KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Kansas voters have struck down the “Value Them Both” constitutional amendment on abortion access Tuesday.
Residents in the Sunflower State were the first to vote on an abortion-related ballot measure since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade.
Results are still rolling in from across the state, but the Associated Press called the issue at about 9:40 p.m. Tuesday.
The ballot measure sought to overturn a 2019 state Supreme Court decision that said abortion rights were protected under the state constitution. Under the court’s ruling, lawmakers can’t pass laws restricting abortion access without “strict scrutiny” from the court.
If it had passed, the amendment would have added language to the state constitution to say there’s no constitutional right to abortion in Kansas. From there, it would have left the future of abortion rights in state lawmakers’ hands.
Because the amendment has failed, the state constitution will stay the same and will continue to recognize the right to an abortion under the Kansas Supreme Court’s ruling.
The Value Them Both Coalition released the following statement Tuesday night:
“Over the last six months, Kansans endured an onslaught of misinformation from radical left organizations that spent millions of out-of-state dollars to spread lies about the Value Them Both Amendment.”
“Sadly, the mainstream media propelled the left’s false narrative, contributing to the confusion that misled Kansans about the amendment. While the outcome is not what we hoped, our movement and campaign have proven our resolve and commitment. We will not abandon women and babies.”
“The Value Them Both Coalition wants to thank our amazing, faithful grassroots supporters across the great state of Kansas. Your strength, goodwill, and tireless efforts should give everyone in the Sunflower State hope for the future.”
“This outcome is a temporary setback, and our dedicated fight to value women and babies is far from over. As our state becomes an abortion destination, it will be even more important for Kansans to support our pregnancy resource centers, post-abortive ministries, and other organizations that provide supportive care to women facing unexpected pregnancies. We will be back.”
Current abortion restrictions
Even with protection under the state constitution, there are restrictions on abortion in Kansas.
Abortion is strictly limited after 22 weeks. The procedure only happens in rare circumstances when the pregnant person’s life or bodily function is at stake.
Patients have to receive state-written materials that include information about abortion risks and other options. Then there is a 24-hour waiting period after receiving the materials. Additionally, patients must undergo an ultrasound.
Those under 18 have to receive permission to get an abortion. If the minor can’t get permission from a parent/guardian, they have to petition a judge.
Finally, no taxpayer money goes toward funding abortions in Kansas. Publicly funded health insurance only covers the procedure if it is necessary to save the life or bodily function of the pregnant person.
Here’s the language voters saw on their ballots. The last paragraph is what would have been added to the Kansas Constitution:
“Explanatory statement. The Value Them Both Amendment would affirm there is no Kansas constitutional right to abortion or to require the government funding of abortion, and would reserve to the people of Kansas, through their elected state legislators, the right to pass laws to regulate abortion, including, but not limited to, in circumstances of pregnancy resulting from rape or incest, or when necessary to save the life of the mother.
“A vote for the Value Them Both Amendment would affirm there is no Kansas constitutional right to abortion or to require the government funding of abortion, and would reserve to the people of Kansas, through their elected state legislators, the right to pass laws to regulate abortion.
“A vote against the Value Them Both Amendment would make no changes to the constitution of the state of Kansas, and could restrict the people, through their elected state legislators, from regulating abortion by leaving in place the recently recognized right to abortion.
“Shall the following be adopted?
“Regulation of abortion. Because Kansans value both women and children, the constitution of the state of Kansas does not require government funding of abortion and does not create or secure a right to abortion. To the extent permitted by the constitution of the United States, the people, through their elected state representatives and state senators, may pass laws regarding abortion, including, but not limited to, laws that account for circumstances of pregnancy resulting from rape or incest, or circumstances of necessity to save the life of the mother.”
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