Pro-lifers intend to amend state Constitution to clarify no “right” to abortion exists in it
By Dave Andrusko
We can speculate until we are blue in the face why the editorial board of the Kansas City Star answered its own rhetorical question—“Does Kansas need a constitutional amendment on abortion”—with the answer, “Let the voters decide.” We don’t know why a newspaper that loved the decision by the Kansas Supreme Court—that a heretofore unknown “right to abortion” existed in a state constitution adopted in 1859—would adopt this editorial stance.
Here’s what we do know, courtesy of NRLC’s state affiliate Kansans for Life. Under the heading, “Return Power to Voters to Protect Women and Preborn Babies,” we read
On April 26, 2019, the Kansas Supreme Court took power from Kansas voters and found—created—a nearly unlimited “right to abortion” in our 1859 State Constitution. Prior to this ruling, through widely supported limitations, our state’s abortion rates had been reduced by 43 percent* since 1999 and partial birth abortions had been completely banned. Essentially, women and their preborn babies have now been abandoned to an unregulated abortion industry.
That ruling overturned S.B. 95, which would prohibit abortions in which a fully-formed unborn child is torn apart with sharp metal tools, bit by bit, while still alive, inside her mother. But everyone understood that the expansive language used in the 6-1decision meant that many, and likely all, pro-life legislation would be subject to the judicial guillotine.
What to do? Again, quoting Kansans for Life,
We can reverse this horrific ruling and allow Kansans to place lifesaving limits on abortion by amending the State Constitution. To do this, we will need the support of a two-thirds majority in both the Kansas House and Senate. From there, voters will weigh in at the ballot box in 2020. A simple majority of votes is all that’s necessary once the amendment is on the ballot.
A formidable task? Of course, but Kansans for Life and pro-lifers in the legislature have begun the process.
To return to the editorial for a moment, it included a number of noble sounding sentiments. For example, after acknowledging its own editorial support for the Kansas Supreme Court’s decision, the editorial reads
At the same time, we should all recognize, as Wichita Republican Rep. Nick Hoheisel points out, “At the end of the day, it’s the people’s constitution. It’s the people’s right to decide this issue.”
For those of us not enamored of a runaway judiciary that injects its own policy preferences into its reading of the state (or U.S.) constitution, this has a beautiful ring to it:
Regardless of one’s view on the issue, a public vote on it would be a healthy exercise of that beautiful thing we call American self-governance.
Confident that the pro-abortion position will carry the day, the editorial snarkily adds
For abortion opponents, it would also be the very plebiscite they’ve said they’ve longed for since the Roe v. Wade decision in 1973.
But pro-lifers are quite willing to verbally duke it out with the Abortion Lobby in a free and fair exchange of ideas. Who has always relied on the judicial branch to bail them out—to find imaginary rights lurking in penumbras, emanations, and whatnot?
The Planned Parenthoods and the ACLUs and the NARALs that is who.
The Star editorial quoted Jeanne Gawdun, senior lobbyist for Kansans For Life, who put it well: “We look forward to an open debate on this important issue.”