Kansas Constitution Protects Abortion Rights

The Kansas Supreme Court ruled last week that the state constitution guarantees abortion rights, creating a set of protections that are potentially broader than federal ones and would survive changes to the standards set in Roe v. Wade. In a 6-to-1 ruling, judges found that the “right of personal autonomy” laid down in the state constitution implies the right “to control one’s own body,” including for pregnant women. The case stemmed from a 2015 Kansas law banning the abortion procedure called dilation and evacuation, used in about 95 percent of second-trimester abortions. Kansas Treasurer Jake LaTurner, a Republican, said the decision marked “one of the darkest days in our state’s history.” Nine other states have found their constitutions protect abortion rights. Kansas abortion opponents are now working to follow the lead of Tennessee and West Virginia, which passed anti-abortion amendments in response to similar rulings.