In Wake of Roe v. Wade, Kansas Delivers Its Own Verdict

Conservative-leaning state votes to protect abortion rights
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 3, 2022 9:03 AM CDT

(Newser) – Abortion rights have been upheld in the first state to vote on the issue since the overturning of Roe v. Wade—a reliably Republican state, too. Kansas voters on Tuesday rejected a state constitutional amendment that would have ended abortion protections, meaning the state will remain one of the few in the Midwest with legal abortion. The Catholic Church contributed more than $3 million to the "Yes" campaign to repeal abortion rights, which was also backed by Kansans for Life, per the Guardian. The "No" campaign backed by Kansans for Constitutional Freedom, Planned Parenthood, and the ACLU ultimately won what was thought to be a tight race by "unexpected" margins, per the Wall Street Journal. It holds 59% of the vote with 95% of ballots counted, per the New York Times.

"We knew it was stacked against us … but we did not despair," KCF campaign manager Rachel Sweet tells the Guardian. "We knocked tens of thousands of doors and had hundreds of thousands of phone calls," she said. "We countered millions of dollars in misinformation." Kansans for Life claimed removing abortion protections would prevent late-term abortions, abortions for minors without parental consent, and taxpayer funding for the procedure "despite none of these being the law in Kansas," per the Guardian. Abortions in the state are only permitted up to 20 weeks postfertilization, unless there are serious health concerns. The "Yes" campaign countered that Kansans faced misinformation from the "No" side, per the Journal.

"It was a tense and bitterly fought campaign that saw churches vandalized and yard signs stolen," per the Guardian. In the end, "everyone from Republicans, to unaffiliated voters to hardcore libertarians came out to say: 'No, we don't want the government involved in what we do with our bodies,'" said KCF spokesperson Ashley All. In a statement, President Biden said the vote showed "the majority of Americans agree that women should have access to abortion and should have the right to make their own health care decisions," per the AP. Anti-abortion groups, however, labeled the vote a huge disappointment. Turnout was unusually high for a Kansas primary, with estimates as high as 50%, compared with 34% in 2020 and about 27% in 2018, per the Journal. (Read more abortion stories.)

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