TOPEKA, Kan. — A judge on Thursday blocked Kansas’ first-in-the-nation ban on an abortion procedure that opponents describe as dismembering a fetus, concluding that the law would likely present too big of an obstacle for women seeking to end their pregnancies.

Shawnee County District Court Judge Larry Hendricks sided with New York-based Center for Reproductive Rights, agreeing to put the law on hold while he considers a lawsuit filed on behalf of two Kansas abortion providers.

The center argued that the law would force women to undergo riskier procedures or forgo abortions. It also noted that the procedure is used in 95 percent of second-trimester abortions nationwide, and said previous U.S. Supreme Court rulings don’t allow a state to ban the most common method for terminating a pregnancy.

Hendricks said those arguments would likely prevail in court, even though alternative abortion methods still would be legal. “The alternatives do not appear to be medically necessary or reasonable,” Hendricks said from the bench Thursday.

The law was supposed to take effect July 1.

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback, a Republican and strong abortion opponent, was disappointed by the decision and believes “Kansas law should protect human dignity for all Kansans,” said spokeswoman Eileen Hawley.

The state argued that it has an interest in protecting the dignity of human life and promoting more humane alternatives.

The new law would ban doctors from using forceps, clamps, scissors or similar instruments on a live fetus to remove it from the womb in pieces. Such instruments are commonly used in dilation and evacuation procedures, but Kansas legislators said using them on a live fetus is inhumane.

The new law includes exceptions to protect the life and physical health of a woman, and wouldn’t apply if doctors ensure a fetus dies before using the instruments.