Attorney General Derek Schmidt to ask Kansas Supreme Court to revisit abortion ruling

Topeka — Attorney General Derek Schmidt said Wednesday that he will ask the Kansas Supreme Court to reconsider a historic 2019 ruling declaring access to abortion a “fundamental right” under the state constitution.

Schmidt filed a notice Tuesday that he plans to appeal an April lower court ruling striking down a Kansas law banning a common second-trimester abortion procedure as “unconstitutional and unenforceable.” Shawnee County District Judge Teresa Watson’s decision was the first on abortion from a lower court since the 2019 decision from the state’s highest court.

Kansas has been unable to enforce its ban on what the law calls “dismemberment abortion” since it was enacted in 2015 because of a lawsuit from two abortion providers. The Supreme Court’s decision came in that lawsuit, but the justices returned the case to district court for further review of the ban.

The Republican-controlled Legislature earlier this year approved a proposed amendment to the state constitution to overturn the Supreme Court’s 2019 decision. Voters will decide whether to approve it in the August 2022 primary election.

Schmidt, a Republican, criticized the 2019 decision as having “breathtaking” implications for state courts being able to “defeat democracy” on public policy issues. Schmidt is running for governor in 2022.

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