Saturday, April 27, 2019

Kansas Supreme Court Strikes Down D&E Abortion Ban

In Hodes & Nauser MDs, P.A. v. Schmidt, (KA Sip. Ct., April 26, 2019), the Kansas Supreme Court by a 6-1 vote upheld the trial court's injunction against the enforcement of S.B. 95 which bans, with limited exceptions, dilation and evacuation abortions in Kansas. The per curiam opinion of five justices said in part:
We hold today that section 1 of the Kansas Constitution Bill of Rights protects all Kansans' natural right of personal autonomy, which includes the right to control one's own body, to assert bodily integrity, and to exercise self-determination. This right allows a woman to make her own decisions regarding her body, health, family formation, and family life—decisions that can include whether to continue a pregnancy.
Under our strict scrutiny standard, the State is prohibited from restricting that right unless it can show it is doing so to further a compelling government interest and in a way that is narrowly tailored to that interest. The Doctors have shown they are substantially likely to prevail on their claim that S.B. 95 does not meet this standard. So the trial court's temporary injunction enjoining the enforcement of S.B. 95 is appropriate.
On remand to the trial court for a full resolution of the issues on the merits, the State is certainly free to assert any interests it believes compelling and show how S.B. 95 is narrowly tailored to those interests. We are aware that the evidentiary record is sparsely developed because of the narrow issue previously before that court: simply whether a temporary injunction should be granted. We, thus, decline the concurring opinion's invitation to guess at what the arguments and evidence might be in order to provide guidance on remand.
Justice Biles filed a concurring opinion and Justice Stegall filed a dissent. The 3 opinions span 199 pages. NPR reports on the decision.