WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Kansas was the first state to vote on abortion rights following the Supreme Court overturning Roe vs. Wade.
On Tuesday, nearly 59% of voters voted “no” on the “Value Them Both” amendment, meaning that the state constitution would remain unchanged. The amendment, if passed, would have created a new section that says the constitution does not create or secure the right to abortion. In 2019, the Kansas Supreme Court ruled that the Kansas Constitution protects a woman’s right to an abortion.
So, what’s next for groups on both sides of the issue?
“We’re under no illusion that abortion will continue to be politicized in this state,” said Emily Wales, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Great Plains.
Organizations like Kansans for Constitutional Freedom (KCF) say their work is not over yet.
“We will still have to have conversations with voters about this issue. We will continue to have to raise the alarm when they, you know, when bad bills are put forward,” said Ashley All, director of communications for KCF.
KSN News reached out to the Value Them Both Coalition for an interview. They would not do an interview and directed us to a statement saying in part:
This outcome is a temporary setback, and our dedicated fight to value women and babies is far from over. As our state becomes an abortion destination, it will be even more important for Kansans to support our pregnancy resource centers, post-abortive ministries, and other organizations that provide supportive care to women facing unexpected pregnancies. We will be back.Value Them Both Coalition statement
KCF leaders say a key focus will be to protect Kansas Supreme Court judges.
“They are up for retention this year, and that is something that several anti-abortion organizations have started to target. They didn’t like the 2019 decision. They didn’t like the vote (Tuesday), and so they will target other things and try to reverse it,” All said.
Value Them Both Coalition has said Kansas will become an abortion destination. Planned Parenthood Great Plains has noticed an increase since the Dobbs decision but says it’s not that simple.
“For some of our patients, crossing over state lines, figuring out child care, and the cost of travel is overwhelming, and they will not access care. So we are committed to the long-term fights to restore care across the four states we serve,” Wales said.
KSN News reached out to several lawmakers who have publicly supported the “Value Them Both” amendment to talk about their legislative plans moving forward but did not hear back by the time this story ran.