Pro-abortion forces defeat Kansas pro-life amendment

Pro-abortion forces defeat Kansas pro-life amendment

Pro-life supporters hug during a Value Them Both watch party after a question involving a constitutional amendment removing abortion protections from the Kansas constitution failed Tuesday, Aug. 2, 2022, in Overland Park, Kan. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

Pro-abortion forces defeat Kansas pro-life amendment

TOPEKA, Kan. — Pro-abortion voters in Kansas have defeated a ballot measure which would have allowed state lawmakers to decide what restrictions should be put on abortions.

Statement on election results from Value Them Both Coalition

"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 ….

"This outcome is a temporary setback, and our dedicated fight to value women and babies is far from over …. We will be back."

The proposed amendment to the Kansas Constitution (known as "Value Them Both") would have added language stating that it does not grant the right to abortion. A 2019 Supreme Court decision declared that access to abortion is a “fundamental” right under the state’s Bill of Rights, preventing a ban and potentially thwarting legislative efforts to enact new restrictions.

While it was just one state, the heavy turnout for an August primary that typically favors Republicans was a major victory for pro-abortion forces. With most of the vote counted, they were prevailing by roughly 20 percentage points, with the turnout approaching what's typical for a fall election for governor.

President Joe Biden celebrated the pro-abortion victory saying in a statement “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.”

Pro-life lawmakers wanted to have the vote coincide with the state's August primary, arguing they wanted to make sure it got the focus, though others saw it as an obvious attempt to boost their chances of winning. Twice as many Republicans as Democrats have voted in the state's August primaries in the decade leading up to Tuesday's election.

“This outcome is a temporary setback, and our dedicated fight to value women and babies is far from over," said Emily Massey, a spokesperson for the pro-amendment campaign.

The electorate in Tuesday’s vote wasn’t typical for a Kansas primary, particularly because tens of thousands of unaffiliated voters cast ballots.

In Kansas, both sides together spent more than $14 million on their campaigns. Abortion providers and abortion rights groups were key donors to the “no” side, while Catholic dioceses heavily funded the “yes” campaign.