Kansas Judge Blocks Ban on Second-Trimester Abortion Procedure

Judge says ban on abortion using D&C surgery likely violates Kansas and U.S. Constitutions.


Steve Rhodes/Flickr

A district court has temporarily blocked the state of Kansas from enforcing its recent ban on the most common type of surgical abortion procedure. Judge Larry Hendricks ruled that the first-in-the-country ban on "dilation and curettage" (D&C) surgery, which was scheduled to take effect July 1, placed an unconstitutional burden on women seeking to terminate pregnancies in the state. 

About 95 percent of second-trimester abortions in America rely on D&C surgery, according to the Center for Reproductive Rights (CFRR), a New York-based legal nonprofit that brought the case on behalf of Kansas doctors Herbert Hodes and Traci Nauser. In Kansas, 9 percent of elective abortions are performed via D&C. (The vast majority of abortions in Kansas take place before the end of the first trimester, when medication abortion is much more common.)

Judge Hendricks' order blocking the ban will remain in effect until he makes a final ruling. In today's decision, he pointed out that the Kansas Constitution independently protects abortion access as much as the U.S. Constitution does.

The blocked law "is yet another in a relentless barrage of attacks to block women's access to constitutionally protected abortion services," said Nancy Northrup, the president and CEO of CFRR, earlier this month. "The ultimate goal of those behind this law is to criminalize abortion services, one by one, until women are left with absolutely no safe or legal options."