Kansas Supreme Court Holds Hearing on New Law Banning Dismemberment Abortions

State   |   Tom Ciesielka   |   Mar 16, 2017   |   6:14PM   |   Topeka, Kansas

Today, the Kansas Supreme Court heard arguments in a lawsuit dealing with the state’s law prohibiting the performance of dismemberment (dilation and evacuation) abortions on live, unborn children.  The Thomas More Society’s friend of the court (amicus) brief in Hodes v. Schmidt supports the ban, which is being challenged by two abortionists, Dr. Herbert Hodes and his daughter, Dr. Traci Nauser.  The law was passed by the Kansas legislature and signed into law by Governor Sam Brownback.

The plaintiffs argue that the measure violates Section One of the Kansas Bill of Rights, which provides that, “all men are possessed of equal and inalienable natural rights, among which are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”  Hodes and Nauser insist that this phrasing guarantees a woman a right to abortion at any stage.  A state trial court entered a temporary injunction against the ban and a divided appellate court affirmed that injunction.

The Thomas More Society brief was filed by Special Counsel Paul Benjamin Linton on behalf of the Family Research Council, a national organization dedicated to promotion of marriage, family and the sanctity of human life. Linton maintains that the Kansas Bill of Rights’ provision cited does not create a right to abortion in Kansas and therefore cannot be used to block enforcement of the state law that aims to end the widely-opposed gruesome practice of dismemberment abortions.

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A constitutional scholar, Linton reviews similar provisions from 28 other states, none of which support the view that Kansas’ Bill of Rights provision creates a right to abortion. In fact, Kansas outlawed abortion until Roe v. Wade. Linton points out that Kansas courts have never previously interpreted Section One of the Kansas Bill of Rights to create judicially enforceable substantive rights, and he demonstrates that the dismembering of live, unborn children has no foundation in the Kansas constitutional law.

Read the Brief Amicus Curiae of the Family Research Council filed by the Thomas More Society in the case of Hodes v. Schmidt, heard March 16, 2017, in the Supreme Court of Kansas here