September 27, 2022


It was not what anti-abortion lobbyists, Republican lawmakers and a multimillion-dollar effort to end legal abortion care expected.

A confusing ballot question in Kansas, which entered a midterm primary without a statewide Democratic primary, was supposed to result in victory in a “red state” that went for Donald Trump in 2020, joining the national campaign to end of legal abortions after decades -Lots of bowel movements Roe v. Wade he got what he wanted.

Instead, a record number of Kansas voters went to the polls to reject a Republican-drafted amendment that would have stripped abortion rights from the state constitution, which he lost by nearly 20 percentage points, and sent a resounding message that how deeply unpopular the Supreme Court’s decision to roll back abortion rights is, and how critical the protection of bodily autonomy is.

Kansans didn’t have to look far to see the immediate effects of the court’s ruling — neighboring states Oklahoma and Missouri quickly banned abortion care, and patients across the U.S. exposed the legal chaos to their care, from being denied prescriptions drugs until critical delays for life-saving treatment.

Abortion providers in Kansas have been lifelines for out-of-state patients — but “care looks different in a post-Roe people, and none of them have improved,” said Emily Wales, president of Planned Parenthood Great Plains.

The election “absolutely encouraged people to stand up and protect their rights and the rights of other people in this state,” Ms. Wales said during a post-election briefing with reporters on August 3.

But it also underscored the fragility of health care in the region and across the US.

“We are under no illusions that abortion will continue to be politicized in this state,” Ms Wales said. “Politicians in Kansas and across the region have used abortion as a wedge … so we know attacks are coming. We still believe that restrictions are very likely to be put in place, but we are here to support continued access to care.”

Abortion providers and abortion rights advocates hope the opposition will “take this result for what it is: a clear and unequivocal statement from the majority of Kansans that they no longer want the government to interfere in private medical decisions.” according to a statement from Trust Women, which operates a clinic in Wichita.

“We hope anti-abortion lawmakers in the state legislature will heed the message their constituents sent them: stop meddling in matters that belong solely to Kansas families,” the group said in a statement to The independent.

Abortion is legal in Kansas up to 20 weeks pregnant, although about half of the abortions performed in the state last year were among people who traveled from elsewhere.

Kansas – like many other states with limited legal access to abortion – already has strict restrictions on abortion, including requirements that patients undergo state counseling and ultrasounds, a mandatory 24-hour waiting period, and bans on certain health insurance coverage and appointments of telemedicine for medical abortion prescriptions.

In the weeks following the Supreme Court’s June 24 decision Dobbs v Jackson Women’s Health Organization, Planned Parenthood facilities in Kansas have been inundated with calls. Abortion is illegal in three of the four states served by Planned Parenthood Great Plains.

“There is more need than we can provide at the moment,” Ms Wales said. “We just don’t have enough providers in this part of the country.”

Out-of-state patients also have to navigate transportation, child care, work authorization — constantly wondering why “if you live in Missouri, you have fewer rights in Kansas,” Ms. Wales said.

In the days leading up to the election, Kansas Secretary of State Scott Schwab expected a turnout of about 35 percent of registered voters in the state. By Tuesday night, he expected that figure to likely reach 50 percent — a double-digit increase, approaching the turnout level from the 2018 primary.

Between more than 900,000 votes on the proposed constitutional amendment, about 60 percent rejected it, based on preliminary polls released by his office.

In far-western counties like Hamilton, which Trump won with 81 percent of the vote in 2020, “yes” votes for the amendment reached only 56 percent. In neighboring Greeley County, which supported Mr. Trump by 85 percent in 2020, only 60 percent supported the amendment.

The results also resonated internationally, shaking up the stereotypes of so-called “red state” voters shared by pundits and viewers, revealing the diverse political and ideological landscape among Americans and their physical autonomy. After poll after poll showed most Americans want to protect abortion rights and disagreed with the Supreme Court’s ruling, the Kansas vote made it clear.

Vice President Kamala Harris displays a map during an abortion rights briefing to show the broken state of legal abortion care in the US.

(AP)

The day after the results were announced, President Joe Biden said the Supreme Court “practically dared women in this country to go to the polls and restore their right to choose,” while anti-abortion lawmakers largely underestimated how they would react. the americans.

He pointed to the writing of the judges themselves in Dobbs Decision: “Women are not deprived of electoral or political power.”

“They have no idea of ​​the power of American women,” she said. “In Kansas, they found that women and men exercised their political power with record turnout.”

“The people of Kansas have spoken, and so this is a matter of defending the basic principles of freedom and liberty in America,” added Vice President Kamala Harris. “They spoke loudly that they trust women to make decisions about their lives and their bodies.”



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