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Sam Brownback

Appeals court: Kansas Constitution protects abortion rights

The Kansas Court of Appeals refused Friday to implement the state's first-in-the-nation ban on a common second-trimester abortion method, ruling in a split but groundbreaking decision that the conservative state's constitution protects abortion rights independently from the U.S. Constitution.

The 7-7 ruling — released on the anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision — could be used by abortion rights supporters to challenge other state laws restricting abortion. If the decision is upheld, it would allow state courts to protect a woman's right to end her pregnancy beyond federal court rulings.

Tie votes uphold the ruling being appealed,...

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