Kansas Will Soon Be The First State To Vote On Abortion Rights Post-Roe

by | Jul 29, 2022 | Politics

WICHITA, Kan. ― In the last few weeks, Janelle Bogart has knocked on dozens of doors in the Wichita suburbs reminding people to head to the polls Tuesday. The vote will decide whether to keep abortion legal in Kansas — a state that, against all odds, has become a valuable refuge for millions of people living in states where abortion is now illegal. “This is a really personal vote for me,” Bogart told me while canvassing in 103-degree heat. The 37-year-old is in sales but uses her free time to canvass for Kansans for Constitutional Freedom, an abortion rights organization working against the proposed amendment. Advertisement“I don’t want to have a daughter and when she asks, ‘Where were you when Roe fell and Kansas took away abortion protections?’ I don’t want to say, ‘Well, we were just really busy,’” Bogart said. “I want to be able to tell her, ‘Girl, I busted my ass trying to protect your right to choose, too.’” The “Value Them Both” amendment, created by anti-abortion Christian groups, will be the first vote on abortion rights since the Supreme Court last month repealed Roe v. Wade, the 1973 ruling that afforded federal abortion rights. If the amendment passes, it will remove protections for abortion care from the state constitution and open the door for anti-abortion lawmakers to pursue a total ban ― a move Republicans have publicly denied but were caught on tape discussing. A total abortion ban in Kansas would decimate access for people in Kansas as well as those in neighboring states. The amendment is in response to a 2019 Kansas Supreme Court decision that ruled the state’s constitution fundamentally protects abortion rights. A yes vote on the amendment is a vote to strike down those constitutional abortion protections, while a no vote supports keeping the current protections in place.“All eyes are on Kansas right now,” said Ashley Brink, director at Trust Women’s clinic in Wichita. “What happens here will set the tone for what we’re expected to see in the coming months, even years, with abortion decisions.” AdvertisementAcross Wichita, there are hundreds of lawn signs, bumper stickers and educational leaflets speaking to just how passionate Kansans on either side feel about abortion rights. The vote will likely be a close one, with 47% of likely primary voters saying they plan to vote for the amendment and 43% plan to vote against it, according to a recent poll. Since Roe fell, just over a dozen states in the South and Midwest have already severely restricted or banned abortion, making Kansas an unexpected refuge for abortion care. Texas, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Missouri and Arkansas all have total abortion bans in effect. Other states, including North Dakota, Nebraska, Wyoming and Iowa, are in court challenging severe restrictions or waiting on bans to take effect. Put all those states together and you have most of the Midwest and much of the South. “At this point, Kansas is the unlikely sanctuary state for what seems like 50% of the country geographically,” said Dr. Allison Block, a provider at the Trust Women clinic ― the same clinic where Dr. George Tiller provided abortion care before he was murdered by an anti-abortion extremist in 2009. Tiller’s clinic, once named …

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