A Kansas judge decided Monday the state cannot prevent women from accessing telemedicine abortions, ruling that a law banning the virtual procedure holds no legal weight.
District Judge Franklin Theis ruled Monday the Kansas Telemedicine Act, which would outlaw abortion via a virtual appointment, has no legal bearing, according to The Associated Press. Theis called the law an “air ball” in a previous hearing.
Theis’s ruling comes after the Center for Reproductive Rights filed a lawsuit on behalf of Trust Women Wichita against the state in early November over its telemedicine law. Trust Women “opens clinics that provide abortion care in underserved communities so that all women can make their own decisions about their health care,” according to its Twitter handle.
BREAKING: We’re challenging Kansas’s telemedicine ban which threatens basic access to abortion. Kansans already face a slew of anti-abortion restrictions. We won’t allow lawmakers to continue to pass ideologically driven laws targeting women’s health. https://t.co/Ymh8vv2Y95 pic.twitter.com/jwy5eM5lrS
— Center for Reproductive Rights (@ReproRights) November 8, 2018
Telemedicine abortions have been made available in Kansas to make the pill-induced procedures more accessible, especially to women in rural areas, the AP reported.
The measure also requires state insurance companies to cover a number of telemedicine services that are otherwise covered during in-person visits to the doctor. (RELATED: California Senate Passes Bill Mandating Abortion Pills On College Campuses)
“By treating women seeking abortions differently from similarly-situated patients seeking all other forms of medical care delivered via telemedicine, the Act violates the rights of Plaintiff’s patients to equal protection under the law,” reads the lawsuit, according to The Wichita Eagle.
“This is a good outcome,” said Trust Women attorney Bob Eye, applauding Theis’s ruling.
Pro-lifers, however, are unhappy with Monday’s decision to permit telemedicine abortions. Kansans for Life executive director Mary Kay Culp called Theis’s ruling “infuriating,” the AP reported.
“This judge has a long history of taking laws designed by the Legislature to protect unborn babies and women and turning them into laws that instead protect the abortion industry,” Culp added.
More than a dozen other states prohibit telemedicine abortions, according to the Guttmacher Institute.
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