Following the overturning of Roe v. Wade last month, the fight to preserve unborn life has now been brought to the states — and Kansas has become one of the war’s first battlegrounds.
Voters are set to decide if the state constitution, via the “Value Them Both Amendment,” should grant — or not grant — the right to an abortion, on August 2nd.
The amendment, which would overturn a 2019 Kansas Supreme Court decision guaranteeing abortion, has surprisingly divided voters.
A recent poll conducted by co/efficient found citizens of the Sunflower State were split on the issue with 43 percent saying they’d vote “no” for the amendment, while 47 percent stated they would vote “yes.”
The ruby-red region has proven to be a haven for those seeking abortion throughout the Great Plains area, as various neighboring states have restricted abortion since the Dobbs decision in late June.
Thousands of advocates and millions of dollars have flocked to the state now, as the upcoming referendum will likely serve as a litmus test for state lawmakers, who wish to use amendment votes going forward to restrict abortion — like in Pennsylvania — or protect abortion, as is being done in Michigan and California.
The Church of the Ascension in Overland Park, which donated thousands of dollars to the “yes” campaign to overturn the State Supreme Court’s interpretation, was tagged with graffiti that read, “My body, my choice.”
Abortion in the state of Kansas has been an escalatory issue, following the murder in 2009 abortion doctor by an anti-abortion activist. Neighbors remain at odds with each other on the topic, as the decision between maintaining the status quo — or outright banning abortion — finally goes before voters.
“I’m not a radical. I hate the ugly tactics on both sides,” Christy McNally, 68, from Stillwell who is voting ‘yes,’ said. “A medical emergency is not the same as using abortion as birth control.”
Marisel Walston, a Cuban refugee, who will be voting “yes” as well, had this to say: “The judges decided there was a constitutional right to abortion, and I feel that’s a pretty big stretch… It should be up to the people to decide.”
Sarah McGinnity, who will be voting “no,” has been writing letters to potential voters asking them to help defeat the measure, The Guardian reported.
“But [for my Mom], to think of her granddaughter having fewer rights than she did – rights she thought had already been secured – it’s pretty shocking,” McGinnity added.
Similar political efforts are underway in Kentucky, where an abortion amendment will be on the November ballot for state voters.
Michigan might also have a say, as pro-abortion groups are currently rallying to get an amendment on the November ballot to preserve abortion.
For now, the vote on August 2nd in Kansas will serve as a sharp measuring stick for the pro-life and pro-choice movements, as both continue to march forward in an effort to win over hearts and minds to their cause.
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