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Providers File Suit Against Kansas Law Banning Certain Abortions

Providers File Suit Against Kansas Law Banning Certain Abortions

June 2, 2015 — The Center for Reproductive Rights on Monday filed a lawsuit on behalf of two physicians in state court against a Kansas law (SB 95) that bans physicians from performing a certain abortion procedure, AP/ABC News reports (Hegeman, AP/ABC News, 6/1).

According to Reuters, the court has not yet scheduled a hearing (Bailey, Reuters, 6/1).

Law Details

The law, which was drafted by the National Right to Life Committee and takes effect July 1, will permit exceptions only if continuing the pregnancy would result in a woman's death or the irreversible physical impairment of a major bodily function. The law does not include exceptions for cases of incest or rape. It also does not include an exception if a woman is experiencing mental health issues (Women's Health Policy Report, 4/29).

Details of Lawsuit

CRR filed the lawsuit in Shawnee County District Court on behalf of Herbert Hodes and Traci Nauser, ob-gyns at the Center for Women's Health in Overland Park, Kansas (AP/ABC News, 6/1). Their clinic is one of only three abortion facilities in the state (Reuters, 6/1). The lawsuit asks the district court to block implementation of the law and to declare it unconstitutional.

The providers contend that, under the law, doctors would be forced to change their manner of providing abortion care, resulting in practices that increase the complexity of abortions and the health risks to women. Specifically, the lawsuit states that the law is "an affront both to patients' right to be free from unnecessary medical procedures and physicians' ability to act in what they believe is the best interests of their patients and in accordance with their ethical obligations."

Comments

CRR President and CEO Nancy Northup in a statement said, "We are confident this court will see the harm this law would inflict upon Kansas women and block it before even one woman is denied the care that she and her doctor have decided is best."

Meanwhile, the office of Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt (R) said it would defend the ban in court (AP/ABC News, 6/1). Schmidt in April told the state Legislature that it could cost the state up to $450,000 to defend the law (Women's Health Policy Report, 4/29).