Kansas Supreme Court Upholds the Right to an Abortion

When Roe v. Wade is eventually overturned by the United States Supreme Court — a decision that is likely to be made sometime after the 2020 presidential election — abortion rights will once more be decided on state-by-state basis, with each one choosing exactly how lenient or restrictive its abortion laws will be.

While that could be a dire situation for most of the states in the South and Midwest, things may not be quite as bad as previously thought; yet another state has been found to have a constitutional right to an accessible abortion if there’s no federal law in place.

Kansas was long considered a purple state that leaned more to the left when it came to economics, education, health care and workers’ rights. Much of that began to shift, however, when religious conservatives convinced working class voters to engage in a class war — one that put their own economic security and liberty secondary to the siren call of policies that primarily benefited the wealthy and distracted them with a cultural war of Biblical proportions.

During that period, the state of Kansas lurched far right — attacking unions, undermining the social safety net and restricting many avenues of health care access, especially abortion. But as those restrictions to end a pregnancy increased, the legislation was being challenged in the state supreme court.

Now, as a result of a ban on D&E abortions, a restriction that would make abortion virtually unavailable in the state after the first trimester, the court has returned a verdict stating that abortion limits — potentially even all abortion limits — are unconstitutional.

The Kansas City Star reports:

In a landmark case — one judge called it “the most significant and far-reaching decision this court has ever made” — a clear majority said Friday that the Kansas Constitution fundamentally protects the right to an abortion. “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 majority said.

One major result from the ruling is immediately clear: Regardless of what happens at a federal level, as long as abortion is not made completely illegal across the entire country, Kansas will have abortion providers offering care.

What isn’t as clear at this point is what this could mean for a number of abortion restrictions already in place. The state of Kansas has mandatory waiting periods, a ban on abortion after 20 weeks post-fertilization and other hurdles that make it difficult to obtain care. TRAP, or Targeted Regulation of Abortion Provider, laws also make the actual operation of clinics extremely difficult.

Should all of these other restrictions also be struck down — something that might be possible now that the state court has set this precedent — Kansas could potentially open up new clinics throughout its borders, allowing the state to be a destination for those in Missouri, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Nebraska, where abortion is far less likely to be legal post-Roe.

Of course, that’s a horrifying possibility to abortion opponents, who are already trying to figure out their next move when it comes to stripping the right to an abortion from the state constitution. Anti-abortion activists and politicians in Kansas are working to propose an amendment that would overrule the Supreme Court and allow abortion to be completely banned in the state once Roe is no more.

The Washington Times reports:

In the final days of its 2019 session, the Republican-dominated Kansas Legislature is fielding calls to amend the state Constitution to limit abortion, as the GOP supermajority prepares to override a veto to require women’s health professionals to inform patients of a disputed treatment to stop a medication-induced abortion.

…[A]ny movement on an amendment will have to wait for 2020, a state lawmaker says. “It will likely be delayed until next legislative session,” state Rep. Tom Cox, Shawnee Republican, told The Washington Times, calling the Legislature’s remaining 11 days a “very tight timeline.”

In other words, enjoy your right to bodily autonomy for now, Kansas. The state can’t wait to try to strip it away.

Photo credit: Robin Marty/Flickr

62 comments

Mary B
Mary B2 days ago

I don't recall ever selling my body, but some people seem to think it belongs to them. I want it BACK, and I want interest on what they payed. I never even rented it or let it be borrowed. And I most certainly never said it could be used for breeding with out my permission. So why do religious nit wits claim they own women's body's ? They should have figured this out by now.

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Anna R
Anna R3 days ago

tyfs

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Emma L
Emma L4 days ago

Thank you for posting

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Nancy BIELECKIE
Nancy BIELECKIE5 days ago

Do not let your country move backwards. It should be a right of a woman and a woman alone, to figure out if she is ready for motherhood. There are already more than enough people in this world starving, with no job and with no place to lay their heads. There are already too many children in the world that are not truly wanted and loved and cared for as a child should be. To promote a little blue pill for men to have an erection and disallow abortion to women is absurd. In a very big way, your country is taking away women's rights to health, life and liberty!

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Alice L
Alice L7 days ago

Thank you

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Leo Custer
Leo Custer8 days ago

thank you for sharing!

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Ben O
Ben O8 days ago

"We're not in Kansas anymore..." ?????

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Shirley S
Shirley S8 days ago

Noted with interest.

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Martin Hill
Martin Hill8 days ago

Please watch UNPLANNED the movie I think you'll change your mind.

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Lesa D
Lesa DiIorio8 days ago

thank you Supreme Court of Kansas!

thank you Robin...

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