August 10, 2022
Kansas voters uphold abortion rights

When the Supreme Court reversed Roe v. Wade for the first time, it was left to the states to determine. Abortion access, the issue appeared on a state ballot. in Kansas, CBS News projects that a proposed amendment The state constitution that abolished the constitutional right to abortion has been defeated.

The Kansas Ballot Initiative is seen as a bellwether for the impact of abortion on midterm November elections.

Since the High Court decision that ended the federal right to abortion, at least 12 states have either outright banned abortions or those after six weeks of pregnancy. Other states are also expected to go ahead with further restrictions.

In Kansas, voters confirmed that abortion is constitutionally protected, except in a 2019 decision by the state’s Supreme Court. That decision stated that a person has the right to personal autonomy and implemented strict scrutiny to regulate abortion. The Kansas legislature would not be able to ban abortion or impose further restrictions without a constitutional amendment.

election 2022-kansas-abortion
In this Thursday, July 14, 2022 photo, a sign in a yard in Mary, Kansas, urges voters to oppose a proposed amendment to the Kansas Constitution to allow legislators to further restrict or prohibit abortion. Opponents of the measure believe it would lead to a ban on abortion in Kansas.

John Hanna / AP


“Consens today stood up for fundamental rights. We rejected divisive legislation that threatened our economic future and threatened women’s access to health care.” tweeted Kansas’ Democratic Government Laura Kelly. “Together, we will continue to make incredible progress to make KS the best state in the country to live and do business independently.”

The “Value Them Both” amendment made it to the Aug. 2 primary ballot after being passed in the Republican-controlled state legislature with a two-thirds vote in both houses in 2021.

The Value Them Both coalition, which supported the amendment in a statement, said, “While the outcome is not what we expected, our movement and campaign have proved our resolve and commitment. We will not spare women and children.” ” The group called the result a “temporary setback”.

While passage of the amendment would not have directly banned abortion in the state, legal experts said it would pave the way for the state legislature, where Republicans have a super majority, to ban abortions.

“Under the language of the amendment, it would be possible to adopt a complete ban on abortion from the point of conception to birth, with the exception of rape, incest or the life or health of the mother,” said Professor Richard Levy. of law at the University of Kansas.

By the primaries, groups in favor and against the amendment had engaged in an aggressive campaign of reaching voters, knocking on doors, phone banking and holding rallies. According to AdImpact, about $13 million was spent on ads in the state on the issue of abortion before the vote.

“This historic victory was the result of grassroots support and a broad coalition of reasonable, thoughtful Consensus across the state who put health care over politics,” said Emily Wells, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Great Plains Votes. Defeat. “We have seen the devastation caused by the loss of access to abortion in neighboring states, and tonight, Consensus looked through the deception of anti-abortion interests to ensure that people in their state uphold their rights.”

Although this was a non-year primary, where turnout is generally very low – less than a third of voters turned up to cast their ballots in the last recent election – Kansas’ early turnout peaked before the August 2 primary, this suggesting that voters were highly motivated by the issue of abortion.

Unofficial results Tuesday night from the office of the Kansas Secretary of State showed that more than 781,500 people in the state voted on the amendment. With 90% of votes counted as of 11:45 pm on Tuesday night, “no” has turned “yes” with 60.4% to 39.6%

Overall, party officials and politicians are keeping a close eye on how Roe v. Wade’s reversal could inspire voters before the midterms. according to CBS News Battleground TrackerAbortion is an important issue in the economy and as inflation for women under 50. More than two-thirds of women under 50 describe the Republican Party as “extreme.” But Democrats seem dismayed at how their party is handling the abortion issue. Forty-nine percent said their party was not doing enough to protect access, while a majority of Republicans believe their party is taking the right approach on abortion.

Kansas is the first state of a handful in which voters will speak up on abortion rights in the midterm. Similar measures to the Kansas effort are on the ballots in Kentucky and Montana, while initiatives to add abortion protections to state constitutions are on the ballots in California and Vermont. Efforts are also underway to amend the Constitution in Michigan to protect abortion rights.

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