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Kansas ruling broadens access to abortion, reproductive healthcare

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Farah Siddiqi

(Missouri News Service) A Kansas state court judge has blocked several abortion-related restrictions, in a decision which is bound to have an effect in neighboring Missouri.

It is being considered a win for the Center for Reproductive Rights and Planned Parenthood on behalf of Kansas abortion providers. The ruling blocks laws requiring providers to give government-scripted information to patients, and to impose mandatory waiting periods, which delay care.

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Alice Wang, staff attorney at the Center for Reproductive Rights, argued the restrictions violate the Kansas Constitution, including the rights to abortion and free speech.

"These restrictions are especially harmful now that Roe v. Wade was overturned, and Kansas clinics are overwhelmed with patients from neighboring states where abortion is banned," Wang pointed out. "Abortion is a human right, and Kansans deserve accurate, candid medical information."

Judge Krishnan Christopher Jayaram wrote the restrictions only serve to "stigmatize the procedure and instill fear in patients that are contemplating an abortion, such that they make an alternative choice, based upon disproven and unsupportable claims."

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Emily Wales, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Great Plains, said patients should not be denied care because they printed a form in the wrong color or format.

"We have been forced to turn away patients for reasons that are medically wrong and ethically unjustifiable," Wales pointed out. "Despite post-Dobbs, we'll do as we've always done, provide our patients with expert care informed by best medical practices. Our first question will be about care, and not font size."

There have been hearings on multiple abortion-related laws in Kansas this year, including a ban on the most common procedure used after 14 to 15 weeks of pregnancy, known as dilation and evacuation. Abortion has been illegal in Missouri since last June.