The Latest: As Kansas court blocks law, governor is honored

AP News
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Posted: Jan 22, 2016 6:44 PM

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The latest on the Kansas Court of Appeals decision on whether to allow the state's first-in-the-nation ban on a common second-trimester abortion method (all times local):

5:20 p.m.

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback has received an award from a national anti-abortion group as a court in his state blocked enforcement of the law that prompted the honor.

Brownback's office confirmed that he was in Washington on Friday to receive the award from the New York-based National Pro-Life Religious Council.

The council honored the Republican governor over the state's enactment last year of the nation's first ban on a common second-trimester procedure that critics call "dismemberment abortion."

But the Kansas Court of Appeals on Friday blocked enforcement of the law. It split 7-7, allowing a trial-court judge's ruling against the law to stand.

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5 p.m.

Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt says he'll ask the state Supreme Court to review a ruling from a lower court that blocks the state from enforcing its first-in-the-nation ban on a common second-trimester abortion procedure.

The Republican attorney general said in a statement that Friday's ruling from the Kansas Court of Appeals provides little legal clarity.

The Court of Appeals split 7-7, allowing a trial-court judge's decision against the 2015 law to stand. The split means the Court of Appeals upheld the trial-court judge's finding that the state constitution protects abortion rights independently of the U.S. Constitution.

Schmidt said he's always anticipated that the Kansas Supreme Court will have to decide the issue.

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12:15 p.m.

A national abortion-rights group says the Kansas Court of Appeals has issued a groundbreaking ruling in blocking enforcement of a ban on a common second-trimester abortion procedure.

The New York-based Center for Reproductive Rights noted that the Friday decision was the first time an appellate court in the conservative state said the Kansas Constitution protects abortion rights independently of the U.S. Constitution.

The decision was 7-7, allowing a trial-court judge's injunction against the 2015 law to stand.

Other abortion rights advocates also hailed the decision. Julie Burkhart, founder of the group Trust Women and the South Wind Women's Center, says she's elated.

Burkhart says "women deserve the right to access necessary reproductive health care without undue governmental interference."

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11:15 a.m.

An anti-abortion leader and a top Kansas legislator are dismayed by a Kansas Court of Appeals ruling that blocks enforcement of the state's first-in-the-nation ban on a common second-trimester abortion procedure.

David Gittrich of Kansans for Life said his group will work to oust Kansas Court of Appeals judges in elections later this year. Gittrich says the judges aren't accountable to voters, but "they will be accountable to God."

Kansas Senate Majority Leader Terry Bruce says he can't imagine a scenario where the framers of the Kansas Constitution meant to legalize abortion.

Appeals court judges split 7-7 in a ruling Friday over whether the Kansas Constitution protects abortion rights independently of the U.S. Constitution. The split means a lower court judge's injunction blocking the law remains in effect.

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10 a.m.

The Kansas Court of Appeals ruled in a split decision that the state's constitution protects a woman's right to an abortion independent of the rights granted by the U.S. Constitution.

The court made the statement Friday in a 7-7 ruling that maintains a temporary hold on the state's first-in-the-nation ban on a common second-trimester abortion method.

Tie votes from the appeals court uphold the lower-court ruling being appealed. That means seven judges agreed with a lower court judge, who ruled that the Kansas Constitution's Bill of Rights has general statements about personal liberties that create independent protections for abortion rights.

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9:40 a.m.

The Kansas Court of Appeals has refused to allow the state's first-in-the-nation ban on a common second-trimester abortion method to take effect.

The court released the ruling Friday, the anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision.

A lower court put the law on hold last year. The state's second-highest court upheld that decision Friday, though an appeal to the Kansas Supreme Court is expected.

The case comes in a lawsuit filed by two abortion providers who say the 2015 law unconstitutionally burdens women seeking abortions.

The law prohibits doctors from using forceps or similar instruments on a live fetus to remove it from the womb in pieces. The Center for Reproductive Rights says the procedure is the safest and most common second-trimester abortion method in the U.S.

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1 a.m.

The Kansas Court of Appeals is deciding whether to allow the state's first-in-the-nation ban on a common second-trimester abortion method.

The court is expected to release its decision Friday, the anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision.

The lawsuit was filed by two abortion providers who said the 2015 law unconstitutionally burdens women seeking to end their pregnancies. A lower court has temporarily put the law on hold.

At issue is whether the Kansas Constitution's broad language about individual liberty protects abortion rights.

The law prohibits doctors from using forceps or similar instruments on a live fetus to remove it from the womb in pieces. The Center for Reproductive Rights says the procedure is the safest and most common in the U.S. in the second trimester.