Kansas rejects the ballot proposition that would have weakened abortion rights
Kansas rejects the ballot proposition that would have weakened abortion rights

In the first test at the polls after Roe v. Wade was reversed by the U.S. Supreme Court in June, voters in Kansas rejected an amendment that would have curtailed safeguards for abortion in the state. This was a major victory for proponents of reproductive rights.

While the Republican-sponsored Amendment 2 would not have outright outlawed abortion in Kansas, a yes vote “would affirm there is no Kansas constitutional right to abortion or to require the government funding of abortion” and would have allowed the Republican-controlled legislature to enact more restrictions. The no vote was leading by more than 20 points when the Associated Press declared the election.

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The initiative sought to reverse a 2019 ruling by the Kansas state Supreme Court, which declared 6-1 that the state constitution “enables a woman to make decisions involving her body, health, family formation, and family life, including the decision whether to continue a pregnancy.”

Due in large part to that choice, Kansas was still able to maintain abortion rights in spite of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in late June that the right to access the procedure is not guaranteed by the U.S. constitution. Republicans have nearly entire restrictions in place in Kansas’ bordering states, such as Missouri and Oklahoma, making it a safe sanctuary for local residents.

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According to Planned Parenthood Great Plains CEO Emily Wales, “This historic victory was the result of a groundswell of grassroots support and a broad coalition of rational, thinking Kansans across the state who put health care over politics.” “We have witnessed the destruction brought about by a lack of access to abortion in neighbouring states, and tonight, Kansans saw through the deceit of anti-abortion organisations to guarantee individuals in their state preserved their rights. Our work goes on now more than ever.

In 2020, former President Donald Trump won the state by a margin of 15 points. Additionally, the proposal was purposely put on the primary ballot by Republican legislators in the hopes that the customary turnout — which is often lower and more conservative than the general election in November, with fewer unaffiliated people casting ballots — would help the amendment pass. A July poll found 47 percent in support of the amendment, 43 percent opposing, and 10 percent unsure. The minimal polling in the contest had indicated a tight race.

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The triumph was attained in a state that former President Donald Trump won by a margin of 15 points in 2020. Additionally, it follows Republican legislators specifically placing the initiative on the primary ballot in the hopes that the usual turnout — lower and more conservative than the general election in November, with fewer unaffiliated voters going to the polls — would support the amendment’s passage. A July poll found 47 percent in support of the amendment, 43 percent opposing, and 10 percent unsure, indicating a close race based on the few available polling in the contest.

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The majority of Americans, according to polls, favour legalising abortion, and Democrats are hoping that this topic will influence voters to back their candidates in the upcoming election. The triumph coincides with the Justice Department’s announcement that it would sue Idaho over a stringent abortion legislation, which the federal government claims inhibits emergency department doctors from providing pregnant patients with sufficient treatment.

Although Democrats have held statewide office in Kansas, including the current governor Laura Kelly, who won the election in 2018 by defeating Republican Kris Kobach, the contentious former secretary of state, Democrats have consistently supported Republicans for president and the U.S. Senate over the course of many years. This autumn, Republican attorney general Derek Schmidt will run against Kelly, who opposed the measure.

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Kansas will not be the only state to vote on the topic in 2022; proposals pertaining to abortion will also be up for vote in California, Kentucky, Montana, Vermont, and probably Michigan this November. Additionally, elections for governor in states like Pennsylvania are probably going to have an impact on the procedure’s constitutionality.