Bold decision derails invasive abortion law

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opinions

June 30, 2015 - 12:00 AM

Of all the bold legal decisions of late none is more so than by Judge Larry Hendricks of Shawnee County District Court in Topeka.
Last week Judge Hendricks ruled a temporary stay of action on Senate Bill 95, which as of Wednesday would have prohibited a common means of abortion in a pregnancy’s second trimester.
The judge said he so ruled because he wants time to determine if the Kansas Constitution should adhere to that of the U.S. Constitution and protect a woman’s reproductive rights, including  a decision whether to terminate a pregnancy.
If the law were enacted, Kansas would be the first state in the nation to prohibit such abortions, which opponents like to refer to as “dismemberment” because the means to extract the fetus may include forceps, clamps and other medical implements.
Instead of a clothes hanger in back alleyways.
Most abortions occur in a pregnancy’s first 12 weeks either by a minimally invasive procedure or by means of a pill, which is effective within the first nine weeks of a pregnancy.
A small percentage of abortions — 10 percent — occur in the second trimester, between the 12th and 20th weeks of a pregnancy. Of those, about 95 percent occur by a method known as dilation and evacuation, which doctors deem most safe. If Kansas bans this method, women opting for an abortion would be forced to undergo more invasive, hence more dangerous, and costly procedures, including inducing a miscarriage.

OPPONENTS contend the state’s constitution does not recognize a woman’s right to terminate a pregnancy. Instead, that should be decided by an external authority — legislators.
Their ultimate goal, of course, is to outlaw all abortions.
And in a perfect world, there would be no need for the procedures.
Every baby would be perfectly formed. Every woman could safely be with child. Every birth would be eagerly anticipated by loving parents. Every home would be a nurturing environment.
But that is not, nor has it ever been, reality.
The majority of U.S. women who have abortions are in their 20s, are unmarried, have one or more children, and face financial hardship, according to the Guttmacher Institute, a center that promotes sexual and reproductive health.
Overall, abortions in the United States have declined by 13 percent since 2011, thanks to better and more widespread use of contraception.
To keep on that track we need to reinforce sex ed in our schools, our public health centers and in our homes.
But above all, we must protect and respect a woman’s reproductive rights.
— Susan Lynn

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