Judge blocks Kansas ban on 2nd-trimester abor­tion

The China Post - - INTERNATIONAL - BY JOHN HANNA

A Kansas judge on Thurs­day blocked the state’s first-in-thenation ban on a pro­ce­dure that op­po­nents re­fer to as dis­mem­ber­ing a fe­tus, con­clud­ing it would likely present too big an ob­sta­cle for women seek­ing to end their preg­nan­cies.

Shawnee County Dis­trict Court Judge Larry Hen­dricks ruled in a law­suit filed ear­lier this month by the New York-based Cen­ter for Re­pro­duc­tive Rights. The cen­ter rep­re­sents two Kansas abor­tion providers and ar­gued the law would force women to un­dergo riskier pro­ce­dures or forgo abor­tions.

The cen­ter ar­gued that the pro­ce­dure banned by the law is used in 95 per­cent of sec­ond-trimester abor­tions na­tion­ally and said pre­vi­ous U.S. Supreme Court rul­ings don’t al­low a state to ban the most com­mon method for ter­mi­nat­ing a preg­nancy.

Hen­dricks said those ar­gu­ments were likely to pre­vail, even though al­ter­na­tive abor­tion meth­ods still would be le­gal. His or­der will stay in ef­fect while he con­sid­ers the law­suit fur­ther. The new law was sup­posed to take ef­fect July 1.

The judge also de­clared that the Kansas Con­sti­tu­tion in­de­pen­dently pro­tects abor­tion rights at least as much as the U.S. Con­sti­tu­tion does. At­tor­neys on both sides said such a rul­ing, if it stands, even­tu­ally could al­low state courts to strike down re­stric­tions that the U.S. Supreme Court has up­held.

Kansas Gov. Sam Brown­back, a Repub­li­can and strong abor­tion op­po­nent, was dis­ap­pointed by the de­ci­sion and be­lieves “Kansas law should pro­tect hu­man dig­nity for all Kansans,” spokes­woman Eileen Haw­ley said

The new law would have banned doc­tors from us­ing for­ceps, clamps, scis­sors or sim­i­lar in­stru­ments on a live fe­tus to re­move it from the womb in pieces. Such in­stru­ments are com­monly used in di­la­tion and evac­u­a­tion pro­ce­dures, but Kansas leg­is­la­tors said us­ing them on a live fe­tus is in­hu­mane.

Di­la­tion and evac­u­a­tion pro­ce­dures ac­counted for about 9 per­cent of all abor­tions in Kansas last year, ac­cord­ing to the state health depart­ment. The state al­ready bans most abor­tions at or af­ter the 22nd week of preg­nancy.

The new law would make ex­cep­tions to the ban for pre­serv­ing a woman’s life or pre­vent­ing se­ri­ous and per­ma­nent dam­age to her phys­i­cal health. It also wouldn’t ap­ply if doc­tors en­sure that the fe­tus dies be­fore us­ing in­stru­ments to re­move it from the womb.

The state’s lawyers ar­gued that doc­tors could avoid vi­o­lat­ing the ban and still per­form safe abor­tions many ways, such as first giv­ing the fe­tus a lethal in­jec­tion or by sev­er­ing its um­bil­i­cal cord.

But the law­suit said there have been few stud­ies of the safety of the al­ter­na­tive meth­ods and that lethal in­jec­tions for the fe­tus could in­crease of nau­sea, vom­it­ing and in­fec­tion in women.

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