Kansas Constitutional Amendment Would Say “There is No Right to Abortion”

State   |   Micaiah Bilger   |   Jan 16, 2020   |   4:51PM   |   Topeka, KS

Kansas pro-life leaders introduced a state constitutional amendment Thursday that could keep their state from becoming the “wild west of the abortion industry.”

The Wichita Eagle reports the “Value Them Both” amendment would recognize that there is no “right to abortion” or taxpayer-funded abortions in the Kansas Constitution.

Pro-life leaders emphasized the need for the amendment after the Kansas Supreme Court found a so-called “right to abortion” in their state constitution in 2019. That ruling jeopardizes Kansas abortion regulations that protect women and babies, pro-life leaders said Thursday at a press conference.

“Unlimited abortion hurts both women and children,” said Jeanne Gawdun of Kansans for Life. “[The amendment] safeguards both women and babies from what soon could be an unregulated abortion industry created by the recent ruling …”

The amendment would have to pass the state legislature and then be approved by voters to be added to the constitution. According to the Eagle, pro-life advocates hope it will pass in time for the August primary ballot.

Kansas Senate President Susan Wagle promised that the amendment will be a priority this year.

“We are going to pass a constitutional amendment that values both women and children,” she said to a room packed with pro-life advocates and lawmakers.

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Gawdun said the measure will restore to Kansans the ability to regulate the abortion industry and protect women and children.

Without it, Kansas could become the “wild west of the abortion industry,” said Brittany Jones of the Family Policy Alliance. This could mean forcing taxpayers to fund elective abortions and allowing unrestricted abortions up to birth, as well as ending informed consent requirements and parental consent for minors.

Here’s more from the Wichita Eagle:

The proposal comes after the Kansas Supreme Court issued a landmark ruling last spring finding that the state constitution guarantees a woman’s right to an abortion. The decision means that, at least for now, the right to an abortion would continue to be protected in Kansas even if it’s one day struck down at the federal level.

The amendment says that the state constitution doesn’t require government funding of abortions and “does not create or secure a right to abortion.” It also says the Legislature is allowed to pass laws on abortion to the extent permitted by the U.S. Constitution.

“This proposed amendment allows us as legislators to continue to regulate and have oversight over the abortion industry,” Rep. Susan Concannon, a Beloit Republican, said.

In 2018, West Virginia voters passed a similar state constitutional amendment after decades of being forced by a court ruling to fund elective abortions with taxpayer dollars. The amendment will make it easier for state lawmakers to pass pro-life laws in the future.

Iowa and Kentucky also are considering pro-life amendments to their state constitutions this year. Louisiana voters will have a similar opportunity to add a pro-life amendment to their constitution in November.

These amendments are important because the abortion industry often turns to the courts to overturn pro-life laws. Some state courts have found a so-called “right to abortion” in their state constitutions, and these decisions have been used to force taxpayers to fund abortions and restrict the state legislature from passing even minor, common sense abortion restrictions.