Kansas wins first round abortion clinic lawsuit
By Kathy Ostrowski, Legislative Director, Kansans for Life
The state of Kansas won a summary judgment Thursday in Shawnee County state court in which District Judge Rebecca Crotty ruled that the Pro-Life Protections Act of 2013 did not violate the Kansas Constitution’s “single subject” rule of legislative construction.
The lawsuit was brought by attorneys for the Center for Women’s Health, the Overland Park offices of father-daughter abortion team Herb Hodes and Traci Nauser. Their legal team unsuccessfully argued that two sections of the law (2 and 9) were unrelated to abortion. Those sections contained language
1. from the 1989 U.S. Supreme Court “Webster” ruling in which the High Court held that unborn children have interests that the state may protect in law; and
2. expanding the state health department notices of resources available to mothers facing challenging prenatal diagnoses.
The first provision underscores what kind of laws for unborn children are allowed, despite the Roe v Wade ruling. The second prevents women from turning to abortion in frustration or because they are unaware that there are agencies to assisted parents whose children have disabilities.
The attorneys for Hodes and Nauser asserted that because the word “abortion” did not appear in those provisions, they were unrelated to abortion!
In fact the Pro-Life Protections Act contains a sex-selection abortion ban, abortion-related tax funding limits, and abortion informed consent provisions. Aside from both sections’ logical connection to abortion, Section 2 uses ‘unborn child’ and Section 9 repeatedly uses ‘prenatal.’ Yet the court was supposed to accept the abortion attorneys’ claim of irrelevance to abortion?
Kansans for Life State Executive Director, Mary Kay Culp stated
“This ruling shows how ridiculous it was when the abortion industry tried a few weeks ago to lay the costs of defending this law at our feet when, in the first place, they are the ones who sued the law, and, second, the court agrees today that they did so without cause!”
Also filed Thursday in Judge Crotty’s court was a formal stipulation from both the state and the plaintiffs’ attorneys, clarifying that women seeking abortions in Kansas will receive the state “Woman’s Right to Know” abortion materials–as printed–24 hours prior to abortion, including information that the clinic does not agree with.
Although abortionists Hodes and Nauser lost round one, the lawsuit as originally filed makes a variety of claims against the constitutionality of the Pro-Life Protections Act and further court filings are expected in state court.
In June, Hodes and Nauser failed to win a permanent injunction against the Act, but secured a temporary injunction blocking
· one definition of emergency abortion, and
· a mandate to place a link to the state informed consent website on the clinic’s homepage.
The latter objection to the state weblink is also the subject of a suit in federal court by Planned Parenthood.