Kansas voters rejected an amendment that would have weakened the right to abortion under the state Constitution, a major defeat for anti-abortion activists in the post-Roe era.
The amendment and the stakes:
Kansas voters resoundingly rejected a measure which, if passed, would have established no right to abortion and no right to public funding for abortion under the state constitution.
A "yes" vote on the measure, Amendment 2, would have eliminated the right to abortion under the state Constitution, while the "no" vote would leave the constitutional protections to abortion in Kansas unchanged.
The rejection of the ballot measures leaves intact a 2019 decision by the state Supreme Court establishing a right to abortion under the Kansas Bill of Rights.
The specific language of the amendment stated: "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."
The amendment was on the ballot as a yes-no question, and would have required a simple majority of the vote to pass. The"yes" vote on the amendment was on track to lose by a margin of roughly 20 points with 99% of the votes reported as of midnight ET.
Kansas voters were the first in the country to directly weigh on abortion rights since the Supreme Court in late June overturned the abortion protections in Roe v. Wade. The defeat of the amendment marks a major loss for anti-abortion activists in Kansas and nationwide.
Four other states — Alabama, Louisiana, Tennessee, and West Virginia — have passed constitutional amendments establishing no right to abortion under their constitutions over the past decade. Those amendments have proven key to curtailing abortion access and allowing bans to go into effect in the post-Roe era.
Kansas is one of five US states where voters will directly decide the state of abortion access via ballot measures in 2022. In November, Kentucky will vote on a similar measure establishing no right to abortion, Montana will vote on a measure guaranteeing medical care to infants "born alive," and two blue states, California and Vermont, will vote on amendments to enshrine the right to abortion in their state constitutions.
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