Kansas voters protect abortion rights in first U.S. post-Roy referendum

In first statewide referendum on abortion rights since U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wadevoters in Kansas have affirmed that abortion rights are protected by the state’s constitution.

Kansas voters overwhelmingly rejected a constitutional amendment that would remove protections for abortion rights, denying the state’s anti-abortion lawmakers drafting tough restrictions on reproductive health care.

According to Kansas Secretary of State Scott Schwab, the turnout was higher than expected and could be close to 50 percent, rivaling the turnout in the 2008 presidential election.

The vote — and the large number of votes in the state’s primary — underscored how deeply unpopular the Supreme Court’s overturned decision was Roe v. Wade And trying to outlaw abortion could send a resounding campaign message in key midterm elections.

A 2019 ruling by the state’s Supreme Court determined that “individual autonomy” protections in the state constitution include abortion, giving Kansas the right to seek an abortion even if the Supreme Court struck down the right. The proposed amendment attempts to explicitly remove these protections.

Without any federal or state-level constitutional protections for abortion, the state’s Republican-led legislature is likely to pass draconian anti-abortion restrictions similar to those enacted across the United States in recent weeks.

“Kansas’ values ​​have always been a model of freedom, and tonight Kansas continues that tradition,” Emily Wales, president of Planned Parenthood’s Great Plains Vote Association, said in a statement.

“Anti-abortion politicians put this amendment on the primary ballot in order to lower voter turnout, but they dismiss Kansas, who say loudly and clearly that they believe and believe that patients can make their own medical Decisions — especially at a dark time in history, people in the Midwest and South didn’t get the same freedom,” she said.

On June 24, the Supreme Court in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health June 24 Ends Half-Century of Abortion Rights Precedent Established in 1973 Roe v. Wade.

Kansas has become a haven for legal access to abortion care in the region, as neighboring Missouri and Oklahoma have banned the procedure in nearly all cases.

Abortions are legal within 20 weeks of pregnancy in Kansas, although roughly half of all abortions in the state in 2021 will come from people elsewhere — mostly in neighboring Missouri.

in the next few weeks Dobbs Decision, three of the four states served by Planned Parenthood Great Plains lost access to legal abortions. The ruling comes after Oklahoma lawmakers passed a string of draconian anti-abortion laws, including a near-total ban on abortion, punishable by up to 10 years in prison. Anti-abortion laws in Missouri and Arkansas also went into effect after the Supreme Court.

Kansas – like many other states that legalize abortion – has imposed strict restrictions on abortion, including requiring patients to undergo state-directed counseling and ultrasounds, a mandatory 24-hour waiting period, and a ban on certain health insurance and medical abortions Prescribed telehealth appointments.

“But Kansasians have seen what can happen when a neighbor states blanket bans and the devastation it causes,” Planned Parenthood Great Plains Vote spokeswoman Annemarie Rebory-Simons told independent.

The Supreme Court ruling “really inspired a lot of people and made it really happen in a way that people can connect with and find a way to engage in a conversation,” said Zachary Gingrich-Gaylord, a spokeswoman for Trust Women, which runs a clinic in the state, Tell independent.

“Most agreed that people should have access to reproductive health care and that governments should not make decisions for people,” he said. “The problem is … the power in this state is out of touch with the people.”

The results also dealt a deadly blow to the multimillion-dollar anti-abortion movement, which includes support from Catholic dioceses across the state and the Kansas-Nebraska Southern Baptist Convention.

False and misleading text messages sent to some voters the day before Election Day told them that “Women in Kansas are losing their reproductive rights choices” and that “voting yes gives women a choice. Vote yes to protect women’s health.”

The campaign is linked to a Republican-linked political action committee, according to Washington post.

In a statement to the paper, the political tech company that rented out the phone number to the GOP-affiliated group said it had been informed of a “potential content breach” and that the group “did not have a messaging strategy or content”.

A spokesman for Kansas Constitutional Liberty, who opposed the amendment, called the anti-abortion coalition “another example of desperate and deceptive tactics” by “lying to Kansas voters.”

A few days before the election, an anti-abortion coalition amplifies false election fraud conspiracy theories, calling for the removal of early voting mail-in boxes, baselessly claiming they can be manipulated.

Opponents of the amendment also criticized the timing of the election — which shares a ballot with other statewide Democratic elections — and the confusing language on the ballot itself.

Ads from anti-abortion groups contain emotional, inaccurate appeals. One called for an end to the “horrific practice of late-term abortion,” even though the state has banned third-trimester abortions. Another pro-abortion billboard used the phrase “Trust Women” — that’s the name of the Trust Women’s Clinic — and a third read “Trust Women” and “Vote No.”

Later this year, voters in California, Michigan, Nevada and Vermont will vote on similar measures to protect abortion access in their states.

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