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AG Derek Schmidt statement on federal court decision upholding Texas restrictions on ‘dismemberment abortion’

Release Date: Aug 19, 2021

TOPEKA – (August 19, 2021) – Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt today released the following statement regarding yesterday’s decision by the en banc U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit that upheld as constitutional a Texas statute restricting a procedure commonly known as “dismemberment abortion”:

“Like Texas, Kansas has prohibited the method of abortion that involves the dismemberment of a living unborn child. So on behalf of Kansas, I joined in defense of Texas in this case, and yesterday we prevailed in the federal appellate court. This new federal decision underscores the importance of the Value Them Both Amendment to the state constitution that will be presented to Kansas voters in the August 2022 election.”

The 5th Circuit yesterday ruled that the Texas law restricting dismemberment abortions does not violate the federal constitution. On December 9, 2020, Schmidt filed a brief in that case in support of Texas, and the Texas and Kansas arguments yesterday prevailed before the court. A similar Kansas law was struck down by state courts, which have ruled it violates the Kansas state constitution. In response, the Kansas Legislature has proposed amending the state constitution to make clear that it does not independently establish a right to abortion, and that proposed amendment – known as the Value Them Both Amendment – will be presented to Kansas voters at the August 2022 election. Schmidt’s office has defended the constitutionality of the Kansas law and also assisted the Legislature in crafting the Value Them Both Amendment.

The federal case is Whole Woman’s Health v. Paxton, No. 17-51060, U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit. A copy of the brief Schmidt filed in support of Texas is available at https://bit.ly/2WdEY86.

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