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Kansas Votes to Preserve Abortion Rights Protections in Its Constitution

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OVERLAND PARK, Kansas — Voters in Kansas voted strongly against removing abortion rights from the state constitution, according to the Associated Press. A big win for the abortion rights movement.

The referendum loss by referendum was the most obvious political backlash ever against the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn the landmark Roe v. Wade decision that has protected abortion rights across the nation. With about 80% of the votes tallied as of Tuesday night, the decisive margin of 60 to 39% is a surprise, with both sides spending millions in advertising after a feverish campaign. That’s after knocking on the door through the pouring, sweltering stretch of the final campaign.

“Kansas voters have been very vocal. We will not tolerate a drastic ban on abortion,” said Rachel Sweet, campaign manager for the Kansas Constitutional Liberal Party.

Ms Sweet told her supporters that her willingness to work across partisan lines and ideological differences helped her side win.

Registered Republicans far outnumbered Democrats in Kansas, and abortion rights activists clearly appealed to independent and center-right voters. In an interview last week, many voters said they were registered Republicans but opposed the amendment.

Jo Dee Adelung, 63, said, “We’re watching the polls take place. We’re seeing changes in some counties where Donald Trump had a big percentage of the vote. Kansas. A Democrat from Merriam who has been knocking on doors and calling out voters in recent weeks.

She hopes the results will send the message that voters are “looking really hard at all the issues, doing what’s right for Kansas, and not simply breaking the line of the party.”

Value The Both, the group leading the yes vote, tweeted, “This result is a temporary setback and our dedicated fight to care for women and babies is not over. ” he said.

The Kansas poll, three months before the midterm elections, marked the first direct participation of U.S. voters on the issue of abortion since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade earlier this summer. did.

The referendum, which draws attention from both sides of the abortion controversy, is all the more important because Kansas sits next to a state where abortion is already outlawed in nearly all cases. Over $12 million has been spent on advertising, split roughly evenly between the two factions. If passed, this amendment would remove abortion protections from state constitutions, opening the way for legislators to prohibit or restrict abortion.

Prior to the ballot held at the same time as the primary election, Scott SchwabRepublican Secretary of State, predicted About 36% of Kansas voters will participate, up slightly from the 2020 primary, the year of the presidential election., He later said there were signs of much higher voter turnout. .

“We said the spotlight would move to Kansas after a decision was made in Washington,” said David Langford, a retired engineer from Leawood, Kansas. Pastors gathering support.

Kansas has a history of bipartisan gubernatorial elections, but the state almost always favors the Republican Party. Lyndon B. Johnson in 1964 was a notable exception.It’s a predominantly white state and many Kansas states identification As a Christian, I have a sizeable evangelical constituency. Rome, Kansas City, Kansas His Catholic Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann was a hero to many conservative Catholics for his vehemently opposed abortion, contraception, and same-sex marriage.

The push for the amendment is rooted in a 2019 ruling by the Kansas Supreme Court that nullified several abortion restrictions and found that abortion rights are guaranteed by the state constitution. The decision enraged Republicans who have passed abortion restrictions and campaigned on the issue for years. They used an overwhelming majority in Congress last year to put the issue on his 2022 vote.

The state-level battle over abortion limits took on much greater significance after the country’s Supreme Court overturned the Roe decision, paving the way for states to overstep limits and outlaw abortion altogether in June. He was taken. While the Roman Catholic Church and other religious and conservative groups have spent millions of dollars in support of the amendment, abortion rights advocates across the country have rallied in numbers to oppose the amendment. Invested a million dollars.

Amendment supporters have repeatedly said the amendment itself does not ban abortion, and Republican lawmakers have been careful not to telegraph what would happen to the legislative plan if the amendment were passed. was

“A yes vote does not mean that abortions are not allowed. Jane Musho said, “I think abortion should be legal, but I think there should be limits to it.”

But if the amendment passed, the question wasn’t whether Republicans would try to use their congressional majority to pass new restrictions, but how far they would go to do so. Many Kansasians say they fear a full or near-total abortion ban will be passed within months

abortion is now legal Up to 22 weeks pregnant in Kansas.

“We don’t want to be the state that bans abortions for any reason,” said Barbara Griger of Overland Park. She said, “The choice is every woman’s choice, not the government’s.”

a Pew Research Center research A paper published last month found that a majority of Americans said abortion should be legal in all or most cases, and more than half of adults opposed the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Law’s ruling. There is

Kansas has been the focus of the national abortion debate since at least 1991. At this time, protesters from across the country flocked to Wichita to block access to clinics during weeks of intense demonstrations they called the Summer of Mercy.

At times, states have seen violence over this issue.of 1986, an abortion clinic in Wichita was attacked with a pipe bomb. In 1993, an anti-abortion woman shot and wounded Dr. George Tiller, one of the few American doctors to perform late-term abortions. In 2009, another anti-abortion activist shot and killed Dr. Tiller at a church in Wichita.

In recent years, especially in the weeks since Law’s collapse, Kansas has become a haven in a region where access to abortion has become increasingly rare.

Even before the Supreme Court decision Nearly half of miscarriages Performances in Kansas were attended by out-of-state residents. Oklahoma and Missouri now ban abortion in nearly all cases, Nebraska may restrict abortion further in the coming months, and new bans are in place in Arkansas and Texas. State women travel well beyond state lines.

Kansas voters are generally conservative on many issues, but pre-referendum polls suggested a close and nuanced public opinion on abortion. Kansas is not a political monolith. In addition to the Democratic governor, the majority of Kansas Supreme Court justices are Democratic-appointed, and Democratic Rep. Sharice David represents the Kansas City suburbs in Congress.

David’s constituency was once a moderate stronghold of the Republican Party. Democrat leaning in recent years. Her re-election contest in November in a reorganized district could be one of the most competitive House elections in the country, with party strategists vying for districts like hers, including swathes of upscale suburbs. I hope that the abortion controversy will play an important role in

Political strategists are particularly sensitive to voter turnout in suburban Kansas City, trying to gauge how exciting abortion is. This is especially true for swing voters and Democratic supporters in the post-Loe environment.

Veteran Democratic strategist James Carville said, “They’re going to look at ways to advise candidates to talk about this issue. They’re going to look at any political handicap.” “Every campaign consultant, everybody’s watching this like it’s the Super Bowl.”

As the election drew closer, especially since the Supreme Court ruling, rhetoric on the issue became more heated.Both campaign billboards were vandalized, police officials and activists said. In the Kansas City suburb of Overland Park, vandals targeted a Catholic church and defaced the building and a statue of Mary with red paint.

Before Tuesday’s poll, which coincided with the primary, Scott SchwabRepublican Secretary of State, predicted About 36% of Kansas voters participated, up slightly from the 2020 primary, the year of the presidential election. His office said the constitutional amendment had “increased voter interest in the election,” and that sentiment was evident on the ground.

“I love women’s rights,” said Norma Hamilton, a 90-year-old Republican from Lenexa, Kansas.

Elizabeth Diaz contributed to the report.

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