Kansas denies constitutional amendment, upholds legal abortions
The failure of the measure in a Republican state shows how truly unpopular overturning Roe v. Wade was.
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Amid busy midterm activity throughout the nation, historically conservative Kansas voted to keep abortion procedures legal in the state in a surprising voter turnout.
Primaries on Tuesday, Aug. 2 offered a litmus test for GOP, Trump-endorsed candidates during the country’s midterm elections, and while many elections resulted positively for MAGA candidates, Kansas had a message.
In a 60-40 result, Kansas voters roundly defeated a confusing amendment that Republicans poised to override abortion. The question to voters on the ballot was “yes” to end the right to abortion or “no” to preserve it.
On Monday, Aug. 1, Democratic voters were targeted by way of an inaccurately framed campaign text message from an unknown source, asking voters to mark “yes” on the ballot to protect a woman’s right to choose.
The Washington Post reported that former U.S. Rep. Tim Huelskamp was behind the covert attempt to mislead voters using voter registration data. State officials confirmed the message didn’t violate any state laws, confirming that lying in advertisements was not illegal.
Additionally, campaign outreach messages do not require senders to reveal their identities.
However, Republicans underestimated voters and saw defeat by a wide margin.
“You guys, we did it,” said Rachel Sweet, campaign manager for Kansans for Constitutional Freedom, as she addressed a crowd of abortion-rights supporters at a watch party in Overland Park. “We blocked this amendment. Can you believe it?”
Why it matters
In 2019, the Kansas Supreme Court ruled that abortion would be maintained as a legal procedure in a 6-1 vote, blocking a law that sought to ban the procedure during the second trimester of pregnancy.
But once the Supreme Court struck down the landmark Roe v. Wade, Republicans at the state level switched gears and introduced amendments to the constitution. By employing specific wording, the amendments state the Constitution does not guarantee the right to an abortion.
A preliminary report by the Kansas Department of Health showed that over 7,000 abortions were performed in the state. While there are out-of-state abortion seekers, data also showed that they account for a negligible number of overall procedures.
The big picture
Following the election results, the White House released a statement addressing Congress.
“This vote makes clear 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,” President Joe Biden said in the statement.
While the future of abortion remains unsure, small elections will play a key role to assure a nationwide stance on abortion.