Text message on Kansas abortion questions sparks confusion, anger
TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - A text message sent to some Kansas voters Monday is being called misleading and an outright lie.
The message urges people to vote yes on the so-called Value Them Both Amendment. The amendment would make clear the Kansas constitution does not grant the right to an abortion.
The message states, “Women in KS are losing their choice on reproductive rights. Voting YES on the Amendment will give women a choice. Vote YES to protect women’s health.”
Those arguments, however, are points raised from those urging a ‘no’ vote.
“This is yet another example of the desperate and deceitful tactics of the Value Them Both campaign, lying to the voters of Kansas,” said Ashley All, spokesperson for Kansans for Constitutional Freedom. “The truth is that voting yes opens the door to a total ban on abortion. A NO vote maintains current regulations on abortion. A NO vote protects our constitutional right to safe, legal abortion in Kansas. A NO vote keeps the constitution unchanged. A NO vote prevents government control over private medical decisions.”
Danielle Underwood with Kansans for Life and a spokesperson for the Value Them Both coalition says their group is not behind the messages. She did not respond to a request for further comment about the wording of the message.
The Kansas Governmental Ethics Commission says it has received several questions about the test messages. In answers posted to social media, they said state law requires attribution only for paid text messages advocating for candidates, not issues. They also said nothing in the campaign finance act address use of misleading advertising.
“The Legislature handles updating and amending these statutes,” the Commission posted. “We often work with the Legislature on these items when asked. If you believe a statute needs correction or amendment, of course feel free to reach out to your legislators.”
Paid text messages that advocate for candidates do require attribution, but constitutional ballot initiatives do not. Constitutional ballot initiative advocacy falls under a different statute that includes nothing about text messaging or anything similar.— Kansas Governmental Ethics Commission (@KansasEthics) August 1, 2022
The second question we have received is whether any law under our jurisdiction requires accuracy of communications. In 2004, the Commission specifically addressed this question and noted that "nothing in the [Campaign Finance] Act addresses the use of misleading advertising."— Kansas Governmental Ethics Commission (@KansasEthics) August 1, 2022
The Legislature handles updating and amending these statutes. We often work with the Legislature on these items when asked. If you believe a statute needs correction or amendment, of course feel free to reach out to your legislators.— Kansas Governmental Ethics Commission (@KansasEthics) August 1, 2022
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