Is Abortion in the Kansas Constitution?

The Kansas Constitution was adopted on October 4, 1859 (four years after abortion was made illegal.)  Its approval by the Congress was held up over concerns about balance between free and slave states being admitted to the Union.  When succession of the Southern states was no longer an issue, Kansas was admitted on January 29, 1861.

The following is from the Statutes of the Territory of Kansas passed at the first session of the Legislative Assembly in 1855.

Section 39.  Every physician or other person who shall wilfully administer to any pregnant woman any medicine, drug or substance whatsoever, or shall use or employ any instrument or means whatsoever, with the intent thereby to procure abortion or the miscarriage of any such woman, unless the same shall have been necessary to preserve the life of such woman, or shall have been advised by a physician to be necessary for that purpose, shall, upon conviction, be adjudged guilty of a misdemeanor, and punished by imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding one year, or by a fine not exceeding five hundred dollars, or by both such fine and imprisonment.

If the woman died during the procedure, the guilty person could be convicted of either manslaughter or murder.  This was a penalty of up to confinement and five years of hard labor.

The point here is that the Kansas Constitution would not condone a right to abortion when abortion was against the Territorial Statute.  And the criminal abortion statute was carried over to the State statutes and classified as manslaughter in the first degree if the woman died, and manslaughter in the second degree for the death of the preborn quick child.

The Kansas Constitution was adopted in 1859.  So, four years before the Kansas Constitution was adopted, we had already made abortion illegal.  It was the law of Kansas, so why should it be specifically addressed in the Constitution?  Everyone back then knew abortion was wrong and illegal so why say something about it in the Constitution.

Instead, the Kansas Bill of Rights said what is also in the National Bill of Rights, i.e. “All men are possessed of equal and inalienable natural rights, among which are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

Article by David Gittrich.

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