A Kansas judge ruled Monday that several of the state’s abortion laws should be put on hold because they violate bodily autonomy and the First Amendment, according to court documents.
A group of abortion providers, including the Comprehensive Health of Planned Parenthood Great Plains, filed a lawsuit in June against state officials arguing that state laws, which include requiring doctors to listen to the fetus’ heartbeat and to warn about the potential long-term risks of abortion, such as breast cancer and premature births for future pregnancies, are “designed to shame and stigmatize people,” according to The Kansas City Star. Johnson County District Court Judge Christopher Jayaram issued a temporary injunction halting the law and blocking an older piece of legislation that required women to wait 24 hours before getting a chemical abortion, according to the lawsuit. (RELATED: Red State AG Sues Federal Government For Taking Millions Out Of Its Pocket, Giving It To Planned Parenthood)
Following the Supreme Court’s decision in June 2022 to overturn Roe v. Wade, Kansas’ number of abortions increased by 57% that year after bordering states like Missouri, Oklahoma and Arkansas banned the practice, according to The Kansas City Star. The state’s current law bans abortions after 22 weeks and requires doctors to warn pregnant women considering abortion about the potential side effects and that a chemical abortion may be reversed with medication.
Jayaram argued that the plaintiffs were likely to succeed on the merits of their case and that the “State’s rationale and schemes also violate the fundamental rights of ‘free speech’ held by the provider plaintiffs themselves,” according to court documents.
“Those constitutional guarantees include the people’s rights to make their own decisions regarding their bodies, health, family formation, and family life decisions that can include whether to continue a pregnancy—all of which are necessary corollaries to the right of bodily autonomy,” he wrote. “Similarly, the right to freedom of speech, whether to speak or avoid compelled speech, is also a fundamental right that our state founders held dear and enshrined in the Bill of Rights, thus, it demands protection under a strict scrutiny standard in this case.”
The judge’s order is not permanent and will remain in place while he considers the lawsuit in its entirety, according to Reuters.
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