Kansas Supreme Court rules state constitution protects right to abortion

The Kansas Supreme Court ruled Friday that the state's constitution protects a woman's right to access an abortion.

"Among the rights is the right of personal autonomy," the justices wrote in a 6-1 decision. "This right allows a woman to make her own decisions regarding her body, health, family formation, and family life—decisions that can include whether to continue a pregnancy."


The case centered on a 2015 Kansas law that banned a second-trimester abortion procedure called "dilation and evacuation."

The statute banned those types of abortions except when necessary to preserve the life of the mother, prevent impairment of a major bodily function of the mother or if the fetus is already dead.

The justices ruled that the ability to control one's own body is protected under the state constitution's rights to liberty and pursuit of happiness.

"Pregnant women, like men, possess these rights," they wrote.

Abortion-rights advocates said the ruling could pave the way for litigation challenging restrictions in other states.

“As this decision makes clear, attempts to undermine that fundamental right by banning safe and accepted methods of abortion cannot stand," said Nancy Northup, president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights.

Updated at 12:39 p.m.