[JURIST] The Kansas legislature [official website] on Wednesday approved SB 95 [text], a proposed ban on an abortion procedure typically used in second trimester abortions, becoming the first state in the country to do so. The procedure, dilation and evacuation, is used in about 8 percent of all abortions conducted in Kansas. The measure was drafted [AP report] by the National Right to Life Committee [advocacy website], which described the procedure as “brutal” [press release]. Opponents of the measure, such as Laura McQuade, the CEO and Chapter President of Planned Parenthood [advocacy website], said that “[the Kansas legislature is] willing to put the health of women in Kansas at risk in order to advance their extreme political agenda.” The ban would outlaw the procedure except in cases where the life of the woman is in jeopardy or there would be irreparable health consequences. The bill now goes before Governor Sam Brownback, who has said he will sign it into law.
Reproductive rights [JURIST backgrounder] have remained a divisive issue throughout the country for decades. Earlier this month a judge for the US District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin [official website] ruled [JURIST report] that a state law requiring doctors performing abortions to have privileges to admit patients to a nearby hospital is unconstitutional. Also this month the American Civil Liberties Union [advocacy website] challenged [JURIST report] an Alabama law that allows fetuses legal representation in cases where minors seek abortions. Also in March the West Virginia Legislature overrode the governor’s veto to pass a bill [JURIST report] banning abortions after 20 weeks. In February Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood [official website] asked the US Supreme Court [official website] to allow the state to enforce [JURIST report] an abortion law that was declared unconstitutional by a federal court in 2014. Also in February the Montana Supreme Court [official website] reversed [JURIST report] a decision granting summary judgment to Planned Parenthood in a case challenging two Montana abortion parental consent laws, ordering further proceedings. In January the US House of Representatives [official website] passed a bill [JURIST report] that would ban abortions supported by federal funding.