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Kansas Appeals Court Split in Latest Abortion Decision

Abortion opponents rally outside the Statehouse Friday. (Photo by Stephen Koranda)
Abortion opponents rally outside the Statehouse Friday. (Photo by Stephen Koranda)

The Kansas Court of Appeals split 7-7 on a ruling over a so-called “dismemberment abortion” ban. The division means a lower court order will continue to block the law from taking effect.

The judges were divided over whether the right to an abortion is protected under the Kansas Constitution. Lieutenant Governor Jeff Colyer argued there is no such right at a rally at the Statehouse.

“The Kansas Court of Appeals rewrote the Constitution today, and they rewrote the Constitution against people like you and me and all Kansans. We’re going to have to speak back loudly,” says Colyer.

Laura McQuade, with Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri, welcomed the decision. She says judges recognizing a protection for abortion rights in the Kansas Constitution would make it easier to overturn abortion restrictions.

“We were thrilled to see the decision and we were particularly thrilled to see the language cited in the decision. It’s a very strong ruling for women and for access to safe and legal abortions here in Kansas,” says McQuade.

McQuade says the decision means women can continue to access one of the safest abortion options. 

“This is an enormous victory for women’s ability to make private medical decisions with their medical providers and to access the safest and highest-quality care that the medical community can offer to them,” says McQuade.

Kathy Ostrowski, with Kansans for Life, takes issue with the courts recognizing an abortion right in the Kansas Constitution.

“This is a horrific misreading of state law. If the citizens of Kansas wanted to insert a right to abortion, they should do it by a ballot initiative and not judicial fiat,” says Ostrowski.


The lawsuit will next head to the Kansas Supreme Court, but it could eventually land in federal court.


Stephen Koranda is KPR's Statehouse reporter.