NRL News

High stakes for upcoming hearing on Kansas Dismemberment Abortion ban

by | Nov 9, 2015

By Kathy Ostrowski, Legislative Director, Kansans for Life

Kansas AG Derek Schmidt

Kansas AG Derek Schmidt

Kansans for Life today submitted an amicus curie (“friend of the court”) brief in support of Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt, who is appealing a lower court decision that blocked implementation of the state’s first-in-the-nation Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act.

A hearing before the full, fourteen-member state Court of Appeals is scheduled for December 9. The fact that this appeal of Shawnee District Court Judge Larry Hendricks’s decision is being expedited to the full court, instead of a three-member panel, is extremely unusual and shows the high stakes involved.

The Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act was enacted in Kansas this past April, followed within days by Oklahoma, which enacted the same law. In a dismemberment abortion, the abortionist continually reaches into the mother’s womb with a variety of sharp-edged metal clamps and tools, yanking off parts of the child and pulling them out, piece by piece, and placed in a tray.

According to state reporting data, Kansas has seen a rise in such horrific abortions, from 584 in 2013 to 637 in 2014. All three abortion businesses in Kansas offer such “procedures,” with one admitting on national television that a dismemberment abortion costs around $2,000.00


Although pro-abortionists (and nearly every media outlet) refer to these abortions as D&E abortions, D&E is actually a broader term. D&E encompasses the removal of baby body parts—whether parts are torn off of still-alive unborn children or taken off unborn children already dead through the intentional administration of a feticide or by the snipping of the umbilical cord. The Kansas and Oklahoma Acts bar dismemberment that is performed on a still-living unborn child.

Abortion attorneys claim that women’s health demand this barbaric procedure. This was also their claim when it came to partial-birth abortions, which the U. S. Supreme Court rejected in their 2007 Gonzales ruling.

Gonzales upheld the federal law protecting unborn children from partial-birth abortions based on the government’s “interest in protecting the integrity and ethics of the medical profession,” and on the “premise . . . that the State, from the inception of the pregnancy, maintains its own regulatory interest in protecting the life of the fetus that may become a child . . . .

Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote that D&E (dismemberment) abortions are “laden with the power to devalue human life…”

In his dissent to the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2000 Stenberg v. Carhart decision, Justice Kennedy observed that in dismemberment abortions, “The fetus, in many cases, dies just as a human adult or child would: It bleeds to death as it is torn limb from limb. The fetus can be alive at the beginning of the dismemberment process and can survive for a time while its limbs are being torn off.”

Barbarism is exactly what the Kansas and Oklahoma legislature intended to stop when enacting the Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act, yet both states have been blocked by court injunctions from going into effect.


Shawnee County District Court Judge Larry Hendricks

Shawnee County District Court Judge Larry Hendricks

In Judge Hendricks’ decision to issue an injunction in June blocking the Act, he declared that it

1) would be an unacceptable limitation (“undue burden”) on the so-called right to abortion created by Roe in 1973 (as the abortion attorneys interpret it) and

2) violates an even broader “right” to abortion that the judge says exists in our 1859-adopted Kansas Constitution.

The argument that Kansas has any right to abortion as enshrined in our state Constitution has repeatedly been rebutted and called “a fantasy” in filings from the Attorney General.

Furthermore, the U.S. Supreme Court said in Gonzales that abortionists do not have any right to demand certain procedures: “Physicians are not entitled to ignore regulations that direct them to use reasonable alternative procedures. The law need not give abortion doctors unfettered choice in the course of their medical practice.”

The abortionists’ argument that the Dismemberment Abortion ban restricts a “common” method is actually a plea that they be allowed to keep methods that are more expeditious and profitable for them.

Kansans for Life’s amicus brief amplifies why this Act conforms to the U.S. Supreme Court’s position that some abortion methods are unacceptable and “will further coarsen society to the humanity of not only newborns, but all vulnerable and innocent human life, making it increasingly difficult to protect such life.”

Categories: Abortion