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Kansas Abortion Laws

Abortion is legal in Kansas until the fetus reaches a gestational age of 22 weeks. Thereafter, abortion is legal only if the abortion is necessary to preserve the life of the pregnant woman or to prevent a substantial and irreversible physical impairment of a major bodily function of the pregnant woman.

Kansas Abortion Law After Dobbs

In 1973, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its decision in Roe v. Wade, finding that the individual right to privacy included a woman's decision to end a pregnancy. The case provided a constitutional right to abortion, legalizing abortion services nationwide.

In 2022, overruling decades of case precedent, the current Supreme Court decided Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization, rejecting any constitutional protection for abortion. The court overturned its prior ruling in Roe and returned the authority to regulate and even prohibit abortion to the states.

In the aftermath of Dobbs, abortion rights vary from state to state. Some states enacted abortion bans while others approved new abortion restrictions. In contrast, many states took steps to enact protections for reproductive rights in state law.

In 2019, the Kansas Supreme Court ruled that the Kansas Constitution provided an independent basis for the right to abortion. It upheld earlier decisions by lower state courts granting an injunction against a state law that would have ended most second-trimester abortions. As a result, the Dobbs decision did not result in immediate changes to abortion care in Kansas.

Kansas Abortion Statutes

Like many other states, abortion laws in Kansas reflect the tension between individual rights and political views related to abortion. The state government includes a substantial Republican majority in the Kansas legislature who oppose abortion. In contrast, Governor Laura Kelly is a pro-choice Democrat.

Although abortion remains legal in Kansas until the fetus reaches 22 weeks gestational age, the state still maintains several restrictive laws related to abortion.  These include:

  • A 24-hour waiting period before an abortion procedure or prescription related to abortion medication
  • Required counseling on abortion alternatives, risks associated with both abortion and carrying the pregnancy to term, medical benefits, financial support available for a child, the option to view an ultrasound or to listen for a fetal heartbeat, and theories on the fetus' ability to feel pain at 20 weeks or later
  • Prohibitions on government funding assistance for abortion
  • Required discussion of questionable methods to reverse a medication abortion

In cases involving minors (under 18 years of age), Kansas law has extensive requirements that abortion providers must meet before an abortion can be performed. This includes written consent of the minor and a parent or guardian, unless a judicial bypass has been granted.

In general, the law requires a parent, guardian, or adult who is 21 or older to accompany the minor and assist them with decision-making.

Kansas State Constitution

When the Kansas Supreme Court announced a state constitutional right to abortion in 2019, it prevented the enforcement of a restrictive Kansas law passed by lawmakers in 2015 that banned dismemberment abortion. Had the law taken effect, it would have outlawed the safest procedure used for second-trimester abortions at the time.

In its decision, the Kansas Supreme Court concluded that the Bill of Rights in the Kansas Constitution included the right to bodily autonomy. This right encompasses a woman's right to make her own decisions about her body, health, family formation, and family life - decisions that can include whether to continue a pregnancy.

The Court held that for the government to interfere with this right, it must demonstrate it has a compelling interest and that it tailors its actions to its interest in a very narrow overview.

Kansans for Life, an anti-choice organization, allied with several Kansas lawmakers sought to challenge the court ruling at the ballot box. In 2022, they succeeded in placing a proposed constitutional amendment on the primary ballot in August of that year.

Supporters called the measure the "Value Them Both Amendment." In reality, the amendment would have removed all protection for abortion from the state constitution, permitting legislators to pass a near-total ban in the future. Kansas voters defeated the measure, with over 59% voting "No."

Kansas Abortion Laws at a Glance

State abortion laws vary after Dobbs. In several states, the law has become unsettled. Below you can find further details of Kansas law with links to appropriate code sections.

Relevant Kansas Abortion Laws

Kansas Statutes, Chapter 65, Public Health

Article 67 - Abortion - 65-6701 et seq.

  • 65-6701 - Definitions

  • 65-6703 - Abortion when fetus is viable

  • 65-6704 - Abortion upon minor

  • 65-6705 - Written consent of certain persons

  • 65-6709 - Informed consent

  • 65-6716 - Required notice to patients receiving medication abortion

  • 65-6721 - Partial-birth abortion

  • 65-6723 - Abortion of allegedly pain-capable fetus

  • 65-6724 - Certain abortions prohibited

  • 65-2726 - Abortion based on gender

  • 65-6733 - Prohibition on certain funding for abortion

When Is Abortion Legal?

Abortion is legal in Kansas until the fetus reaches a gestational age of 22 weeks. Thereafter, abortion is legal only if the abortion is necessary to preserve the life of the pregnant woman or to prevent a substantial and irreversible physical impairment of a major bodily function of the pregnant woman.

Consent Requirements

Adults: Except in cases of medical emergency, a pregnant person must provide written informed consent 24 hours prior to abortion procedure or treatment

Minors: Except in the case of medical emergency, a pregnant minor must provide written informed consent 24 hours prior to abortion procedure or treatment. Minors must be accompanied by a parent, guardian, or adult over age 21 and must have written consent of parent or guardian. A minor can seek a judicial bypass of the parent or guardian consent requirements. The court can waive requirements upon finding minor sufficiently mature or that the requirements are not in minor's best interest.

Penalty for Unlawful Abortion

Unlawful abortion of a viable fetus is a Class A nonperson misdemeanor for first offense and a severity level 10 nonperson felony for second or subsequent offenses.

Unlawful abortion of an allegedly pain-capable fetus (22 weeks gestation or later) or an abortion based on gender is a Class A person misdemeanor for first offense and a severity level 10 person felony for second or subsequent offenses.

Committing a partial-birth abortion is a severity level 8 person felony.

Availability of Medication Abortion

Yes. Medication abortion is available in Kansas.

Residency Requirements for Patients

None.

Physician Licensing Requirements

Abortions must be performed by a physician. A physician means a person licensed to practice medicine and surgery in Kansas.

In post-viability abortions and those at 22 weeks gestation or later, two physicians must be involved. The second physician cannot be financially associated with first physician. Both must certify the necessity of the abortion.

Note: State laws are subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts that include federal decisions, ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the status of any state law(s) you are reviewing.

How Kansas Compares to Other States

In a state with conservative political leanings, voters in Kansas have preserved abortion access with the defeat of the proposed constitutional amendment in 2022. With a ban on most abortions after 22 weeks, Kansas falls in line with the majority of states that permit abortion until fetal viability.

In contrast, about 17 states currently prohibit most abortions. This includes states that border Kansas, such as Missouri and Oklahoma.

A Note About Medication Abortion

A recent study shows that medication abortions account for some 63% of abortions in the U.S. Most often, abortion pills follow a two-drug regimen. In many states, telemedicine appointments may allow a patient to receive treatment without ever entering an abortion clinic.

In 2000, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the use of mifepristone, one of the two drugs used in medication abortion. The FDA later amended its regulations to expand access to the drug and the delivery of prescriptions through the mail.

In 2022, abortion opponents filed a challenge in federal court to the use of mifepristone. At the same time, states where abortion remained legal filed a separate lawsuit to protect access to the drug. The U.S. Supreme Court has heard the case. A ruling is expected in 2024.

Research the Law

More Resources on Kansas Abortion Laws

Abortion decisions can have serious legal and emotional consequences. You can visit FindLaw’s sections on Abortion, Birth Control, and Healthcare Law for additional articles and information on reproductive health.

Navigating abortion laws can present many challenges. Consider talking with a Kansas healthcare attorney in your area if you would like legal assistance regarding abortion or other issues surrounding reproductive healthcare.

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