Kansas judge places temporary injunction on pro-life informed consent laws

A Kansas judge ruled Monday to temporarily halt several of the state’s pro-life protections, as preliminary court proceedings have determined they may be unconstitutional.

Among the laws blocked by District Judge K. Christopher Jayaram include a 24-hour waiting period mandate for abortions, a requirement that women receive information on abortion pill reversal, informed consent requirements including fetal ultrasound availability and gestational age verification, and a mandate for abortion facility regulations. While the state’s abortion pill reversal law was passed in April, other laws have been on the books for years as part of the “Women’s Right to Know Act” passed in 1997.

State abortion businesses sued to have the laws overturned in June on the grounds that they were unconstitutional and posed an undue burden to women seeking abortion.

“Each day these restrictions were in effect, we have been forced to turn away patients for reasons that are medically wrong and ethically unjustifiable,” said Emily Wales, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Great Plains.

READ: Report: Abortion facilities in 21 states violated laws requiring informed consent

In his opinion, Jayaram noted the abortion industry is likely to succeed in its lawsuit. He ordered the temporary injunction while the case continues to proceed through the court.

“Because a woman’s right to bodily autonomy (including her right to decide whether to terminate or continue a pregnancy) is fundamental, the Court concludes, for purposes of this request for temporary relief, that the State’s rationale and schemes simply do not survive constitutional review,” he wrote in his opinion — despite the fact that other societal laws and restrictions technically infringe on the ‘bodily autonomy’ of individuals by restricting their various behaviors.

Alliance Defending Freedom, which is assisting Kansas Attorney General Kris Kobach in defending the case, countered this argument, noting that women have benefited for decades from informed consent laws.

“These kinds of informed consent laws reflect the long-standing will of the people of Kansas, but Planned Parenthood challenged the law because it impacted their bottom line. Planned Parenthood has made it clear that its goal is to withhold information from women, bypass ultrasounds, and refuse to meet with women before an abortion,” said ADF spokesperson Bernadette Tasy.

Pro-life organization Kansans for Life also decried the judge’s decision.

“This is a nightmare for women and a dream come true for the profit-driven abortion industry,” said Danielle Underwood, Communications Director of Kansans for Life. “Women will pay the price for the deceitful practices of the abortion industry that consistently puts its own profits above all else.” 

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