In the primary statewide referendum on abortion rights after the US Supreme Court struck down Roe v Wade, voters in Kansas have affirmed that the proper to an abortion is protected by the state’s structure.
Kansas voters overwhelmingly rejected a proposed constitutional modification that sought to take away protections for abortion rights, denying the state’s anti-abortion lawmakers from drafting extreme restrictions on reproductive healthcare.
Turnout exploded previous projected numbers and sure neared 50 per cent, rivaling the turnout for the 2008 presidential election, based on Kansas Secretary of State Scott Schwab.
The vote – and the huge turnout for a major election within the state – underscores the deep unpopularity of the Supreme Court’s choice to overturn Roe v Wade and makes an attempt to make abortion unlawful, possible sending a powerful marketing campaign message within the midst of key midterm elections.
A 2019 choice from the state’s Supreme Court decided that “personal autonomy” protections within the state structure embrace abortion, enshrining the proper of Kansans to hunt an abortion, even within the occasion that the Supreme Court struck down abortion rights. The proposed modification sought to explicitly take away these protections.
Without any federal- or state-level constitutional protections for abortion entry, the state’s Rebublican-dominated legislature was more likely to cross extreme anti-abortion restirictions much like these which were enacted throughout the US in latest weeks.
“Kansas values have always exemplified freedom, and tonight, Kansas continued that legacy,” Emily Wales, president of Planned Parenthood Great Plains Votes mentioned in a press release.
“Anti-abortion politicians put this amendment on the primary ballot with the goal of low voter turnout, but they discounted Kansans, who said loud and clear they believe and trust patients to make their own medical decisions — especially during a dark moment in history when people across the Midwest and South are not afforded that same freedom,” she mentioned.
On 24 June, the Supreme Court’s choice in Dobbs v Jackson Women’s Health Organization on 24 June ended the half-century of precedent for abortion rights established below 1973’s Roe v Wade.
Kansas has turn out to be a haven for authorized entry to abortion care within the area, as neighouring states Missouri and Oklahoma outlaw the process in practically all instances.
Abortion is authorized in Kansas as much as 20 weeks of being pregnant, although roughly half of all abortions carried out within the state in 2021 had been amongst individuals who traveled from elsewhere, largely neighbouring Missouri.
In the weeks after the Dobbs choice on 24 June, three of the 4 states served by Planned Parenthood Great Plains misplaced authorized entry to abortion. Before the ruling, Oklahoma lawmakers handed a sequence of extreme anti-abortion legal guidelines, together with a near-total ban on abortion punishable as much as 10 years in jail. Anti-abortion legal guidelines in Missouri and Arkansas additionally went into impact within the Supreme Court’s aftermath.
Kansas – like many different states with slim authorized entry to abortion – already has tight restrictions on abortion, together with necessities that sufferers should endure state-directed counseling and an ultrasound, a compulsory 24-hour ready interval, and bans on sure medical insurance protection and telemedicine appointments for medicine abortion prescriptions.
“But Kansans have seen what happens when there is a total ban in neighboring states and the devastation that causes,” Anamarie Rebori-Simmons, spokesperson for Planned Parenthood Great Plains Votes, informed The Independent.
The Supreme Court choice “really did galvanize a lot of people, and made that real for people in ways that they could relate to and find a way into this conversation,” Zachary Gingrich-Gaylord, a spokesperson for Trust Women, which operates a clinic within the state, informed The Independent.
“The majority of people agree that people should have access to reproductive health care, that the government should not be making decisions about that for people,” he mentioned. “The problem is that … the power in this state has become so disconnected from the people.”
The outcomes additionally dealt a deadly blow to a multi-million greenback anti-abortion marketing campaign, together with help from Catholic dioceses throughout the state in addition to the Kansas-Nebraska Convention of Southern Baptists.
False and deceptive textual content messages despatched to some voters the day earlier than Election Day informed them that “women in KS are losing their choice on reproductive rights” and that “voting YES will give women a choice. Vote YES to protect women’s health.”
The marketing campaign is linked to a Republican-linked political motion committee, based on The Washington Post.
In a press release to the newspaper, the political tech firm that leased the telephone numbers to offer to the GOP-affiliated group mentioned the corporate was notified of a “possible content violation” and that the group “did not consult on this message’s messaging strategy or content”.
A spokesperson for Kansans for Constitutional Freedom, which opposed the modification, referred to as the textual content marketing campaign “yet another example of the desperate and deceitful tactics” of the anti-abortion coalition “lying to the voters of Kansas.”
In the times earlier than the election, one anti-abortion coalition amplified false election fraud conspiracy theories to demand that early-voting mail-in poll drop bins be eliminated, baselessly claiming that they might be manipulated.
Opponents of the modification additionally criticised the timing of the election – sharing a poll with no different statewide Democratic elections – and the complicated language on the poll itself.
Ads from anti-abortion teams embrace emotional, inaccurate appeals. One referred to as for the tip the “gruesome practice of late-term abortion,” although third-trimester abortions are already banned within the state. Another anti-abortion billboard used the phrase “trust women” – which is the identify of the Trust Women clinic – and a 3rd mentioned to “trust women” and “vote no”.
Later this yr, voters in California, Michigan, Nevada, and Vermont will vote on related measures to guard abortion entry of their states.