Kansas Votes to Preserve Abortion Rights Protections in Its Constitution, As reported by The Associated Press, Kansas voters rejected efforts to remove the right to abortion from the state constitution, handing a significant victory to the abortion rights movement in a traditionally conservative state in America.
Yet, there has been no visible evidence of a backlash against the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe vs. Wade, which had safeguarded abortion rights in all 50 states. After a fierce campaign in which both parties spent millions of dollars on advertising and knocking on doors, the decisive margin of 59 to 41 percent, with nearly 95 percent of the votes tabulated, came as a surprise.
According to news Rachel Sweet, the campaign manager for Kansans for Constitutional Freedom, the group that organized the opposition to the amendment, “The voters in Kansas have spoken loud and clear: We will not tolerate severe limits on abortion.”
Supporters were encouraged by Ms. Sweet to cooperate across partisan and ideological divides to assist their side wins the election.
Even though Republicans outnumber Democrats in Kansas, pro-abortion activists targeted independents and center-right members in their campaigns. Johnson County, Kansas, is one of the most populated states. Last week, many who spoke to the media stated they were registered Republicans but voted against the amendment.
Some of the counties where Donald Trump garnered the most votes have been “simply ravaged,” says Jo Dee Adelung, a 63-year-old Democrat from Merriam, Kansas, who has been knocking on doors and calling voters in recent weeks.
There is little doubt that voters in Kansas are “truly looking at all the problems and doing what’s best for Kansas, rather than just going down party lines,” she added in a statement.
“This decision is a momentary setback, and our devoted struggle to value women and newborns is far from finished,” tweeted Value Them Both, a group leading the vote-yes movement.
After the Supreme Court’s decision in Roe v. Wade this summer, American voters haven’t had a chance to weigh in on abortion until now, three months before the midterm elections.
As a result of Kansas’ proximity to states where abortion is already illegal in nearly all situations, the referendum garnered additional attention from prominent figures on both sides of the abortion debate. About $12 million has been spent on advertising, which has been evenly divided between the two sides. – Absent a vote in favour of the amendment, the state constitution would no longer contain any restrictions on the right to an abortion.
Scott Schwab, the Republican secretary of Kansas, anticipated that 36% of the state’s registered voters would participate in the primary election, which was held at the same time as the preceding the 2020 presidential election. A feeling that could be felt on the ground is that the constitutional change “has raised voter interest in the election.”
To get the amendment passed, David Langford, a retired engineer from Leawood, Kan., sought out Protestant pastors for support, saying, “We’ve been saying that if a decision is made in Washington, the spotlight will transfer to Kansas.”
Kansas usually backs Republicans in presidential elections, with one notable exception in 1964: Lyndon B. Johnson. While Kansas has historically elected governors from both parties, it almost always supports Republicans for president. Many Kansans are Christian, and there is a significant evangelical population. Cardinal Joseph F. Naumann is a hero to many conservative Catholics for his staunch stance against abortion, contraception, and gay marriage in the Roman Catholic Church.
After a Kansas Supreme Court judgment in 2019 declared that the right to an abortion was protected under the state’s constitution, a group of lawmakers pushed for an amendment to the state constitution. Infuriated Republicans had spent years establishing abortion restrictions and lobbying on the topic before this verdict. They put the case on the ballot for 2022 with overwhelming support in the legislature last year.
After the Supreme Court of the United States overruled Roe v. Wade in June, the battles over abortion regulations at the state level took on new significance. National pro-life groups invested millions of dollars into the contest, while religious and conservative groups poured millions into supporting the amendment.
If it passed, Republicans were careful not to give away what their legislative objectives would be if the amendment became law.
A yes vote “doesn’t mean that abortion won’t be allowed; it means that we’re going to enable our legislators to choose the breadth of abortion,” said Mary Jane Muchow of Overland Park, Kan. “Abortion should be allowed, but there should be restrictions,” one pro-choice advocate said.
It was not a matter of whether Republicans would use their commanding legislative majorities to establish new limits if the amendment had passed but how far they would go in doing so. Most Kansans who favor abortion rights worry that a total or near-total ban on abortion will be given in the next several months.
Until the 22nd week of a pregnancy, an abortion is permissible in Kansas.
According to Barbara Grigar of Overland Park, a centrist who plans to vote against the amendment, “I don’t want to become another state that bans all abortion for any reason.” It is the choice of every woman, not the government’s, to have freedom of choice.
According to a recent Pew Research Center survey, most Americans believe that abortion should be legal in all or most situations, and more than half of adults disagree with the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.
Since the Summer of Mercy protests in Wichita, Kansas, in 1991, the state has been a focal point of the national abortion debate, with demonstrators from across the country gathering in Wichita and blocking access to clinics for weeks.
As a result, there have been incidents of violence in the state. A pipe bomb was detonated at an abortion clinic in Wichita, Kansas, in 1986. Dr. George Tiller, one of only a handful of American doctors who conducted late-term abortions, was shot and wounded by a woman who opposed abortion in 1993. Dr. Tiller was assassinated in his Wichita church in 2009 by another anti-abortion campaigner.
Because of the recent Roe decision, Kansas has become a shelter for women seeking an abortion in an area where it is becoming increasingly difficult to get one.
Nearly half of all abortions in Kansas were done on women who lived outside the state before the Supreme Court’s decision. Abortion is already illegal in most of Oklahoma and Missouri, and the state of Nebraska may tighten its restrictions on the practice in the coming months. Meanwhile, where new rules are in place, women in Arkansas and Texas are seeking abortions outside of their home states.
Before the referendum, polling indicated a close race and a wide range of popular views on abortion in Kansas. Politics in the state are not a single entity: In addition to its Democratic governor, Kansas has a Democratic majority on the state’s Supreme Court, and Democratic Congresswoman Sharice Davids represents the Kansas City suburbs in Washington, D.C.
There was formerly a moderate Republican majority in the district represented by Ms. Davids, but it has recently shifted to the left. One of the country’s most competitive House contests is expected to be held in November in a reconfigured district, and party strategists expect the abortion debate to play a vital role.
As a result, political strategists in the Kansas City suburbs have been paying close attention to voter turnout to determine how motivating abortion is for swing voters and Democrats in the post-Roe era of politics.
James Carville, a veteran Democratic strategist: “They’re going to see how to advise their candidates to talk about the issue; they’re going to be looking at every political handicap.” Every political strategist is watching this like it’s Super Bowl XLVII.”
Rhetoric on the subject has heated up as the election has neared, especially since the Supreme Court decision. According to police and activists, both sides’ campaign signs have been vandalized. Red paint was used to deface a Catholic church and a figure of Mary in Overland Park, a suburb of Kansas City.
Scott Schwab, the Republican secretary of state, anticipated that 36% of Kansas voters would participate in the primary elections on Tuesday, which coincided with the primary elections in 2020, a presidential election year. A feeling that could be felt on the ground is that the constitutional change “has raised voter interest in the election.”
Norma Hamilton, a 90-year-old Republican from Lenexa, Kansas, stated, “I like the women’s rights.” She said she voted no, despite her party affiliation.