Kansas is the first state to vote on abortion since SC overturned Roe vs Wade

Kansas is holding the nation’s first test of voter sentiments over the Supreme Court’s ruling overturning Roe v. Wade, with residents across the state deciding on Tuesday whether to allow their conservative legislature to further restrict or ban the abortion.

The referendum on the proposed anti-abortion amendment to the Kansas Constitution is being watched closely as a barometer of anger among liberal and moderate voters over the June ruling overriding the national abortion law. But the outcome may not reflect broader feelings across the country, given Kansas’ conservative nature and the fact that twice as many Republicans as Democrats voted in its August primaries over the course of the last decade.

Supporters of the measure would not say before the vote whether they intend to pursue a ban if it passes, but they have spent decades pushing for new restrictions on an almost annual basis and many other states in the Midwest and South have banned abortion in recent weeks. By not declaring their position, they sought to convince voters in favor of certain restrictions but not an outright ban.

Abortion rights advocates expect the legislature to ban abortion if the ballot measure passes, and in a wave of early voting, the electorate was more Democratic than usual.

Chandler Alton, a 28-year-old physical therapist from Overland Park, voted against the abortion measure on Tuesday.

Abortion is health care and the government should have no say in whether women receive what could be life-saving care, Alton said, adding that she would vote for it in the future. candidates who would “not let this kind of thing happen”.

Polls were busier than usual for a primary election, with rows reported in some places on Tuesday morning. Generally, primary elections in Kansas are limited to the two major parties, but unaffiliated voters can vote in this election for the constitutional amendment. Early voting in person and absentee ballots have increased in large counties in Sedgwick, Johnson and Wyandotte compared to the 2018 primary elections.

I’m actually pretty happy it’s going so well for as busy as it is, said Wyandotte County Elections Commissioner Michael Abbott.

Stephanie Kostreva, a 40-year-old school nurse from Olathe and a Democrat, said she voted yes to the measure because she is a Christian and believes life begins at conception.

I’m not convinced there should ever be an abortion,” she said. “I know there are medical emergencies and when the mother’s life is in danger, there is no there’s no reason for two people to die.

An anonymous group that sent a misleading text to Kansas voters telling them to vote yes in order to protect their choice was suspended Monday night from the Twilio messaging platform, disabling its ability to send new messages, the spokesperson said. from Twilio, Cris Paden, in an email. Twilio, without publicly identifying the sender, said it determined the account violated its acceptable use policy which prohibits the spread of misinformation.

The Kansas City Star reported that the text was sent to voters across the state, including former Democratic Governor Kathleen Sebelius. Kansans for Constitutional Freedom, the leading no-vote campaign, called the text an example of a desperate and misleading tactic.

The office of the Kansas secretary of state said it has received phone calls from the general public about the texts and acknowledges their concerns. However, state law does not authorize the Office of … to regulate campaign advertisements or messaging. The Kansas Governmental Ethics Commission also posted on Twitter that under current law, text advocacy on constitutional ballot initiatives does not require attribution.

The Kansas measure would add language to the state constitution saying it does not grant the right to abortion, allowing lawmakers to regulate it as they see fit. Kentucky will vote in November on adding similar language to its constitution.

Meanwhile, Vermont will decide in November whether to add an abortion rights provision to its constitution. A similar question will likely head into the November ballot in Michigan.

The Kansas measure is a response to a 2019 state Supreme Court ruling declaring access to abortion a matter of bodily autonomy and a fundamental right under the Human Rights Bill. State.

The two parties have together spent more than $14 million on their campaigns. Abortion providers and abortion rights groups were the main donors to the no side, while Catholic dioceses largely funded the yes campaign.

Even though some early voters favor banning nearly all abortions, the “vote yes” campaign has touted its measure as a way to restore lawmakers the power to set reasonable limits on abortion and maintain existing restrictions.

Kansas does not ban most abortions before the 22nd week of pregnancy. But a law that would ban the most common second-trimester procedure and another that would establish special health regulations for abortion providers remain pending due to legal challenges.

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre weighed in on the Kansas vote on Monday, saying: If passed, tomorrow’s vote in Kansas could lead to another state eliminating the right to choose and to eviscerate access to health care.

The Republican-controlled legislature has had anti-abortion majorities since the early 1990s. Kansas has not gone further in restricting abortion because abortion opponents have felt coerced either by previous federal court rulings, or because the governor was a Democrat, like Governor Laura Kelly, who was elected in 2018.

(Only the title and image of this report may have been edited by Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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