by Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann
Next Tuesday’s (Aug. 2) election on the “Value Them Both” amendment is one of supreme importance, not only for our state, but also for the entire nation. I am grateful for all those in the Catholic community who have been involved with the broad coalition of Kansans working to pass the “Value Them Both” amendment.
Sadly, the opponents of “Value Them Both” have engaged in a campaign of misinformation attempting to create confusion about the amendment. Their ads have labeled the “Value Them Both” amendment as a ban on abortion. Personally, I would love to be able to protect every child and mother from the tragedy of abortion, but this is not what this amendment does.
It simply corrects the 2019 Kansas Supreme Court decision that claimed to have discovered a right to abortion in the Kansas Constitution. The court, in giving the rationale for its decision, stated that all existing laws regarding abortion are presumed unconstitutional.
The law that caused the court case was a ban on live-dismemberment abortions. These are abortions where the abortionist literally dismembers the body of the unborn baby while still alive in the womb, pulling the tiny limbs one by one out of the mother. The doctor then crushes the head of the baby in order to be able to remove it also from the mother’s womb.
The first law the abortion industry successfully asked the court to strike down was a clinic regulation law that resulted from the revelations of unsanitary conditions in a Kansas City, Kansas, abortion clinic. One of the provisions of the statute required that the abortionist have medical privileges in a nearby hospital in case of medical complications resulting from the abortion.
Interestingly, the ads opposing “Value Them Both” claim that abortion is already highly regulated in Kansas. It is true that Kansas, through our elected representatives, passed laws requiring parental consent for minors seeking an abortion, informed consent requirements for women receiving an abortion, and prohibition of taxpayer-funded abortion.
All of these laws were vigorously opposed by the abortion lobby, the same groups that are funding the current advertisements. All of them are vulnerable to being overturned if the “Value Them Both” amendment is not passed.
Opponents of “Value Them Both” have claimed that its passage will prevent women from receiving proper treatment for ectopic pregnancies or miscarriages. This is completely false. In fact, in a formal legal opinion issued July 22, 2022, Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt said medical treatment for ectopic pregnancies or fetal demise is not “abortion” under Kansas law and therefore would not be affected by passage of the proposed “Value Them Both” constitutional amendment. (See: ag.ks.gov/opinions.)
I have received a few letters and emails objecting to the church’s support of “Value Them Both,” asking if I was diverting money from other important pastoral ministries. All of the money that has been used to support “Value Them Both” came from an appeal I made to every member of the archdiocese several months ago.
Those who donated to the special Respect Life Fund were made aware that their donations would be used to support educational efforts for “Value Them Both” as well as to increase financial support for pregnancy resource centers (aka crisis pregnancy clinics), Project Gabriel, Walking with Moms in Need, post-abortion reconciliation and healing programs (Project Rachel and Project Joseph) and our efforts to better serve children in foster care.
Donors gave more than $6 million to this special Respect Life Appeal, allowing us to be generous in our support of “Value Them Both,” but also allowing us to increase significantly support for the many pastoral programs that help those in an untimely pregnancy as well as those suffering emotional and/or spiritual trauma after abortion.
If you have not already given to our special Respect Life Fund, please consider doing so. All of the additional donations will support these crucial pastoral programs that not only help during the pregnancy but continue to support mothers and their children after the birth of the child.
Some people have objected to the church advocating so strongly for “Value Them Both.” They construe the archdiocesan involvement as a violation of the so-called separation of church and state. Supporting a constitutional amendment is not engaging in partisan politics. It does not support political candidates or political parties.
Nor is it the imposing of Catholic theology on our fellow Kansans. The protection of women and children from abortion is a human rights issue. I will never apologize for the church’s advocacy for fundamental human rights. Churches appropriately were leaders in the civil rights movement in the second half of the 20th century and the anti-slavery movement in the 19th century. In a democratic society, the church has not only a right, but an obligation, to advocate for fundamental human rights.
“Value Them Both” will allow Kansans, through their elected representatives, to determine public policy regarding the protection of women and children from the abortion industry.
It is difficult to understand why the opponents of “Value Them Both” are afraid of Kansans determining abortion policy through their elected representatives. Abortion advocates insult not only members of the Kansas Legislature but the people who elected them by doubting their capabilities of creating public policies that reflect the views of their constituents.
With regard to abortion, Pope Francis has said frequently that it is never right to kill a child to solve a problem. The Holy Father also has said that it is never right to hire someone else to kill a child to solve a problem. Pope Francis has also been clear that the protection of the unborn is first and foremost a human rights issue that is accessible through reason to everyone.
I urge you to pray and fast for the passage of “Value Them Both.” I also encourage you to vote “yes” for “Value Them Both” on Aug. 2.