Voters In Kansas, One Of America’s Most Conservative States, Voted Overwhelmingly To Keep Abortion Legal

When the Supreme Court and other conservative lawmakers decided to overturn Roe v. Wade, they seemed to have failed to take into account — or just temporarily forgotten — that the vast majority of Americans support an individual’s right to bodily autonomy. While there are plenty of polls that prove it, one really need look no further than the very conservative state of Kansas, which on Tuesday voted to keep abortion legal. As The Daily Beast’s Matt Taylor reported:

Voters in Kansas on Tuesday rejected a constitutional amendment that would have allowed the GOP-dominated legislature to ban abortion, a stunning victory for reproductive-rights advocates in a region where the procedure was already nearly impossible to access.

Backers of the amendment — a campaign largely largely funded by the Catholic Church in the state — took pains to argue it was not in and of itself a ban on abortion. Some experts and advocates disagreed, and both local officials and outside observers said turnout appeared to be far higher than expected in a typical primary-day contest, a reflection of the high stakes.

Both voters and onlookers claimed that there seemed to be an extra large turnout for the vote, which, while it may be state-based, sets up a much larger precedent for conservative groups and lawmakers around the country.

The language of the law made it an especially tricky challenge. “You could read it and think you were voting to eliminate state funding of abortion when there is no state funding to abortion,” political scientist Neal Allen told Vox. “And there is language that refers to exceptions to preserve the health of the mother, and for rape and incest, but there’s nothing about the amendment itself that would create those exceptions.”

Adding to the confusion, according to The Daily Beast, is a last-minute mass text message that attempted to convince voters that voting “yes” to the amendment would give women the right to choose. (This is where you’d insert the Ron Howard voiceover to say: “It would not give women the right to choose.”)

The victory could turn out to be a huge win for other states planning similar laws, amendments, and votes. “Despite Republican control in the Kansas legislature,” Taylor writes, “the result complicates the path ahead for anti-abortion types in a state where the procedure is legal up to 22 weeks of pregnancy — and was sure to resonate in capitols across the country.”

(Via The Daily Beast)