Yesterday the people of Kansas voted overwhelmingly to defend their right to abortion by defeating a ballot initiative that would have removed the right from the state’s constitution.
Defeating the anti-abortion constitutional amendment by a 60% majority, the vote was the first time a U.S. state voted on abortion rights since the U.S. Supreme Court’s June ruling overruling Roe v. Wade and taking away the constitutional right to abortion. Since that ruling, several states have taken action to ban abortion. Find out which states are likely to ban abortion now that the Supreme Court has overturned Roe v. Wade.Find out which states are likely to ban abortion now that the Supreme Court has overturned Roe v. Wade. link Find out which states are likely to ban abortion now that the Supreme Court has overturned Roe v. Wade.
Three years ago, the Kansas Supreme Court recognized abortion as a constitutional right under the state’s constitution in a case brought by the Center for Reproductive Rights.
The rejected amendment would have declared there was no constitutional right to abortion in Kansas and would have given lawmakers the right to pass laws to prohibit abortion.
“Today is an enormous victory for people in Kansas who voted to protect their fundamental right to personal and bodily autonomy. Like the strong majority of people across the U.S., Kansans want to make their own decisions about abortion,” said Nancy Northup, President and CEO at the Center in a statement. “In 2019, the Supreme Court of Kansas recognized that the rights to self-determination and bodily autonomy are deeply rooted in Kansas history and values, and today the Kansas voters resoundingly agreed.”
Kansas Supreme Court Has Recognized Abortion Rights Under the State Constitution
The Kansas Constitution contains a guarantee of “equal and inalienable natural rights, among which are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” which the Kansas Supreme Court has recognized includes the fundamental right to abortion.
The Center brought the legal challenge on behalf of Kansas abortion providers that led the Kansas Supreme Court to recognize state constitutional protections. The court’s ruling, in Hodes & Nauser MDs, P.A., et al. v. Schmidt & Howe, strengthened protections for abortion access in the face of relentless legislative attacks by Kansas lawmakers.
Since the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling overturning Roe, several states near Kansas have taken action to ban abortion. Abortion is currently entirely illegal in seven states—Oklahoma, Missouri, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, South Dakota, and Arkansas—and additional states are working to enforce abortion bans.
Ballots on Abortion Rights Scheduled in Five More States
Voters in five more states will vote this year on ballot initiatives on abortion rights. In Kentucky, an anti-abortion measure is on the ballot; in California, Michigan, Nevada, and Vermont, voters will weigh in on proposals to protect abortion access. “This is an important opportunity for voters in those states to directly defend their right to make personal decisions about their own lives, bodies and futures,” added Northup.
“Yesterday’s results proved that Kansans from across the state and political spectrum understand abortion as an issue of personal freedom and, therefore, they rejected this callous attempt to remove their fundamental rights,” said Elisabeth Smith, Director of State Policy & Advocacy at the Center.