Kansas voters support the right to abortion in the state constitution

For the first time since the Supreme Court overturned the Roe v. Wade, leave it to the states to decide Access to abortion, the issue appeared on state ballot. in Kansas, CBS News anticipates a proposed amendment to the state constitution that would abolish the constitutional right to abortion.

The Kansas ballot initiative is seen as pioneering the impact of abortion on the November midterm elections.

Since the Supreme Court’s decision to end the federal right to abortion, at least 12 states have banned abortions entirely or after six weeks of pregnancy. Other countries are also expected to go ahead with more restrictions.

In Kansas, voters reaffirmed that abortion is constitutionally protected, leaving behind the 2019 decision of the state Supreme Court. This provision stipulated that each person had the right to personal autonomy and imposed strict control over the regulation of abortion. The Kansas legislature would not be able to ban or enact further restrictions on abortion without a constitutional amendment.

Election 2022 - Kansas - Abortion
In this photo from Thursday, July 14, 2022, a sign in a plaza in Merriam, Kansas, urges voters to oppose a proposed amendment to the Kansas Constitution to allow lawmakers to further restrict or ban abortion. Opponents of this measure believe that it will lead to a ban on abortion in Kansas.

John Hanna/AFP

“Kansans have stood up for basic rights today. We have rejected divisive legislation that has endangered our economic future and jeopardized access to women’s health care.” chirp Kansas Democratic Governor. Laura Kelly. “Together, we will continue to take incredible steps to make KS the best state in the country to live freely and do business.”

President Biden issued a statement saying in part, “This vote makes clear what we know: A majority of Americans agree that women should have access to abortion and should have the right to make their own health care decisions. Congress must listen to the will of the American people and restore Roe protection as federal law.”

The ‘Value Alike’ adjustment was introduced in August. 2 Primary ballot after being passed in the Republican-controlled state legislature with two-thirds of the vote in both houses in 2021.

“While the outcome is not what we had hoped for, our movement and campaign demonstrated our resolve and commitment. We will not abandon women and children,” the Value Them Both Coalition, which supported the amendment, said in a statement. The group went on to describe the outcome as a “temporary setback”.

While passing the amendment would not outright ban abortion in the state, legal experts said it would have cleared the way for the state legislature, where Republicans have a super-majority, to ban abortion.

“Under the language of the amendment, it would be possible to adopt a complete ban on abortion from the point of conception to birth, without exceptions for rape, incest, or the life or health of the mother,” said Professor Richard Levy. Law at the University of Kansas.

In the run-up to the primaries, groups for and against the amendment engaged in a fierce campaign to reach voters, knock on doors, phone banking, and hold rallies. Nearly $13 million was spent on advertising in the state on the abortion issue before the vote, according to AdImpact.

“This historic victory was the result of a wave of popular support and a broad coalition of sensible and thoughtful Kansans across the state who have put healthcare over policy,” Emily Wells, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood in Great Plains Voices, said of the amendment. beats. “We have seen the devastation caused by the loss of access to abortion in neighboring countries and tonight, Kansan saw by deceiving anti-abortion interests to ensure that people in their own country retain their rights.”

Although this was an out-of-year primaries where turnout was very low overall—in the last recent elections less than a third of voters cast ballots—early voting rose in Kansas before August 1st. 2 primary, indicating that voters were highly motivated by the abortion issue.

Unofficial results released Tuesday evening from the Kansas Secretary of State’s office showed that more than 781,500 people voted for the amendment in the state. With 90% of the votes counted as of 11:45 p.m. Tuesday, “No” with 60.4% has advanced to “Yes” with 39.6%

In general, party officials and politicians are closely watching how the Roe v. Wade could motivate voters before the midterm elections. according to CBS News Battleground TrackerAbortion is as important an issue as the economy and inflation for women under 50. More than two-thirds of women under 50 describe the Republican Party as “extremist.” But Democrats seem disappointed with the way their party is handling the abortion issue. 59 percent said their party has not done enough to protect access, while a majority of Republicans believe their party is taking the right approach on abortion.

Kansas is the first of the few states where voters have a say in abortion rights in the midterm elections. Similar measures to Kansas efforts are on ballots in Kentucky and Montana, while abortion protection initiatives have been added to state constitutions on ballots in California and Vermont. Efforts are also underway to amend the Constitution to protect the right to abortion in Michigan.

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