Shawnee County District Court Judge Teresa Watson granted a temporary injunction barring the enforcement of a state law that requires physicians to administer abortion-inducing drugs while they are in the room with the patient, effectively preventing abortion pills from being prescribed through telemedicine, after Trust Women, a reproductive clinic in the state, filed a lawsuit challenging the ban.
It comes after the Kansas Court of Appeals sided with Trust Women this June, overturning Watson’s previous denial for an injunction.
The appeals court’s majority opinion concluded that Watson made flaws in her previous decision on the matter, diverging from “well-established Kansas caselaw,” and sent it back to the district court to rule on the injunction again, according to the Topeka Capital-Journal.
Months prior, Kansas voters rejected a ballot amendment that would have removed the right to an abortion from their state constitution. Abortion is currently legal in Kansas up until 22 weeks of pregnancy, though there are other restrictions in place including a 24-hour waiting period.
It’s unclear if abortion clinics will begin prescribing abortion pills, including mifepristone, through telemedicine because the state could appeal the decision to the Kansas Supreme Court.
If the procedure were legalized for telemedicine, it could allow physicians to provide abortions to patients that are in other parts of the state.
Medication abortion has come under a renewed spotlight since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June because the drug could make abortion more accessible in light of a growing number of states limiting access to the procedure. In 2020, medication abortions accounted for over half of all abortions in the United States, according to the Guttmacher Institute.