Kansas first state to vote on abortion after Roe’s death

Topeka, Cannes. (AP) — Kansas on Tuesday called Roe v. Wade’s recent Supreme Court decision to overturn the nation’s voter sentiment, with people across the state deciding whether to allow their conservative legislature to further restrict or prohibit abortion. ,

The referendum on a proposed anti-abortion amendment to the Kansas Constitution is being seen as a barometer of anger from liberal and liberal voters over June’s decision that overturned the nationwide right to abortion. But the results may not reflect broad sentiments about the issue across the country, given how conservative Kansas is and has voted twice as many Republicans in their August primaries as Democrats in the past decade.

Supporters of the measure won’t say before the vote whether they intend to extend the ban, but they have spent decades pushing for new restrictions on an almost annual basis, and many other states in the Midwest and South ban abortions. Is. recent weeks. By not stating his position, he was trying to win over voters who supported some of the restrictions, but not outright restrictions.

Abortion rights advocates expect the Legislature to ban abortion if the ballot is passed, and the state saw an increase in early voting with more democratic voters than usual.

“At what level does the madness stop?” said Eric Scheffler, a 60-year-old retired Army officer and Democrat who voted “no” in the Kansas City suburbs. “What will they try to control next?”

The Kansas measure would add language to the state’s constitution saying it does not grant abortion rights, which would allow lawmakers to regulate it appropriately. Kentucky will vote in November on adding similar language to its constitution.

Meanwhile, Vermont will decide in November whether to add an abortion right to its constitution. A similar question is likely for Michigan’s vote in November.

The Kansas measure is a response to a 2019 state Supreme Court ruling that ruled that access to abortion is a matter of bodily autonomy and a “fundamental” right under the state’s Bill of Rights.

The two sides together have spent more than $14 million on their campaigns. Abortion providers and abortion rights groups were major donors to the “no” side, while Catholic dioceses heavily funded the “yes” campaign.

Michelle Mulford, a 50-year-old Kansas City-area educator and Republican who voted early for the proposed amendment, said, “It seems to me that people have become so careless about abortion, as if it were a form of birth control. Another way.” She supports exceptions to the abortion ban in cases of rape, incest or life-threatening pregnancies.

Although some early voters are in favor of banning almost all abortions, the Vote Yes campaign has presented its measure as a way to restore lawmakers’ power to set “reasonable” abortion limits and preserve existing restrictions. did.

Kansas does not ban most abortions until the 22nd week of pregnancy. But a law that would restrict the most common second trimester procedure and another that would set special health rules for abortion providers has been put on hold due to legal challenges.

Stan Ellsworth, a 69-year-old Republican retiree in the Kansas City area, said the argument that voting yes meant an abortion ban was “nonsense.”

“I haven’t spoken to a single person who wants that,” he said after quickly voting yes in the Kansas City suburbs. “Most will accept a reasonable exception and I think the other party knows it’s true.”

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre weighed in on the Kansas vote on Monday, saying: “If it is passed, the vote in Kansas tomorrow would end the right to choose and limit access to health care to another state.” Can do.”

The Republican-controlled Legislature has had an anti-abortion majority since the early 1990s. Kansas has not moved forward in restricting abortion because abortion opponents feel constrained either by previous federal court decisions or because the governor was a Democrat, such as Gov. Laura Kelly, who was elected in 2018.

Kelli Kolich, a 35-year-old Kansas City-area pizza restaurant operator and unaffiliated voter, said she did not vote because she believes people have a fundamental right to make their own health care choices and “to eliminate that right.” Vote for Yes is expected. ,

“Women will not have the ability to determine the best option for themselves,” she said after an early poll, playing with her 18-month-old son.

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Stafford reported from Overland Park and Olathe.

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