In a victory for life Friday, the Kansas House approved a state constitutional amendment to make it clear that there is no right to abortion in the state.
The Value Them Both amendment passed in an 86-38 vote, surpassing the two-thirds majority required to amend the state constitution. It now moves to the state Senate where pro-life leaders expect it will pass.
“Value Them Both is vital to ensure that we can continue to provide life-saving safeguards to women,” said Brittany Jones, Esq., director of advocacy for the Family Policy Alliance of Kansas. “We are so thankful for all 86 members of the House who voted to protect our life-saving laws in Kansas. We are confident that the Senate will soon pass Value Them Both, and then it will be up to the people of Kansas.”
The pro-life amendment would add language to the Kansas Constitution stating that there is no right to an abortion or taxpayer-funded abortion. To amend the constitution, the state legislature must approve the language by a two-thirds majority and then a majority of voters must approve it on the ballot.
If it passes the state Senate, the amendment is scheduled to be on the August 2022 ballot.
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 and prohibit taxpayer-funded abortions.
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Kansas City Star reports Republican lawmakers celebrated the vote, which occurred on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the U.S. Supreme Court decision that forced states to legalize abortion on demand.
Kansas House Speaker Ron Ryckman, R-Olathe, said Kansans made it clear that they want protections for unborn babies when they elected more pro-life representatives to the House in November.
“The folks of Kansas had another opportunity to speak with how they cast their ballots, they brought 86 Republicans to the House floor that wanted to see that from the voters,” he said. “We knew how important this issue was to the folks in Kansas and their votes on election day prove it.”
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.
Meanwhile, House Minority Leader Tom Sawyer, D-Wichita, slammed the amendment as “purely political,” claiming Republicans just want to “refuse women their rights to make their own decisions,” according to the report.
Gov. Laura Kelly, a pro-abortion Democrat, also issued a statement in opposition to the amendment Friday.
Pro-life leaders in the state said the amendment is a compassionate measure that protects women and children.
“Kansans are compassionate people and do not want our state to be a destination for unlimited abortion,” said Jeanne Gawdun, director of government relations for Kansans for Life.
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.
The 2019 Kansas Supreme Court ruling Hodes & Nauser v. Schmidt threatens all existing limits on the abortion industry in the state. Without the amendment, Kansas could become the “wild west of the abortion industry,” Jones 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.
ACTION ALERT: Contact Kansas state lawmakers and urge them to vote for the amendment.