Judge blocks Kansas’ ban on 2nd-trimester procedure opponents call ‘dismemberment abortion’

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TOPEKA, Kan. —  A Kansas judge has blocked the state’s first-in-the-nation ban on an abortion procedure opponents refer to as “dismemberment abortion.”

The decision Thursday from Shawnee County District Court Judge Larry Hendricks came in a lawsuit filed from the New York-based Center for Reproductive Rights. The center represents two Kansas abortion providers and argued the law would force women to undergo riskier procedures or forego abortions.

The judge’s order will stay in effect while he considers the lawsuit further. The new law was supposed to take effect July 1.

It bans a second-trimester procedure that anti-abortion activists call “dismemberment abortion” and was model legislation from the National Right to Life Committee. Kansas was the first state to enact it.

The state’s lawyers argued that there are safe alternative abortion methods.

Attorneys on both sides said Hendrick’s ruling Thursday is significant. They say that if his ruling is upheld, the Kansas Supreme Court could grant more protections on abortion than the U.S. Supreme Court does. Abortion opponents have feared such a result, because they’ve pushed in recent years for new restrictions.