Kansas Supreme Court strikes down second-trimester abortion ban, affirms right to abortion

The 5-1 ruling struck down a GOP-led ban on a common procedure used in second-trimester abortions

Published July 5, 2024 6:57PM (EDT)

A "Vote Here" sign is displayed outside Leawood City Hall in Leawood, Kansas, on July 29, 2022 (Caitlin WILSON / AFP) (Photo by CAITLIN WILSON/AFP via Getty Images)
A "Vote Here" sign is displayed outside Leawood City Hall in Leawood, Kansas, on July 29, 2022 (Caitlin WILSON / AFP) (Photo by CAITLIN WILSON/AFP via Getty Images)

Kansas’s Supreme Court has thrown out two restrictive abortion bans, reaffirming the right to an abortion in a 5-1 ruling.

In a set of opinions penned by Democratic Governor-appointed justices Eric Rosen and Melissa Standridge, the court found that the Kansas constitution protected the right to an abortion, striking down the pair of laws.

Senate Bill 95, passed by Kansas Republicans, banned an abortion procedure used in many second-trimester pregnancies called dilation and evacuation.

“S.B. 95 does not further patient safety. It compromises patient safety,” Rosen wrote in the opinion, adding that the bill “eliminates a safe and common medical procedure and leaves patients subject to procedures that are rarely used, are untested, and are sometimes more dangerous or impossible.”

The five justices appointed by Democratic governors in the state joined in the majority, while one of the two Republican-appointed justices dissented.

Kansas, which has long allowed abortion through the 22nd week of pregnancy, saw a slew of anti-abortion bills introduced at the state level after the fall of the landmark Supreme Court case Roe v. Wade in 2022, though the state’s own top court says the right to reproductive care is enshrined in the state’s constitution.

“We stand by our conclusion that section 1 of the Kansas Constitution Bill of Rights protects a fundamental right to personal autonomy, which includes a pregnant person’s right to terminate a pregnancy,” Rosen wrote.

Outside Kansas, at least five states will consider the right to an abortion at the ballot box in November, while even more mull restrictive bans or legal protections in their legislatures.

At a federal level, President Joe Biden has called for a restoration of Roe v. Wade, while the Trump-backed Project 2025 calls for a national ban on mifepristone, a drug that is used in most medicated abortions.

MORE FROM Griffin Eckstein