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Crime and Courts

Kansas Appeals Court Considers Constitutionality Of Abortion Ban

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The Kansas Court of Appeals is wrestling with the constitutionality of an abortion ban.

The ban--called the Kansas Unborn Child Protection From Dismemberment Abortion Act, or Senate Bill 95--prevents doctors from performing certain types of dilation and evacuation abortions, ones that use instruments to separate parts of the fetus before removal.

The ban was enacted this year, but then a Shawnee County judge ruled to block the ban, saying that the Kansas Constitution independently protects abortion rights.

Julie Burkhart of Trust Women in Wichita said in a statement that "women are capable of making decisions without the assistance of politicians for their lives and families."

The Kansas law is the first in the nation to ban the particular procedure.

More from the AP:

A lawsuit against a Kansas ban on a common second-trimester procedure has forced the state Court of Appeals to consider how much the state constitution protects abortion rights.

The full 14-member court heard arguments Wednesday in the state's appeal of a Shawnee County judge's July ruling temporarily blocking enforcement of the first-in-the-nation law.

The judge agreed with attorneys for two abortion providers who said that the Kansas Constitution independently protects abortion rights. The state's lawyers argue that such protections can't be read into broad language about individual liberty.

The law enacted this year prohibits doctors from using forceps, clamps, scissors or similar instruments on a live fetus to remove it from the womb in pieces. Such instruments are used in dilation and evacuation procedures common during the second trimester.

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Aileen LeBlanc is news director at KMUW. Follow her on Twitter @Aileen_LeBlanc.

To contact KMUW News or to send in a news tip, reach us at news@kmuw.org.