Kansas voters reject bid to end abortion rights – Mother Jones

Abortion rights advocates gather outside the Kansas State Capitol to protest the Supreme Court ruling on abortion in Topeka, Kansas, on June 24.Charlie Riddle/Associated Press

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In first vote test on abortion After the Supreme Court overturned the verdict in June Roe v. WadeOn Tuesday, a majority of Kansas voters rejected an amendment to the state’s constitution that would have eliminated the right to abortion recognized by the Kansas Supreme Court. A vote on the amendment could pave the way for the Republican-controlled legislature to pass laws that further restrict abortion, potentially affecting not just Kansas but millions of Americans from neighboring states.

In 2019, the Kansas Supreme Court rule The state’s Bill of Rights protects individual autonomy. The court ruled that this right “includes the ability to control one’s own body, maintain bodily integrity and exercise the right to self-determination,” which “allows women to make decisions about their own bodies, health, family formation and family life – including whether to continue pregnancy. Although not Absolutely, but the right is fundamental.”

Republican Congressman put Voting amendments after the state Senate and House of Representatives approved the measure. Then, a simple majority of voters would be necessary to enshrine it in the Kansas Constitution.

The months and weeks leading up to the referendum were door-to-door canvassinga multi-million dollar campaign advertise, and a heated messaging battle. Supporters of the “value them” constitution Amendment Have claim Without its passage, Kansas would become a “permanent destination for extreme abortion procedures” and “unlimited abortions” would enter the state. They said the amendment would protect “common sense restrictions on the abortion industry.”Most of the funds The movement for the amendment comes from the Archdiocese of Kansas City, which donated $2.45 million, and the Catholic Diocese of Wichita.National anti-abortion group Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America invests $1.3 million promote Amendment.

The reality is that abortion has regulated In Kansas, though not yet to the extent of the other crimson states. The state bans procedures beyond 22 weeks, imposes a 24-hour waiting period and biased counseling, requires minors to obtain parental consent, and limits public funding for abortions.No late-term abortions in Kansas since before the state Supreme Court ruling. 2021, 90% Abortions in the state occur before the 12th week of pregnancy.

“Speakers on the other side are trying to tie it to reasonable regulation, but it’s absolutely deceiving,” Ashley All, speaking with pro-constitutional liberty Kansas alliance Oppose the amendment, tell me a week before Election Day. “It’s about opening the door to a total ban.” Fighting disinformation has been a “challenging full-time job”, she said.

Fears that the Kansas legislature might try to enact a ban on abortion almost entirely is not unfounded.A Republican member of the state legislature proposed a bill The last session would have banned and made abortion a felony. The bill includes exceptions for miscarriage, stillbirth and ectopic pregnancy, but not rape or incest.

Opponents of constitutional amendment say language The content on the ballot paper is misleading and confusing.they think republicans deliberately Put this question on the primary election rather than the November general election ballot, which usually has lower turnout, especially from unaffiliated voters who may not have known they were allowed to vote on the measure. in Kansas, 44% Republicans make up 26 percent of registered voters, Democrats make up 26 percent, and independent voters make up about 30 percent. Kansas special election on abortion rights, attorney Orion de Nevers of the nonprofit Campaign Law Center, wrote exist slate“designed to get Republican primary voters to decide the issue, and the voices of Democrats and unaffiliated voters — who make up 55 percent of Kansas voters combined — are unheard of.” Republican Secretary of State Scott Schwab expected The surge in primary votes was partly fueled by the abortion amendment.

All who have worked in politics in the state for 18 years said it was encouraging to see people mobilized for the vote. One weekend in Wichita, All saw an older woman on crutches pull a ticket in 95-degree heat. Her grandmother died from an illegal abortion. “I’ve never felt this energy,” Orr told me. “A lot of people have been touched by this issue in different ways.”

Kansas Constitutional Freedom began expanding its campaign in May and June following the Supreme Court ruling. Give way draft decision Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health, and by July, volunteer teams were knocking on doors every day in major metropolitan areas, with small groups in more remote rural areas. To appeal to more independent and conservative voters, the group sought to send the message that passing the amendment would “force the government to control private medical decisions,” All said.

In late July, Mandy Calberson, a volunteer in the Kansas City suburb of Overland Park, told me she didn’t want Kansas to be “another Texas or another Oklahoma”—both The state joins neighboring Missouri in effectively passing legislation banning most abortions. Despite restrictions in place and a long history of anti-abortion demonstrations—including the 1991 Summer of Mercy protest, This effectively shuts down the city of Wichita, and assassinate Dr. George Tiller, Abortion Provider, Term 3, 2009 – Kansas has become a haven For patients seeking abortion in the Midwest and South.After Texas enacted a six-week ban in 2021, Kansas suppliers began experience patient bottleneck.

In addition to Kansas, other states may soon catch Voting initiatives on abortion rights, including Michigan, California, Vermont and Montana.

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