UNITED STATES. Kansas: Kansas voters on Tuesday rejected a proposal to change the state constitution to declare that there is no legal right to an abortion in the state.
Since the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson’s Women’s Health Organization, Kansas was the first state to vote on abortion rights.
The decision acts as a rebuttal to the regional trend of states severely restricting access and, for the time being, protects access to abortion in Kansas.
Since Roe v. Wade was overturned, people from other states have started travelling to Kansas for abortions.
Supporters said the amendment was required to remedy the Kansas Supreme Court’s alleged overreach in 2019 when it struck down some of the state’s earlier abortion restrictions.
The amendment’s critics said it would enable state legislators to pursue a complete abortion ban.
Before Tuesday, Republicans largely kept their mouths shut and wouldn’t specify how much they wanted to restrict access to abortion if the amendment passed.
Abortion rights in Kansas
Kansas does have abortion restrictions, such as only allowing post-22-week abortions in situations where the unborn child’s life is in danger.
In addition, the state mandates an ultrasound before an operation.
A bill that prohibited the most common second-trimester procedure was stopped by the 2019 Kansas Supreme Court decision defending abortion rights. Another law that placed additional health requirements on abortion providers was also put on hold.
All of the state’s current limits on abortion, according to opponents of the procedure, were said to be in jeopardy. However, that claim was disputed by several legal experts. Most abortions are still legal in Kansas until the 22nd week of pregnancy.
Republicans have cast twice as many ballots as Democrats on primary election day over the past ten years, so supporters of the proposal started with an advantage. But a higher percentage of Democrats than usual participated in early voting.
In the state, more than $14 million was spent on the campaigns by both sides combined. Abortion clinics and pro-abortion organizations contributed significantly to the “no” side, while Catholic dioceses contributed substantially to the “yes” side.
For 30 years, the state’s legislature has had significant anti-abortion majorities, but voters have consistently chosen Democratic governors, including Laura Kelly in 2018.
Kelly disagreed with the idea of amending the state constitution, claiming that doing so would “send the state back into the Dark Ages.”