruling was in response to a lawsuit filed in 2015 by two abortion providers against the state’s ban on dilation and evacuation abortions. The two doctors, Herbert Hodes and Traci Nauser, are father and daughter, and operated a women’s health center together in the suburbs of Kansas City, the AP also reported.

In its ruling, the court said that language in the Kansas constitution on individual rights protects “natural right of personal autonomy,” including the right to “control one’s own body” independent of the U.S. Constitution, the AP reported.


“This right allows a woman to make her own decisions regarding her body, health, family formation, and family life—decisions that can include whether to continue a pregnancy,” the court’s majority opinion read.

The 2015 law, Senate Bill 95, prohibited dilation and evacuation abortions —a procedure used in 95 percent of second-trimester abortions, according to the Guttmacher Institute. More specifically, the law barred the use of forceps or similar instruments on a “live” fetus to remove it from the “womb” in pieces, describing the procedure by the anti-abortion propaganda term “dismemberment abortion,” according to the AP.

The wire service reported that Kansas’ law was the first of its kind in the country and had been drafted by the National Right to Life Committee, although, per the Eagle, a court injunction meant the law hadn’t gone into effect.

The decision could have broad impact, allowing state courts to strike down abortion restrictions upheld by federal courts. However, the anti-abortion group Kansans for Life previously promised to amend the state’s constitution should the Supreme Court ruling not go their way, the Eagle reported.


If abortion rights opponents in the Republican-controlled legislature approved such an amendment, it would go to a statewide vote, and would be shielded from a veto by Gov. Laura Kelly, a Democrat and supporter of abortion rights.

Splinter Staff Writer, Texan

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