Civil and Human Rights

RELEASE: Victory for Equal Dignity in Kansas Supreme Court Ruling

“We are gratified that the Court echoed the brief of CAC and ACLU of Kansas Foundation, emphasizing the original meaning of the Kansas Constitution in incorporating into state law the broad promises of equality and dignity found in America’s Declaration of Independence.” — CAC President Elizabeth Wydra

WASHINGTON – On news this morning that the Kansas Supreme Court issued its ruling in Hodes & Nauser, M.D.s, P.A., et al. v. Schmidt & Howe, holding that “the Kansas Constitution’s drafters’ and ratifiers’ proclamation of natural rights applies to pregnant women” and that this “proclamation protects the right to decide whether to continue a pregnancy,” Constitutional Accountability Center President Elizabeth Wydra issued the following reaction:

In a profound ruling this morning, a supermajority of the Kansas Supreme Court—including Justices appointed by Republican and Democratic governors—recognized the importance of “the right to control one’s own body, to assert bodily integrity, and to exercise self-determination” on decisions concerning abortion.

We are gratified that the Court echoed the brief of CAC and ACLU of Kansas Foundation, emphasizing the original meaning of the Kansas Constitution in incorporating into state law the broad promises of equality and dignity found in America’s Declaration of Independence.

While applying only within the state of Kansas, today’s ruling should provide an example to all other courts in the nation grappling with these critical questions. As we noted in our brief, and as the framers of the Kansas Constitution explained, the immortal words of the Declaration of Independence are a call to secure “wide liberty” and to ensure “to every individual perfect freedom to enjoy in safety and tranquility the rights and blessings of that existence.”

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Resources:

Brief of CAC and ACLU Foundation of Kansas in support of plaintiff physicians Herbert C Hodes and Traci Lynn Nauser: https://www.theusconstitution.org/litigation/hodes-nauser-m-d-s-p-a-et-al-v-schmidt-howe-kan-sup-ct/

“It’s 2016 and Kansas Approvingly Cited Dred Scott in an Abortion Case. It Was Not a Good Idea.,” Mother Jones, October 20, 2016: https://www.motherjones.com/politics/2016/10/kansas-retracts-dred-scott-citation-supporting-anti-abortion-law/

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Constitutional Accountability Center is a think tank, public interest law firm, and action center dedicated to fulfilling the progressive promise of the Constitution’s text and history. Visit CAC’s website at www.theusconstitution.org.

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