When I first read the landmark decision last April where the Kansas Supreme Court ruled the state’s constitution protects a woman’s right to abortion, I was floored. The court laid it out so simply, so elegantly:
First, that all Kansans have fundamental natural and inalienable rights.
Second, that one of those fundamental rights is the right to personal autonomy, to self-determination, to bodily integrity.
Finally, that women have these same rights under the law, even when they are pregnant.
I have to kindly disagree with state Rep. Nick Hoheisel and The Kansas City Star Editorial Board. (Oct. 10, 10A, “Does Kansas need a constitutional amendment on abortion? Let the voters decide”) There is no need to amend the state constitution over this ruling.
There is no need for a public vote on a private matter between a woman and her physician. The Kansas Supreme Court did not take away the ability for the Legislature to pass laws. All it did was ask that those laws respect all Kansans equally.
The Kansas Legislature still has the power to pass laws governing abortion and other reproductive health care. The court did not do away with lawmakers’ ability to legislate. It did precisely what it was designed to do: to serve as a check on the legislative and executive branches.
The only thing the Legislature needs to do now is prove that the state has a compelling governmental objective that is narrow in design to avoid violating the right to equal protections under the law.
- Julie Burkhart, Founder and CEO, Trust Women, Wichita