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Kansas voters to decide Tuesday on abortion constitutional amendment

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Chris Woodward

(The Center Square) – Kansas voters will decide Tuesday whether to amend the state constitution so that it says there's no right to abortions.

The proposed amendment would also give state lawmakers the power to pass abortion-related legislation. 

The measure, titled the "Kansas No State Constitutional Right to Abortion and Legislative Power to Regulate Abortion Amendment," comes in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson, which overturned the landmark Roe v. Wade decision.

In 2019, the Kansas Supreme Court ruled that abortion is a fundamental right under the state constitution, but Republican legislators voted last year to put the issue on the ballot. 

Organizations in the state have lined up for and against the proposed constitutional amendment.

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Kansans for Constitutional Freedom, which opposes the measure, warns it would allow lawmakers to ban abortion outright in the state.

"The amendment on the ballot will mandate government control of our private medical decisions and pave the way for a total ban on abortion,” Ashley All, a spokesperson for the group, told The Center Square. “This amendment gives politicians the power to pass any law they want regarding abortion, including a total ban.”

All added that abortion is already heavily regulated and the amendment is unnecessary. 

Planned Parenthood Action is also active in advocating against the measure, saying on its website, “Kansas can either be a state where abortion remains safe and legal, or a state where it isn’t.”

Mackenzie Haddix, spokesperson for the Value Them Both Coalition, which backs the measure, said a yes vote would “protect moms and babies from an unregulated, unlimited abortion industry.”

Kansas Catholic Conference Executive Director Chuck Weber said that passage of the amendment is critical for Kansans who seek a civil discussion about the volatile issue of abortion policy. 

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“According to the Kansas State Supreme Court, all laws touching on the issue of abortion are now 'presumed unconstitutional' (page 72 of the Hodes ruling),” Weber said.

Weber said he believes if the measure does not pass, any pro-life laws will be challenged, and taxpayers will end up paying for elective abortions.

“Teenage girls will be able to legally get abortions without the knowledge or consent of their parents,” Weber added. “Already, because of the Kansas State Supreme Court ruling, D&E abortions, also known as 'live dismemberment abortions' are happening in Kansas at a rate of more than 9 per week.”

Several other states are also set to consider ballot measures on abortion following the Supreme Court's ruling, including California, Kansas, Kentucky, Montana, and Vermont, according to Ballotpedia.