Kansas votes to preserve abortion rights in first post-Roe vs. Wade election test

Aug 2 (Reuters) – Kansas voters on Tuesday rejected an effort to remove abortion protections from the state constitution, a resounding victory for the abortion rights movement in the first election test in statewide since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade.

The amendment’s failure in the conservative state has rekindled hopes among Democrats that the abortion rights issue will lure voters to the party in November’s midterm elections, even as they s worried about soaring inflation.

The result will also prevent Kansas’ Republican-led legislature from passing tough restrictions on abortion in the state, which has become a key abortion access point for America’s Heartland.

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“This should be a real wake-up call for abortion opponents,” said Neal Allen, a political science professor at Wichita State University. “When a total ban seems like a possibility, then you’re going to attract a lot of people and you’re going to lose a lot of the more moderate supporters of abortion restrictions.”

Political analysts had expected the Kansas amendment to pass, given that Republicans typically run in greater numbers in the state’s primary elections than Democrats and Independents.

But Tuesday’s vote drew a higher-than-expected turnout. With 98% of votes counted, 59% of voters favored preserving abortion rights, compared to nearly 41% who favored removing abortion protections from the state constitution, according to Edison. Research.

“It’s a titanic result for Kansas politics,” Allen said.

The Kansas ballot initiative is the first in a series that will ask American voters to vote on abortion rights this year. Kentucky, California, Vermont and possibly Michigan will have abortion on the ballot this fall.

The successful “vote no” campaign in Kansas could offer a blueprint for abortion rights groups seeking to harness voter energy in the wake of Roe’s overthrow, Allen said.

US President Joe Biden joined Democrats across the country in applauding the results on Tuesday.

“This vote clearly shows what we know: the majority of Americans agree that women should have access to abortion and should have the right to make their own health care decisions,” Biden said in a statement.

A statewide survey released by Fort Hays State University’s Docking Institute of Public Affairs in February showed that most Kansas residents did not support a total ban on internet. ‘abortion.

Sixty percent disagreed that abortion should be completely illegal, and 50.5% said, “The Kansas government should not impose any regulations on the circumstances in which women can have themselves abort.”

Kansas Republicans have been pushing for a state constitutional amendment to eliminate the right to abortion since 2019, when the Kansas Supreme Court ruled that the state constitution protects the right to abortion.

Following the ruling, Kansas maintained more lenient policies than other conservative neighbors. The state allows abortion up to 22 weeks of pregnancy with several restrictions, including a mandatory 24-hour waiting period and mandatory parental consent for minors.


Patients travel to Kansas for abortions from Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri and other states that have almost entirely banned the procedure since the Supreme Court in June overturned Roe’s 1973 ruling that legalized abortion in all the countries.

A spokesperson for the Trust Women abortion clinic in Wichita said 60% of their abortion patients come from out of state.

Tuesday’s referendum drew national attention and money. The Value Them Both Association, which backed the amendment, raised about $4.7 million this year, about two-thirds of that from regional Catholic dioceses, according to campaign fundraising data.

Kansans for Constitutional Freedom, the main coalition opposing the amendment, raised about $6.5 million, including more than $1 million from Planned Parenthood groups.

Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America, a national anti-abortion group, said it spent $1.4 million promoting the amendment and surveyed 250,000 homes in Kansas.

“Tonight’s loss is a huge disappointment to pro-life Kansans and Americans across the country,” said Mallory Carroll, spokesperson for the group. “The stakes for the pro-life movement in the upcoming midterm elections couldn’t be higher.”

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Reporting by Gabriella Borter in Washington; Editing by Colleen Jenkins and Cynthia Osterman

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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