World · August 3, 2022

Abortion rights in the United States: Kansas votes to preserve abortion protections

Voters in the US state of Kansas on Tuesday rejected a ballot measure, which would have allowed state lawmakers to tighten restrictions or even ban the procedure altogether.

It was the first significant abortion survey since the US Supreme Court overturned Roe v Wade in June, thus removing constitutional protection for federal-level procedure.

With most votes counted, the pro-choice camp prevailed by about 20 percentage points and voter turnout approached that of a fall governor election.

Although Kansas is only a state, it is reliably conservative in national elections and has deep ties to the anti-abortion movement. Activists said the result demonstrated voters’ position on abortion, even beyond party lines.

“A coalition of voters from across the political spectrum gathered today and voted no,” said Ashley All, Kansans spokesperson for constitutional freedom, campaigning to defeat the amendment.

“They voted no to protect their neighbors. And they voted no to change the Constitution. And really, you know, they proved that our free state roots here in Kansas are alive and well.”

The proposed amendment to the Kansas Constitution would have added language stating that it does not guarantee the right to abortion.

A 2019 state Supreme Court decision stated that access to abortion is a “fundamental” right under the state’s Charter of Rights, preventing a ban and potentially undermining legislative efforts to enact new restrictions.

The referendum was closely followed as a barometer of liberal and moderate voters’ anger over the Supreme Court ruling that abolished the right to abortion nationwide.

The decisive victory served as a warning to Republicans who had celebrated the Supreme Court ruling and were moving fast with abortion bans or near bans in nearly half of the states.

It also provides a glimmer of hope for Democrats nationwide ahead of November’s midterm elections.