Kansas Fiercely Debates First Post-Roe Vote on Abortion

Kansas is now in the spotlight for the fight over abortion rights, as it becomes the first state to introduce an abortion amendment after the Supreme Court ruling to overturn the constitutional right to an abortion. 

The fight over abortion access in Middle America is playing out in Kansas, where voters hold the power to decide whether the state constitution should protect people’s right to an abortion. 

The vote is set for August 2, and is the very first statewide elector test of abortion rights since the Roe ruling was overturned. 

On June 24, the Supreme Court overturned its ruling from half a century prior in Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 ruling that legalized abortions nationwide and made the right to an abortion a constitutional right. 

With a midterm election year set for Nov. 8, abortion has become a divisive issue animating and driving political campaigns across the nation. 

Most people in America support the right to an abortion, polling shows. But Republicans have run on platforms of eliminating this right. 

Big money is being thrown into the Kansas fight, especially in the race to win over anyone with a moderate view on abortion. 

Republicans in the state have been pushing for a state constitutional amendment to scrap abortion rights since 2019 when the Kansas Supreme Court ruled that the state constitution protects the right to an abortion. 

Abortions are allowed in Kansas up to 22 weeks in pregnancy. There are, however, several additional restrictions, including a mandatory 24-hour waiting period, and mandatory parental consent for minors. 

Kansas has many red states as neighbors, that have more strict abortion policies. 

But Kansas is a red state, deeply conservative. Former President Donald Trump won 56 percent of the vote in the 2016 presidential election, and again in 2020. 

If Kansas passes an anti-abortion state amendment, it could further roll back abortion access across the heartland of the United States. Kansas has been a beacon for abortion access in the region, with patients traveling to the state from Texas, Oklahoma, and Missouri — three states that have effectively banned all abortions without any exceptions, even for rape or incest. 

Other states are expected to ask voters to weigh in on abortion rights in ballot initiatives this year as well, including California, Vermont, Kentucky, and likely Michigan. 

Whether it will pass in Kansas remains to be seen. The 29 percent of registered voters unaffiliated with a political party are expected to prove critical to the vote. 

The state is split on the issue, with a poll in February finding that 50.5 percent of residents agree that the Kansas government should not place regulations on the circumstances under which women can get abortions. And 60 percent disagreed that abortion should be completely illegal. 

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