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Kansas appeals “abortion right” decision to state Supreme Court

by | Jul 31, 2015

By Kathy Ostrowski, legislative director
Kansans for Life

Editor’s note. An earlier edition of this story appeared here. 

Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt

Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt

The Kansas Attorney General’s office is fighting a court ruling last month that the 1859 state constitution contains a “fundamental” right to abortion, ”independent and separate from” that declared by the U.S. Supreme Court.

On Wednesday, the office of pro-life A.G. Derek Schmidt filed a motion to rush that issue up to the Kansas Supreme Court, bypassing the state court of appeals. Abortion attorneys are expected to file a similar request.

The legal challenge at the heart of this was brought in June against the first-in-nation Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act.

Dismemberment abortions are defined as intentionally causing the death of a living unborn child in the uterus by ripping him/her apart “through the use of clamps, grasping forceps, tongs, scissors or similar instruments.”

The plaintiff is the Center for Women’s Health, which is the office of Kansas father-daughter abortionists, Herb Hodes and Traci Nauser. CWH attorneys couldn’t have asked for more from the ruling of Shawnee County Judge Larry Hendricks last month.

Judge Hendricks not only issued a temporary injunction that blocked the dismemberment ban from going into effect, but also grounded the decision on a hitherto-undiscovered state “constitutional” abortion right (www.nationalrighttolifenews.org/news/2015/07/kansas-judge-enjoins-unborn-child-protection-from-dismemberment-abortion-act/#.VbuVqPNViko).

The Kansas A.G. attorneys assert that the state supreme court is the correct venue for ruling on whether a-never-before-declared right to abortion is found in the pre-Civil War constitution –adopted at a time when abortion was illegal in every state.

The A.G. seeks a ruling on the state constitutional question and whether certain federal abortion rulings were incorrectly interpreted.

The A.G. filing urges the Kansas Supreme Court to move expeditiously for several reasons, including the existence of two other lawsuits filed by CWF (in 2011 and 2013) which are lagging in state court and would be directly impacted by a decision about this so-called fundamental state right to abortion.

Oklahoma enacted an identical dismemberment abortion ban due to go into effect in November, which abortion interests are also expected to challenge.

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