Kansas’ vote on Tuesday that has sent a resounding message about their desire to protect abortion rights was lauded by President Joe Biden, who also used the statement to reiterate his call on Congress to codify abortion protections after the Supreme Court overturned in June the Roe v. Wade, eliminating the constitutional right to an abortion.
Kansas ballot measure was the first time voters weighed in on abortion since the Roe overturn and it was considered a bellwether of how Americans would respond to the Supreme Court’s decision.
Biden praised the record numbers of voters in Kansas that rejected the state constitutional amendment that would have eliminated abortion protections and given the Republican-controlled Kansas state legislature more power to regulate access to the procedure by tightening restrictions or outright banning the procedure.
The proposed amendment would have effectively reversed a 2019 state Supreme Court decision and said that abortion rights are not protected by the state constitution in the conservative state with deep ties to the anti-abortion movement.
Since the measure failed, the state Supreme Court ruling still stands allowing most abortions up until 22 weeks of pregnancy.
Kansas Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly, who is up for reelection this November, praised fellow Kansans in a tweet stressing that they rejected divisive legislation that put women’s health care access at risk and jeopardized the state’s economic future.
Despite the support among Democrats and abortion rights advocates, the rejection of the abortion ballot measure was met with a lament by conservatives and with surprise by many, given the state’s red leanings.
According to monthly data from the Kansas secretary of state’s office as of July, there are more than 851,000 registered Republicans and more than 495,000 registered Democrats.
However, when it comes to the matter of abortion, conservative pollster Kristen Soltis Anderson noted that Kansas’ demographics are nuanced.
Nancy Northup, the president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights, called the vote an enormous victory for Kansans who voted to protect their fundamental right to personal and bodily autonomy.