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Kansas appellate court strikes down abortion law that restricts a common procedure method

[JURIST] The Kansas Court of Appeals on Friday turned down [text, PDF] a state law that would prohibit doctors from using the most common second-trimester abortion method. The Kansas Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act [text, PDF] was enacted in the spring of 2014 and it prohibited doctors from using forceps on a live fetus to remove it from the womb in pieces [Time report]; a procedure that is used in 95 percent of second trimester abortions. The court found that the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment [text] provides a right to abortion and that the Kansas statute would unduly burden women seeking to exercise that right. Additionally, the court held that the issue should remain closed "rather than entangling our state courts into this arena which has divided our nation for over 40 years," referencing the 43 year anniversary of the landmark Roe v. Wade decision. An appeal to the Kansas Supreme Court is expected [US News report].

Abortion waiting periods and reproductive rights issues [JURIST backgrounder] have been heated topics throughout the US. In May 2015 Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin [official website] signed House Bill 1409 [bill information] into law extending the mandatory [JURIST report] waiting period for women seeking an abortion from 24 to 72 hours. In April 2015 Alabama state representativeTerri Collins [official website] proposed a bill to ban abortion [JURIST report] once a fetal heartbeat has been detected. Also in April 2015 Kansas Governor Sam Brownback [official website] signed a bill [press release] that bans all forms of dismemberment abortion unless necessary to protect the life or health of the mother. In March 2015 Arizona Governor Doug Ducey [official website] signed a bill [JURIST report] that requires abortion providers in the state to tell women that they can reverse the effects of a drug-induced abortion, in addition to barring women from buying any healthcare plan through the federal marketplace that includes coverage for abortions. Also in March 2015 the West Virginia Legislature overrode [JURIST report] the state governor's veto, passing a bill that bans abortion after 20 weeks.

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