Kansas Senate Passes Constitutional Amendment Confirming There’s No Right to Abortion

State   |   Micaiah Bilger   |   Jan 30, 2020   |   11:49AM   |   Topeka, KS

The Kansas Senate approved a state constitutional amendment Wednesday confirming that there is no right to abortion or to force taxpayers to pay for them.

The Value Them Both amendment, which must be approved by the state legislature and then voters, is especially critical after the Kansas Supreme Court found a so-called “right to abortion” in their state constitution in 2019. That ruling jeopardizes Kansas abortion regulations that protect women and babies; a constitutional amendment would help ensure they remain in place.

KNSS News reports state senators voted 28-12 in favor of the measure, surpassing the two-thirds majority needed. One Republican, state Sen. John Skubal, R-Overland Park, joined Democrats in voting against the amendment. It now moves to the state House for consideration.

Kansas Senate President Susan Wagle, R-Wichita, promised to make the amendment a legislative priority, and she was a strong advocate for women and unborn babies on the Senate floor Wednesday.

According to the Kiowa County Signal, Wagle defended state laws that require parental consent for underage girls seeking abortions and laws that ensure abortion providers meet basic health and safety standards. She said these life-saving laws are now in jeopardy because of the Kansas Supreme Court ruling.

“It’s time we defend our process, that we defend our debate, that we defend the compromises we all come to, that we defend the legislation we passed, and that we not allow us to go back to that time of unlimited abortion that was a scar upon the state of Kansas,” Wagle said.

State Sen. Vic Miller, D-Topeka, argued against the amendment, claiming he does not want to impose his Catholic faith on others, according to the report.

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“Many of those beliefs I have are somewhat conflicted, and one of the reasons I am somewhat conflicted is … the duty that I have to not just represent members of my faith but all of those I represent regardless of whether their beliefs are consistent with my own,” Miller said.

State pro-life leaders celebrated the vote Wednesday as a victory for mothers and babies.

“We are thankful that it has passed out of the Senate and look forward to continuing to work with legislative leadership so that ultimately Kansas voters have the opportunity to ensure that women and babies in our state have the most basic safeguards,” said Brittany Jones, advocacy director for the Family Policy Alliance of Kansas.

Pro-life lawmakers hope the amendment will be on the August ballot for voters’ approval, but the Signal noted that its fate is less certain in the Kansas House. Both legislative chambers must approve the measure by a two-thirds majority before voters can consider the question.

The Value Them Both amendment would add language to the Kansas Constitution stating that there is no right to abortion or taxpayer-funded abortions.

In 2018, West Virginia voters passed a similar state constitutional amendment after decades of being forced by a court ruling to fund elective abortions with taxpayer dollars. The amendment will make it easier for state lawmakers to pass pro-life laws in the future.

Iowa and Kentucky also are considering pro-life amendments to their state constitutions this year. Louisiana voters will have a similar opportunity to add a pro-life amendment to their constitution in November.

These amendments are important because the abortion industry often turns to the courts to overturn pro-life laws. Some state courts have found a so-called “right to abortion” in their state constitutions, and these decisions have been used to force taxpayers to fund abortions and restrict the state legislature from passing even minor, common sense abortion restrictions.

Voting for the Value Them Both Amendment to Kansas Constitution:

Larry Alley (R-Arkansas City), Molly Baumgardner (R-Louisburg), Ed Berger (R-Hutchinson), Rick Billinger (R-Goodland), Elaine Bowers (R-Concordia), Kevin Braun (R-Kansas City), John Doll (R-Garden City), Jim Denning (R-Overland Park), Bud Estes (R-Dodge City), Bruce Givens (R-El Dorado), Dan Goddard (R-Parsons), Randall Hardy (R-Salina), Richard Hilderbrand (R-Columbus), Dan Kerschen (R-Garden Plain), Jeff Longbine (R-Emporia), Julia Lynn (R-Olathe), Ty Masterson (R-Andover), Carolyn McGinn (R-Sedgewick), Rob Olson (R-Olathe), Mike Petersen (R-Wichita), Dennis Pyle (R-Hiawatha), Eric Rucker (R-Topeka), Gene Sullentrop (R-Wichita), Mary Jo Taylor (R-Stafford), Mike Thompson (R-Shawnee), Caryn Tyson (R-Parker), Susan Wagle (R-Wichita) and Rick Wilborn (R-McPherson)

Voting against the Value Them Both Amendment:
Barbara Bollier (D-Mission Hills), Oletha Faust-Goudeau (D-Wichta), Marci Francisco (D-Lawrence), David Haley (D-Kansas City), Tom Hawks (D-Manhattan), Anthony Hensley (D-Topeka), Tom Holland (D-Lawrence), Vic Miller (D-Topeka), Pat Pettey (D-Kansas City), John Skuball (R-Overland Park), Dinah Sykes (D-Lenexa) and Mary Ware (D-Wichita)

ACTION: Contact the Kansas House.