Kansas state lawmakers plan to make protections for unborn babies and mothers a top priority this year.
On Tuesday, they re-introduced the Value Them Both Amendment, which would add language to the Kansas Constitution stating that there is no right to an abortion or taxpayer-funded abortion, the Kansas City Star reports.
The measure is especially critical after the Kansas Supreme Court found a so-called “right to abortion” in their state constitution in 2019. The ruling jeopardizes Kansas abortion regulations that protect women and babies; a constitutional amendment would help ensure they remain in place.
“The idea that working families may have their hard-earned tax dollars used for abortion is unconscionable,” said state Sen. Molly Baumgardner, R-Louisburg. “Value Them Both sets a positive vision for Kansas, not the dark outlook of an unlimited abortion industry.”
The amendment narrowly failed to pass the state House last year after four Republicans sided with Democrats in voting against it. In November, however, all four lost their seats to pro-life lawmakers, and many believe there are enough votes for it to pass this year, according to the report.
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State Rep. Susan Humphries, R-Wichita, said the election results show that Kansans support the pro-life amendment.
“Value Them Both is common sense, compassionate and allows for oversight,” she said. “The abortion industry has not been trustworthy in the past and there is no reason to believe it will be trustworthy in the future.
To be added to the constitution, both chambers must pass the amendment by a two-thirds majority and then voters must approve it on the ballot.
The Star reports Senate President Ty Masterson and House Majority Leader Ron Ryckman both said the pro-life amendment is one of their top priorities.
The amendment states:
“Because Kansans value both women and children, the constitution of the state of Kansas does not require government funding of abortion and does not create or secure a right to abortion. To the extent permitted by the constitution of the United States, the people, through their elected state representatives and state senators, may pass laws regarding abortion, including, but not limited to, laws that account for circumstances of pregnancy resulting from rape or incest, or circumstances of necessity to save the life of the mother.”
The 2019 Kansas Supreme Court ruling Hodes & Nauser v. Schmidt threatens all existing limits on abortion in the state. Without the amendment, Kansas could become the “wild west of the abortion industry,” Brittany Jones of the Family Policy Alliance said last year. This could mean forcing taxpayers to fund elective abortions and allowing unrestricted abortions up to birth, as well as ending informed consent requirements and parental consent for minors.
In several states, courts have found a so-called “right to abortion” in their state constitutions. The rulings have been used to force taxpayers to fund abortions and restrict the state legislature from passing even minor, common sense abortion restrictions. 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 their tax dollars.
Pro-life organizations in Kansas are working together to support the pro-life amendment, including Kansans for Life, Family Policy Alliance of Kansas, the Kansas Catholic Conference and Concerned Women for America of Kansas.
Jeanne Gawdun, Kansans for Life director of government relations, said Kansas do not want abortion on demand.
“Value Them Both restores their voice in the public process. They sent a historic number of pro-life legislators to join those who championed and supported this resolution last year,” she said.
ACTION ALERT: Contact Kansas state lawmakers to urge support for the Amendment.