Kansas voted to keep abortion rights in the first popular consultation on the subject since the Supreme Court of the United States ended the federal right to that procedure in June. This conservative Midwestern state in the United States rejected an amendment known as “Value Them Both” (Value both), which would have eliminated the constitutional right of the state with the aim of returning to legislators the regulation of the procedure. With more than 87 percent of the votes counted, the result was 60 percent against to 40 percent for.
This amendment was introduced in the Republican-dominated state Congress by a group of legislators. Voting is widely seen as a test for the right to abortion throughout the countryas Republican-dominated legislatures rush to impose strict bans on the procedure following the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down the 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling that guaranteed that right.
Abortion rights advocates celebrated the victory. “I’m beside myself,” confessed Anne Melia, a volunteer for the pro-abortion campaign.
Moments after the polls closed, Scott Schwab, who oversaw the Kansas election, said the turnout was at least 50 percent, a figure expected for this type of election. By noon, 250 voters had voted at the Olathe polling station, the same number as an all-day presidential election, according to election official Marsha Barrett. “These elections are crazy”Barrett stated. “People are determined to vote,” she added.
President Joe Biden applauded the decision. “Tonight, Kansas residents used their voices to protect women’s right to choose and access to reproductive health care,” she wrote on Twitter. “This is an important victory for Kansas, but also for every American who believes that women should be able to make their own health decisions without government interference,” she added.
In a separate statement, he urged Congress to “listen to the will of the American people” and pass a bill that codifies the right to abortion.
Other states, including California and Kentucky, will vote on the issue in November.along with the midterm elections, in which both Republicans and Democrats hope to mobilize supporters across the country around abortion.
Activists saw the amendment as an attempt to clear the way for an outright ban. A state legislator has already introduced a bill to ban abortion without exception, whether for rape, incest or risk to the life of the mother.
For Ashley All, spokesperson for the pro-abortion Kanseños for Constitutional Freedom campaign, Tuesday’s election result was “remarkable.” “Kansas understood that this amendment would require the government to control private medical decisions”he indicated.
Morgan Spoor, 19, voted for the first time, wanting to promote “the right to choose.” “I really want to make my voice heard, especially as a woman. I don’t think anyone can say what a woman can do with her body,” she said.
By contrast, Sylvia Brantley, 60, earlier said “yes” to the amendment because she believes “babies count, too.” She explained that she wanted more regulations so that Kansas would not be a place “where babies are killed.”
While abortion rights advocates in Kansas could breathe a sigh of relief in their own state, they still look nervously at the neighboring states of Oklahoma and Missouri, which have almost completely banned abortion, while in Indiana there are many restrictions.
“Kansas stood up for fundamental rights today,” tweeted state Governor Laura Kelly. “We rejected divisive legislation that jeopardized our economic future and put women’s access to health at risk,” she added.
Kara Miller Karmas, a resident of Leawood, Kansas, said she went to the polls to maintain the “status quo” because she considers it “unacceptable” that her daughters grow up with fewer rights than she had. But in the same neighborhood, Christine Vasquez, 43, said she supports reform in the hope that it will pave the way for a future vote on an abortion ban.
Kansas result involves upholding a 2019 state Supreme Court ruling that guarantees access to abortion until the 22nd week of gestation. Kansas tends to support the Republican Party, which favors stricter regulation of abortion. A 2021 Fort Hays State University survey found that fewer than 20 percent of respondents in that state agreed that abortion should be illegal even in cases of rape or incest.