Reproductive Rights

Kansas Has Banned the Safest, Most Common Kind of Second-Trimester Abortion

Kansas Governor Sam Brownback (R), who is openly anti-abortion, just signed into law a bill that makes Kansas the first state to ban most second-trimester abortions.

via Gage Skidmore
via Gage Skidmore

SB95, which was drafted by the National Right to Life Committee, will take effect July 1. The bill outlaws a “dismemberment” abortion, which essentially bans any dilation and evacuation procedure; this procedure is used in most second-trimester abortions and in about 9 percent of all abortions performed in Kansas. Pro-choice advocates are not sure if they will challenge the law in court, and are unsure how much of an impact the bill could have because its language is not clear.

“We’ve never seen this language before,” said Elizabeth Nash, senior state issues associate for the Guttmacher Institute. “It’s not medical language, so it’s a little bit difficult to figure out what the language would do.”

Opponents of the bill also say the graphic language used in SB95 is sensational, is not medical, and is used to gain supporters.


The dilate-and-evacuate method is the safest for second-trimester abortions, according to many professionals. Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri President Laura McQuade says the procedure is “considered the safest across the board for women’s health.”

“This legislation could force physicians to provide substandard care to their patients,” McQuade said in a statement. “The bill not only fails to improve women’s health and safety but puts them in harm’s way by denying doctors the ability to provide the safest care available for their patients based on their individual medical circumstances.”

SB95 is part of a large ongoing push to outlaw abortion. In the first three months of 2015 alone, nine abortion restrictions have been enacted and 53 abortion restrictions have been approved by one legislative chamber or more. It also  isn’t the first anti-abortion restriction Gov. Brownback has signed. He told lawmakers to create a “culture of life” when he took office in 2011.

Media Resources: Huffington Post 4/7/2015; Guttmacher Institute 4/2/2015; The Kansas City Star 3/26/2015; Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri 3/25/2015; USA Today 4/20/2013

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