Thursday night, a federal judge halted enforcement of SB8, the infamous law that attacked the right to abortion through tenuously legal means. This decision is a reminder that the ACLU of Kansas, ACLU national, and ACLU affiliates nation-wide will continue to fight for the right to safe, legal reproductive healthcare, a fight the ACLU has led for 50 years.
Recently, the push to limit health care choices has grown increasingly intense and increasingly dangerous. Texas’ SB8 follows this trend by using legally incoherent means to try to control people’s health care choices. This law allowed people to sue over others’ private healthcare decisions, despite having no legal standing to do so. The law turns neighbors into bounty hunters, allowing them to sue anyone who assists with access abortion services—including rideshare drivers, clinical staff, hotline workers, or more.
On Wednesday night, a federal district judge enjoined SB8, calling it “flagrantly unconstitutional.” But that decision will be appealed to the 5th Circuit, and likely the U.S. Supreme Court, which is already poised to undue the decades of precedent established by Roe v. Wade under the federal constitution when it hears oral argument on a case next month regarding Mississippi’s ban on abortion services after 15 weeks gestation.
It is clear that our federal constitutional right to access important, necessary healthcare is under attack. Right now, however, Kansans also have a state constitutional right to this healthcare; the Kansas Constitution protects the right to an abortion. In Hodes & Nauser v. Schmidt, the Kansas Supreme Court ruled that Section 1 of Kansas’ Constitution Bill of Rights protects “every person's right to personal autonomy—and this right enables a woman to make decisions regarding her body, health, family formation, and family life, including the decision whether to continue a pregnancy.”
But these rights are under attack here, too. Already, lawmakers have scheduled a ballot vote for an amendment that would explicitly state that Section 1 protections do not apply to the right to abortion, overriding the 6-1 vote and creating a dangerous precedent that will allow deep intrusions into Kansans’ personal healthcare decisions. If this amendment succeeds, bills like SB8—or worse--will be introduced in Kansas.
So now is the time to fight; not just against contrived and dangerous attempts to control our bodies like SB8 and the proposed amendment but FOR FREEDOM, especially when it comes to the rights given to us by the Constitution.
Join us in the fight by getting signed up to volunteer; just fill out this form and check “Reproductive Freedom.”