Pro-abortion Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly slammed a proposed constitutional amendment Thursday that would make it clear that there is no right to abortion in Kansas.
Kelly, a Democrat elected in 2018, claimed the Value Them Both amendment would return their state “to the Dark Ages” and hurt the economy, the AP reports.
But pro-life advocates contend that Kansas could become the “wild west of the abortion industry” without it.
The amendment passed the state Senate on Wednesday. The House now is considering it. To be added to the Kansas Constitution, the amendment must be approved by a two-thirds majority in both state houses and then by Kansas voters. Kelly’s approval is not necessary.
The measure 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.
During a press conference Thursday, Kelly argued that the amendment would hurt women and businesses.
“They are foundational to who we are as a state and as a nation,” the governor said. “I fear for a future in which the Legislature chooses to stand between a woman and her doctor. This would throw the state back into the Dark Ages.”
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Though she did not explain why, she also claimed the amendment could “make companies think twice about coming” to Kansas, according to the report.
“This only creates another hurdle for businesses interested in recruiting talented young people to our state,” she said.
Pro-life advocates, however, said the amendment would protect women and unborn babies by keeping abortion clinic regulations, parental consent for minors and other common-sense laws in place.
Kansas Senate President Susan Wagle, R-Wichita, is a leading advocate for the amendment.
“As elected leaders in Kansas, we value both mothers and the unborn,” Wagle said in a statement online Wednesday. “Today, I will work hard to ensure women receive regulated, quality health care during both an expected and an unexpected pregnancy – just like they do in every other health care industry.”
According to the Kiowa County Signal, she 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.
State Rep. Susan Humphries, R-Wichita, said the amendment would not ban abortions, but it would help protect Kansas women and children from “unregulated abortion,” the report states.
Pro-life lawmakers hope the amendment will be on the August ballot for voters’ approval.
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.
ACTION: Contact Kansas House lawmakers.