Just before the holiday weekend, key arguments were filed with the state Supreme Court of Kansas on behalf of abortionists who want to continue dismembering living unborn babies limb from limb until they bleed to death, and from attorneys for the state Attorney General’s office who are defending the state’s ban on dismemberment abortions.
Last April 2015, Kansas was the first state to pass “The Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act.” Four other states have now enacted this law –Oklahoma, West Virginia, Mississippi, and Alabama. The bill is on the governor’s desk in Louisiana and expected to be signed perhaps today.
The federal constitutionality of this ban has not been tested, but it was drafted as the logical consequence of the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2007 Gonzales ruling upholding a federal ban on heinous partial-birth abortion method abortions. Gonzales was based on the reasoning that abortionists’ preferences cannot trump compelling governmental interests in regulating the medical profession and voicing respect for human life and dignity.
BACKGROUND, KANSAS LAWSUIT
Attorneys from the New York City-based Center for Reproductive Rights (CRR) challenged the Kansas dismemberment ban in state court last June on behalf of Kansas City suburban father-daughter abortionists, Herb Hodes and Traci Nauser. They asserted that a hitherto-undiscovered Kansas constitutional foundation exists for abortions—one that precludes banning dismemberment method abortions.
Shawnee District Court Judge Larry Hendricks found the novel CRR position so appealing that within moments of the oral arguments last July, he imposed an injunction preventing the ban from going into effect.
Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt sought immediately to undo that injunction with the Kansas state Court of Appeals. However the Court of Appeals rendered a split ruling January 22, allowing these abortions to continue unabated.
Both sides appealed to the state Supreme Court. In addition to arguing that the trial judge’s conclusion was in error, Schmidt’s office argued that the appellate ruling was –in fact—actually a 7-6-1 decision and is hopelessly confusing. The state Supreme Court has since agreed to review the matter but the hearing date has not yet been set.
If the claim that abortion is grounded in the state Constitution succeeds, the strategy will undoubtedly be used in every other state. Thus these new legal filings last week are of the utmost importance not just to Kansas but to all states. Of paramount concern is that credence will be given to these abortion attorneys’ claims:
- that a state Constitution must be contorted to contain an even more radical basis for unlimited abortion than that of the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v Wade ruling;
- that the Kansas Bill of Rights language about “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” (that many states share) must elevate woman’s “self-determination” and “decisional autonomy” and ignore the distinct, separate rights of the fully-human unborn child; and
- that Courts must be emboldened to ignore plain reading standards and accept “evolving” reasons to invalidate duly-passed legislation.
On Jan . 22, 2016, seven of the 14 members of the Kansas state Court of Appeals firmly rejected those claims. They acknowledged what seven other appellate judges ignored—that there is an unborn child’s right to life at stake.
“Because the Kansas Constitution provides no substantive due process right to abortion, our legislature is free to restrict abortion procedures to the extent it finds it appropriate.”
Furthermore, they rightly concluded there is no right to abortion “expressly found in the text” of the state Constitution and that “it should not be done by judicial decree.”
As the Kansas Supreme Court begins consideration of this issue, they:
- should refuse to take the pro-abortion activist stance which invents abortion protection that did not exist in the Kansas pre-Civil War Constitution, nor afterward.
- should properly stay within its judicial boundaries and affirm duly-passed laws that protect tiny unborn girls and boys from inhumane torture.
We can only hope and pray this Court will do the right thing.
LifeNews.com Note: Kathy Ostrowski is the legislative director for Kansans for Life, the state affiliate to the National Right to Life Committee.