In a victory for life today, the Kansas Senate approved a state constitutional amendment to make it clear that there is no right to abortion in the state.
The Value Them Both amendment previously passed in the state House an 86-38 vote, surpassing the two-thirds majority required to amend the state constitution. Today is passed in the state Senate on a 28-11 vote that was one more than the two-thirds necessary.
Brittany Jones, Director of Advocacy for Family Policy Alliance of Kansas, applauded the Kansas Senate.
“With the passage of Value Them Both in the Kansas Senate, the people of Kansas now have the opportunity to have a say in ensuring that our live-saving laws are protected. We are thankful for the Senators, especially those who made large personal sacrifices, who ensured that this amendment got across the line. We are thankful for the opportunity that the people of Kansas have to stand up for mothers and babies. We look forward to a vigorous campaign,” she said.
Jeanne Gawdun, Kansans for Life Director of Government Affairs, was also elated by the vote.
“The Value Them Both Amendment protects the bi-partisan supported limits on the abortion industry that protects both women and their babies,” she told LifeNews.com. “Thank you to the State Senators who backed the measure and struck down extreme amendments that would leave vulnerable women behind.”
“Just like in the House, there were many heroes who stood for mothers and babies. Special thanks to Senators Molly Baumgardner (R-Louisburg) and Kellie Warren (R-Leawood) for carrying the amendment during floor debate. Additionally Renee Erickson (R-Wichita) and Senate President Ty Masterson (R-Andover) have also showed exceptional leadership throughout this whole process,” she continued.
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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.
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 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.