WICHITA, Kan. • The Kansas Court of Appeals refused Friday to implement the state’s first-in-the-nation ban on a common second-trimester abortion method, ruling in a split but groundbreaking decision that the conservative state’s constitution protects abortion rights independently from the U.S. Constitution.
The 7-7 ruling could be used by abortion rights supporters to challenge other state laws restricting abortion. If the decision is upheld, it would allow state courts to protect a woman’s right to end her pregnancy beyond federal court rulings.
Tie votes uphold a ruling being appealed, meaning Friday’s ruling sides with a Shawnee County judge who put the 2015 law on hold while he considers a lawsuit challenging the ban. The lawsuit has yet to go to trial, but the judge said that general language in the Kansas Constitution about personal liberties extends to abortion rights — which the appeals court also supported.
“The rights of Kansas women in 2016 are not limited to those specifically intended by the men who drafted our state’s constitution in 1859,” Judge Steve Leben wrote on behalf of the seven judges who sided with the lower court. The state may appeal to the Kansas Supreme Court.
If the decision stands, it would “immensely strengthen protection” of abortion rights when Planned Parenthood and similar organizations challenge legislation and laws that restrict abortion in Kansas, said Laura
Article source: http://www.stltoday.com/news/national/appeals-court-kansas-constitution-protects-abortion-rights/article_c0bd0f51-68de-5eaf-95bc-8ab3386dfc80.html
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