Kansas Supreme Court upholds abortion rights, blocks ban

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TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) -

The Latest on the Kansas Supreme Court's ruling on abortion rights and second-trimester procedure (all times local):

9:40 a.m.

The Kansas Supreme Court has ruled for the first time that the state constitution protects abortion rights and has blocked a first-in-the-nation ban on a common second trimester procedure.

The court's ruling Friday was a major victory for abortion rights supporters in a state with an anti-abortion Legislature.

It prevents the state from enforcing a 2015 law that could have reduced second-trimester abortions and allows challenges to other restrictions under the state constitution.

The court said language in the Kansas Constitution guaranteeing individual rights protects a woman's right to obtain an abortion independent of the U.S. Constitution. Kansas courts could strike down restrictions that have been upheld by the federal courts.

The decision also stymies the attempt by abortion opponents to outlaw what the law described as "dismemberment abortion."

5:50 a.m.

Kansas' highest court is preparing to rule on whether the state constitution protects abortion rights.

The state Supreme Court said it would issue a decision Friday in a lawsuit filed by two abortion providers in 2015 against a Kansas law banning a common second-trimester procedure.

A trial-court judge ruled that the state constitution's Bill of Rights provides protections for abortion rights that are independent of protections under the U.S. Constitution.

If the Kansas Supreme Court agrees, state courts could invalidate abortion restrictions upheld by the federal courts. Such a decision also would likely spur an attempt from abortion opponents to amend the state constitution.

The law's fate also is at issue. It was the first of its kind in the nation in 2015 but has yet to be enforced.