Topeka — A coalition of national anti-abortion groups will recognize Kansas next month for enacting a new law banning a certain type of abortion procedure, the first such ban in the nation, even though that law is currently being challenged before the Kansas Court of Appeals.
The National Pro-Life Recognition Award will be presented Jan. 22 at the 22nd annual National Memorial for the Preborn and Their Mothers and Fathers, to take place at Constitution Hall in Washington, D.C.
"Each year, this award is given to someone who has served the unborn in a profound and exemplary way," said Father Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life and President of the National Pro-Life Religious Council, two of the groups sponsoring the event.
In 2015, Republican Gov. Sam Brownback signed a bill banning a procedure commonly used in second-trimester abortions.
The law was supposed to take effect July 1, but a Shawnee County judge issued a temporary injunction blocking enforcement of the law. Attorney General Derek Schmidt's office appealed that order, and the full 14-member Kansas Court of Appeals heard oral arguments in that case Dec. 9.
“We pray this law will be enacted, and that the nation follows Kansas’ lead in protecting the unborn,” Father Pavone said.
Plaintiffs in that case, two Johnson County doctors and the clinic they manage, argue that the Kansas Constitution, like the U.S. Constitution, protects a woman's right to have an abortion, and they say the law puts an undue burden on women seeking to exercise that right.
Brownback said he plans to attend the event to accept the award, and he encouraged other states to enact similar legislation.