A Kansas judge on Wednesday halted enforcement of laws prohibiting doctors from prescribing abortion pills via telemedicine in the state.
Shawnee County District Court Judge Teresa Watson granted a motion by a Wichita reproductive center to block the law. Watson originally denied the plaintiff’s request for a restraining order when he was first asked to rule on it. However, after an appeals court in June concluded that she erred in her decision and “departed from established Kansas case law,” Watson agreed to stay implementation of the law, according to a court filing.
“This decision will further open up abortion care in Kansas at a time when it is sorely needed,” Nancy Northup — the president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights, the organization that arbitrated the litigation — said in a statement.
“In this post-Roe world, telemedicine can make the difference in whether or not abortion treatment is available,” Northup added. “Today’s decision paves the way for Kansas abortion clinics to expand their services to women in remote, underserved areas of Kansas.”
In October, the Washington Post reported on “the rise of a covert international network that supplies tens of thousands of abortion pills” to states where abortion is illegal.
In an August referendum, Kansas voters popularly approved sweeping constitutional amendments protecting abortion, unexpectedly angering the pro-life movement in the historically conservative state. The “value them both” proposal failed, with almost two-thirds of voters rejecting the measure.
In 2019, the Kansas Supreme Court ruled that the state’s constitution, when chartered in 1859, had established a “fundamental” right to abortion through a provision similar to the opening proposition of the Declaration of Independence: “All men are equal and inalienable natural rights.” , including life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” The court ruled that the Constitution therefore does not allow for legislation outright prohibiting the most common second-trimester abortion procedure (dilation and evacuation), in which the fetus is dismembered in the womb.
Then the Supreme Court tipped Roe v. calf, the struggle for access to abortion has taken place at the state level. On Wednesday, pro-life advocates won a small victory in Georgia, where the state Supreme Court temporarily reinstated laws banning abortions after a fetal heartbeat was detected.