’Value Them Both’ abortion amendment to appear on 2022 ballots

Lawmakers and lobbyists gather on the steps of the Kansas Statehouse in support of the Value...
Lawmakers and lobbyists gather on the steps of the Kansas Statehouse in support of the Value Them Both Amendment on Tuesday, January 12, 2021.
Published: Jan. 28, 2021 at 5:31 PM CST
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TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - Republican legislators in Kansas have put a proposed anti-abortion amendment to the state constitution on the ballot for the state’s August 2022 primary election.

The Senate approved the measure Thursday on a 28-11 vote that gave abortion opponents one more vote than the two-thirds majority they needed. The House approved the measure last week.

Approval by a simple majority of voters would change the Kansas Constitution. The measure would overturn a 2019 Kansas Supreme Court decision that found that access to abortion is a “fundamental” right. It would not be an abortion ban, but would allow lawmakers to enact one if the U.S. Supreme Court allowed it.

Kansas Senate Republicans applauded the amendment’s passage.

“Today is a monumental day for both women and the unborn in Kansas,” Senate President Ty Masterson said. “As a result of this historic action, the people of Kansas will now have the opportunity to right the wrongs of the Kansas Supreme Court ruling from May of 2019.”

“The elections of 2020 confirmed that Kansans want protections for women and the unborn upheld in Kansas,” Sen. Molly Baumgartner, who carried the measure on the Senate floor, said. “This includes abortion clinic sanitation and safety standards, parental consent for minors seeking abortion, informed consent that alerts women to potential health risks, ban on late-term abortion, dismemberment abortion and taxpayer funding of abortion, and the like.”

Senate Democrats were not in agreement, with Senate Democratic Leader Dinah Sykes urging voters to read the amendment closely before voting in 2022.

“Senate President Masterson declared two weeks ago, in response to Governor Kelly’s State of the State, that he trusts Kansans to make their own healthcare choices,” Sen. Sykes said. “Today, he and Senate Republicans revealed that this trust only goes as far as their approved healthcare agenda. They want the power to control the healthcare and personal decisions of Kansans. Make no mistake: this amendment opens the door for the Legislature to ban abortion in cases of rape or incest. If approved by Kansas voters, the Legislature will have unchecked power to ban abortion including in cases where the life of the mother is at risk. And it paves the way for politicians in Topeka to ban abortion outright.”

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