The 2020 Kansas Legislature convened this week and just this morning a group of pro-life legislators held a press conference to introduce the Value Them Both Amendment. This amendment will ensure that we maintain the right to place basic regulations around the abortion industry to safeguard women’s health.
This is a pinnacle moment for the 2020 legislative session and the story of Kansas.
This is the chance for our state to decide whether it will continue to support life or allow abortion activists to turn our state into a travel destination for late term abortion. Value Them Both proponents are asking the legislature to allow all Kansans to vote on this simple amendment that will restore to the people the ability to regulate an industry that has repeatedly proven itself untrustworthy.
Here was my statement at the Press Conference,
“Today, we stand united in support of passing the Value Them Both Amendment. Value Them Both was crafted based on the five other states that have passed similar legislation and has been tailored specifically to Kansas. Because of the Hodes & Nauser ruling, Kansas became the Wild West of the abortion industry, where all pro-life laws that protect women and babies are under threat. The Value Them Both Amendment simply returns power to the people of Kansas to place basic regulations on the abortion industry. We call on all legislators in Kansas to pass this amendment to let the people vote.”
Things will move quickly now that the bill has been introduced. A joint House and Senate committee hearing is planned for next Tuesday, January 21st at 9:00 am in the Old Supreme Court Room on the 3rd floor of the Kansas State Capitol. If you can attend, please do so (plan to arrive by 8:30) and plan to show your support by wearing purple. If you would like to read the text of the bill, the full text can be found here.
We are so thankful for our coalition partners throughout the state who have helped make this possible.
Kansas, let’s value them both!
Standing for them both,
Brittany Jones, Esq
Director of Advocacy
This week I had the honor of testifying before the Interim Judiciary Committee which was tasked with examining the Kansas Supreme Court and the selection process for justices on that court. I testified along with our state allies, Kansans for Life and the Kansas Catholic Conference. Each of us addressed the gross violation of law and the sanctity of life in the recent the recent Supreme Court decision in Hodes & Nauser v. Schmidt.
Hodes & Nauser v. Schmidt is the April 2019 decision in which the Kansas Supreme Court created a fundamental right to abortion in our 1859 Constitution. This newfound right to abortion is protected by an even higher standard than the federal right created in Roe v. Wade and reinforced by Planned Parenthood v. Casey.
The first morning of the hearing focused primarily on the abortion ruling and the potential effects on the law in Kansas. In our testimony, we focused primarily on the legal and philosophical flaws of the opinion that were clearly designed to keep the legislature and the people of Kansas off balance.
Some of the most egregious concerns with how the decision was made (aside from the horrific nature of the final decision to create a fundamental right to abortion) include the way the court violates the rule of law in our state. They did this by ignoring the original meaning and understanding of the very rights they use to create the new right to abortion. They interpreted a right intended to protect citizens from being physically harmed (and was always thought to apply to babies in the womb) to mean that an abortionist has the right to abort a baby in the womb.
In the opinion, the Court attempted to unshackle itself from history that did not meet their particular narrative. They even went so far as to undermine every legislative body that they disagreed with simply because of who made up the legislative body. They essentially ignored all history that banned abortion in the common law.
Fundamentally, the court ignored the voices of countless women in Kansas who have fought for babies in the womb over the years. Conservatives are constantly accused of being anti-woman – yet a panel made up of mostly men made the decision to severely limit the ability of pro-life women in Kansas to fight for life in the womb. But that doesn’t mean we stop fighting. For a fuller reading about what the Court decided, you can read my commentary on the decision here.
What was clear – a Constitutional Amendment is needed to reverse this ruling. All the government representatives at the hearing, whether from the Legislative Revisors Office (the attorneys for the legislature) or from the Attorney General’s Office, agreed that the only way to fix the problem, created by the Court, is to pass a Constitutional Amendment. In the end, the commission voted that you should be given the opportunity to vote on a Constitutional Amendment.
Even now we are working with our coalition of allies to prepare for the upcoming legislative session. Would you consider partnering with us to defend children in the womb in Kansas?
Standing for life,
Brittany Jones, Esq.
Director of Advocacy
What a wild session it has been. The legislature came back for its final day Wednesday. Sine die is the last day of official legislative business until next year. This session has had its ups and downs like any session. But for me, it crystalized why we do what we do at Family Policy Alliance®.
It is clear that liberal factions are gunning to take control of Kansas. Along with our allies, we are working to hold back this tide and make sure this doesn’t happen.
The Left has decided they want to fundamentally transform Kansas. They tried to hide Laura Kelly’s radical agenda from average Kansans, they are exploiting moderates in the legislature, and they have controlled Kansas Courts for a while now.
All of this may sound bleak and depressing but there is hope. Kansas isn’t lost and I’ve definitely seen rays of encouragement.
This session was not a great triumphant year where everything good passed, but we did hold back a lot of bad and we have clear marching orders for the coming year. I want to take a moment to look back at what we have faced.
The session started off with a bang when Gov. Kelly reinstated and expanded former Gov. Sebelius’ executive order banning her from discriminating against her own employees. However, what was most important about this executive order is that it quietly opened a door to ignore the Adoption Protection Act. We have been closely watching the Administration to ensure that they do not hamper the implementation of this important law that protects the right of adoption agencies to live out the faith that drives their work.
On a positive note on a similar topic, along with our allies, we were able to stop a bill that would have attacked business owners of faith. This bill is known as a sexual orientation and gender identity law (SOGI). These types of laws have been used as weapons against Christians throughout the country. There is little to no concrete basis for implementing them. These types of laws have ruined the livelihood of many in the wedding industry and business owners who were simply trying to live out their faith in the public square.
On the education front, the Student Educator Religious Freedom bill was introduced by Family Policy Foundation Statesmen Academy Alum Renee Erickson. This bill ensures that students, coaches, teachers, and administrators can live out their faith in schools. Introducing this bill made Kansas the second state in the nation to introduce comprehensive religious protections for coaches, teachers, and students. It was introduced in response to several incidents in recent years in which school officials have been discriminated against because of their faith.
As you probably know there was almost a perfect storm of pro-life activity across the country in the last several months. And per usual, Kansas was not left out of the storm. Kansas was the first state to officially respond after New York passed its horrific law legalizing abortions up to the moment of birth. We are so thankful for our friends Sen. Mary Pilcher-Cook, Sen. Ty Masterson, Rep. Susan Humphries, and Rep. Renee Erickson who worked on and carried this resolution in both chambers.
The abortion pill reversal bill (APR) was an interesting mixture of wins and losses. While it ultimately failed because of one vote, it did lay a wonderful foundation for pro-life wins in next year’s session. The governor tried to steal our momentum and hope by vetoing APR the same week that the Supreme Court decision was released.
And of course, the moment that redirected many of our efforts over the coming years– the long-awaited release of the Supreme Court ruling on life. In this ruling, the Court created a right to abortion in the Kansas Constitution where none ever existed. Quite honestly, it was 200 pages of erroneous legal gymnastics set against a completely inaccurate recounting of Kansas history. The only glimmer of hope was Justice Steagall’s witty and poignant dissent.
The Court declared that strict scrutiny protects the right of abortion in Kansas – this standard is even higher than the protection that abortion receives under the Federal Constitution. Some of the implications of this ruling are fairly apparent but will specifically have to be worked out over time. First, it created a right to abortion even if Roe and Casey (the controlling Supreme Court cases that govern abortion) are overturned. Importantly for the current political discussion in Kansas, the ruling will likely eventually require government mandated funding of abortion through Medicaid. This effect will be magnified by Medicaid Expansion. Finally, the Court’s logic laid the framework for legalization of assisted suicide and public funding of transgender surgery.
The key take-away: we have clear marching orders for next session. This opinion created major problems for the vibrant pro-life movement. We absolutely must fix this problem. We will be working with a coalition to ensure this happens.
Thank you for allowing me to serve alongside you this session, and I look forward to working with you in the coming year.
Standing alongside you,
Director of Advocacy
P.S. I know even now many of you are cleaning up from the recent storms and many of you are still dealing with rising flood waters. Please, know that we are standing alongside you and praying for you.
In one of the most unhinged opinions I have ever read, the Kansas Supreme Court created a right to abortion from thin air in the Kansas Constitution. The Court took language that was meant to safeguard life and freedom and used it to justify the killing of innocent life and reinforce a culture that believes in liberty unencumbered by morality, to the detriment of others.
How exactly did this happen?
In 2015, the Kansas legislature became the first state in the nation to pass a ban on what is known as dismemberment abortions. This is a late term abortion method that literally rips the baby out of the womb limb by limb while the baby is still alive. It is a grisly, horrifying procedure which the majority of the Court chose not to address in last week’s Hodes and Nauser v. Schmidt opinion. Hodes and Nauser, a father-daughter abortionists team challenged the law as violating their and their patients’ right to abortion in the Kansas Constitution. Except there isn’t a right to abortion in the Kansas Constitution.
So, our Kansas Supreme Court created one.
The Court completely unbound itself from any sane understanding of history, western legal philosophy, and common sense. They undercut all understanding of western society and chartered their own course where the individual is the ultimate and only true reality. In doing so, they arguably protected the “right to abortion” even more than the U.S. Supreme Court.
We are grateful for the one dissenting voice in this chaotic tale, Justice Stegall, who so eloquently noted:
Reading today’s majority opinion is a follow-the-white-rabbit experience. One is left feeling like Alice, invited by the Queen to believe “‘as many as six impossible things before breakfast.'” Indeed, the story told by the majority is a strange one. In it, all the luminaries of the western legal tradition—from Sir Edward Coke and William Blackstone to Edmund Burke and Thomas Jefferson—would celebrate and enshrine a right to nearly unfettered abortion access. In this imagined world, the Liberty Bell rings every time a baby in utero loses her arm.
As the concurrence in this opinion points out, the majority gave little to no instruction how the creation of a fundamental right to abortion effects current pro-life laws. They actually didn’t even technically rule on the dismemberment abortion ban. They left that for the lower court. This could mean that every pro-life law is challenged, we are forced to use tax-payer dollars to pay for abortion, and because the ruling is so expansive it could lead to legalizing assisted suicide or funding for transgender surgery.
Where do we go from here?
It is vital that we pass a constitutional amendment that declares that there is no right to abortion in the Kansas Constitution. Three other states (Alabama, West Virginia, and Tennessee) have already done this. It will require a 2/3rd majority of the legislature to pass language to go on the ballot. Then it will require that a majority of Kansas voters approve that language in an election. In the pro-life state of Kansas, passing this sort of amendment is a reality we can realize. But it is going to take all of us working together. The first step is calling your legislators and letting them know that you want this to happen. You can find their numbers here. (Enter your zip code and/or address and then click on the Kansas Tab.)
The second step is talking to everyone you know that lives in Kansas and educating them on why it is so important that we pass this amendment. Passing a constitutional amendment is often a long, drown-out fight – but we are prepared to fight.
It was a rough week for life in Kansas. If anything, this week shows that elections have consequences. We are experiencing the ill effects of a horrible judicial selection process and the election of a governor who is opposed to all the values we hold dear.
As we alerted you last week, Governor Kelly showed her true colors by vetoing the Abortion Pill Reversal bill. This is a simple common-sense law that ensures women have information to basic information about a chemical abortion. Conservative legislators immediately began calling for an override of the veto. This will be one of the first courses of action when the legislature comes back from break on Wednesday, May 1st. If you haven’t already, please urge your legislators to override this veto.
We may have been dealt several tough blows this week, but I’m not discouraged – these struggles remind me that we have only begun to fight. These are winnable battles. We must be willing to put in the hard work to see these decisions overturned.
I leave you with the verse that has been a tremendous comfort to me over the years and reminds me who is fighting on my side:
“In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
Having only begun to fight,
Brittany Jones, Esq.
Director of Advocacy