Kansas Supreme Court Hears Arguments Over Dismemberment Abortion Ban

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by Trey Elmore  •  ChurchMilitant.com  •  March 17, 2017   

The high court will rule on whether the state's constitution contains a right to abortion

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TOPEKA (ChurchMilitant.com) - The Kansas Supreme Court is hearing a challenge to a dismemberment abortion ban passed last April. The law, titled Senate Bill 95, is being challenged by the father-daughter OB/GYN office known as Hodes & Nauser.

The question before the state high court is whether the state constitution includes the right to abortion. In the friend-of-court briefs filed by Kansans for Life in February, the pro-life organization said the ruling by the lower court halting the ban in January 2016 misinterprets both the statute and the state constitution, and should be reversed.

As recently as January, Kansas governor Sam Brownback, a convert to Catholicism, remarked in a speech to a pro-life rally that Kansas is the most pro-life state in the nation, and that it would stay that way. He remarked on his history as governor of the state, having signed 17 pro-life laws, which, if the Kansas Supreme Court decides in favor of Hodes & Nauser, would be reversed.

"That doesn't just happen. It's years of toil. It's years of prayer," Brownback said of the legislative victories the pro-life movement had achieved in Kansas.


Dismemberment abortion is also called dilation and evacuation, or D&E (warning: graphic). D&E abortions account for 95 percent of second trimester abortions, according to the Guttmacher Institute, Planned Parenthood's research arm.

Other states that have passed dismemberment abortion bans include Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and West Virginia. The Texas State Senate recently passed an anti-dismemberment bill, which must now be passed by the state House and signed by Gov. Greg Abbott.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraphs 2270–2275, outlines the Church's teaching on abortion. Paragraph 2271, while referencing the Didache, several Church Fathers and the Vatican II document Gaudium et Spes, states: "Since the first century the Church has affirmed the moral evil of every procured abortion. This teaching has not changed and remains unchangeable. Direct abortion, that is to say, abortion willed either as an end or a means, is gravely contrary to the moral law:"

Likewise, the Catechism of the Council of Trent speaks of abortion in the following terms: "[M]arried persons who, to prevent conception or procure abortion, have recourse to medicine, are guilty of a most heinous crime — nothing less than the wicked conspiracy of murder."

During the 2016 presidential campaign, President Donald Trump made known his views on Roe v. Wade, particularly during the final debate with Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton. He emphatically stated his opposition in particular to late-term and partial-birth abortion, as well as his promise to select Supreme Court justices who would not uphold Roe in forthcoming Supreme Court cases.

If the Kansas Supreme Court upholds the district court's ruling, the Kansas anti-dismemberment abortion law may be headed for the nation's highest court.

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Trey Elmore

Trey Elmore is a production assistant on the News Team.