TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The Latest on the legal battle over banning telemedicine abortions in Kansas (all times local):
A Kansas law meant to ban telemedicine abortions has become entangled in larger court battles over abortion and the legality of the practice remains in doubt.
A state court judge heard arguments Friday on an abortion rights group’s request to block the new law from taking effect in January.
Since October, a Wichita clinic has given women abortion pills and had them consult with an offsite doctor by teleconferencing. The clinic also hopes to offer telemedicine abortions to women in rural areas.
District Judge Franklin Theis suggested during a hearing Friday that the new law is an “air ball” that doesn’t authorize criminal prosecutions.
But Theis didn’t rule after state attorneys suggested other state abortion laws might come into play. Those provisions are tied up in another pending lawsuit.
A state court judge is considering whether to block Kansas from enforcing a ban on telemedicine abortions that are to start in January.
With telemedicine abortions, women in rural areas are allowed to get abortion pills without an in-office consultation in a city clinic.
On Friday, Judge Franklin Theis will hear an abortion rights group’s request to stop the law.
The Center for Reproductive Rights contends the ban violates the state constitution by treating women seeking abortions differently from other telemedicine patients. The group says the law places an undue burden on women seeking abortions.
The center sued on behalf of Trust Women Wichita, which operates a clinic that this year began to offer abortions through telemedicine so that women in rural areas would not have to come to Wichita.