Kansas voters on Tuesday overwhelmingly struck down a proposed constitutional amendment that would remove language enshrining reproductive rights in their state, in a move widely seen as a victory for abortion rights activists.
The proposed amendment was the first time anywhere in the U.S. that voters cast ballots on abortion since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June.
A ballot question, known as the “Value Them Both Amendment,” asked voters to decide whether the state’s Constitution should continue to protect abortion rights. The proposed amendment to the state Constitution would have removed language that guarantees reproductive rights and asked voters if they prefer to put the issue of abortion in the hands of the state’s Republican-controlled legislature — an outcome that abortion advocates said was all but certain to result in the elimination or curtailment of those rights.
A “yes” vote on the measure would remove from the state Constitution the right to an abortion and hand the issue back to the state legislature. A “no” vote on the measure would make no changes, keeping abortion rights enshrined in the state Constitution.
Anti-abortion activists had argued the Kansas ballot question created an opportunity to put the issue in the hands of the voters via elected state lawmakers. Supporters of abortion rights warned that approval of the ballot measure would almost certainly result in the elimination or curtailment of existing rights in a state that has more lenient laws on its books compared to many of its neighbors.