Anti-abortion fanatics crash and burn in first major showdown after Roe

Photo by Kyle Rivas/Getty

Photo by Kyle Rivas/Getty

voters in Kansas 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.

Supporters of the amendment — a campaign largely funded by the Catholic Church in the state — went out of their way to argue that it didn’t ban abortion in and of itself. Some experts and advocates disagreed, and both local officials and outside observers said turnout turned out to be much higher than expected in a typical match on the primary day, reflecting the high stakes.

“You might read it and think you voted to abolish state funding for abortion when there is no state funding for abortion,” said Neal Allen, a political scientist at Wichita State University. told Vox of the amendment. “And there’s language that refers to exceptions to preserve maternal health, and to rape and incest, but there’s nothing about the amendment itself that would create those exceptions.”

The campaign was launched in the last hours by a misleading mass text message— eventually blocked by the service that released it — which suggested a yes vote to the amendment was a vote for the right to choose.

But proponents of the idea that the state constitution protects bodily autonomy won the day. Despite Republican control in the Kansas legislature, the result complicates the path ahead for anti-abortion types in a state where the procedure is legal until 22 weeks gestation — and it would certainly resonate in capital cities across the country. .

The failure of the amendment also brings Kansas around after it became an anti-abortion flashpoint in 1991. During the so-called Summer of Mercy, hardcore activists joined forces to campaign against abortion, blocking clinics and defrauding health care providers. The state has a long history of extremist activity in this area, culminating in the assassination of Dr. George Tiller at his Wichita Church in 2009.

But a state Supreme Court ruling three years ago effectively enshrined the right to privacy — and to abortion — in Kansas case law. That 2019 decision, in turn, led to the failed change campaign.

Now, despite the best efforts of their own officials to stop them, millions of women banned in nearby states like Missouri and Texas will still be able to access the procedure in Kansas.

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