Kansas voters block attempt to ban abortion by voting on state constitutional amendment

“This level of government — literally interfering with decisions made by a doctor and patient together — resonated with people in Kansas,” he said. “It’s a scary moment to think that you or a loved one could be in a situation where it’s not up to you or your provider to decide what care you can get, and instead it’s up to the government and what they think you deserve.”

Turnout in the primaries also rose to normal levels on Tuesday and in some counties was closer to the turnout in the presidential election. In person, early voting favoring Democrats was also close 250 percent more than the last primary midterm election in 2018, when both Democrats and Republicans had competitive gubernatorial races and the number of mail-in ballots was twice as high.

The No campaign also outperformed in heavily conservative areas — such as Shawnee County, in the eastern part of the state, by several points ahead of President Joe Biden’s results there in 2020.

At a campaign watch party for abortion rights groups in the Kansas City suburb of Overland Park, supporters cheered, cried, jumped and hugged each other hard as new waves of votes counted in their favor. Purple-haired teenagers mingled with older men and women in suits in the hotel ballroom. One woman kissed a Ruth Bader Ginsburg doll while watching the results.

“Abortion is not a partisan issue — it’s a trap that people fall into,” Ashley Ohl, a spokeswoman for Kansans for Constitutional Freedoms, told POLITICO. “It’s just not the way most Americans or most Kansans think about the issue.”

The results were also hailed by abortion rights groups across the country, who see the Kansas referendum defeat as a blueprint for future efforts in cities and states across the country. The vote also contradicted the narrative that the abortion issue is a bigger motivator for conservative voters and could serve as a warning to Republican lawmakers across the country that Roe The decision could cause significant backlash in the coming months and years.

“Reproductive freedom is a winning issue, now and in November,” NARAL Pro-Choice America President Minnie Thimaraju said in a statement. “Anti-choice lawmakers take note: Voters have spoken, and they’ll show up at the ballot box to oppose efforts to curtail reproductive freedom.”

The ruling means the state’s abortion clinics can continue to serve not only Kansans, but patients from Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas and other states that have since banned the procedure. Roe fell, many of whom traveled to Kansas in recent weeks. The anti-abortion campaign seized on this trend, Warning in advertisements That the state would become an “abortion destination” like California if the amendment failed.

The referendum result was particularly shocking in the state, as the pro-change campaign had some structural advantages on Tuesday and was ahead in the latest polls.

Not only is Kansas a solidly red state that voted twice for President Donald Trump, but the Republican-majority legislature decided to schedule a primary vote instead of a general election. Turnout is typically much lower in August and favors Republicans, who have a more competitive primary than Democrats in Kansas. And many college students who are more advanced are not in the summer.

Student activists who worked to defeat the amendment said they were more motivated by what appeared to be an overt attempt to suppress their voices.

“It was very intentional, and I think young people took that into account and realized that there are political structures that will bring us down,” said Donovan Dillon, a Kansas University sophomore who helped lead the country’s western community. Vote for Neigh’s campaign against change. “When I turned to my friends and asked, ‘Do you want to come to the canvas this weekend?'” they were all on the same page – even friends who had never been involved in politics before.

The “value both” amendment was rocket fuel for a typically sleepy primary election. Hundreds of volunteers from across the country gathered to knock on hundreds of thousands of doors across the state. Both sides have raised and spent millions of dollars on ads, mailers, phone banking and other communications – much of it from the Catholic Church against abortion and Planned Parenthood on the abortion rights side.

But while the state served as a proxy war for groups fighting nationally for abortion rights in the post-Roe In America, the campaigns also had a distinctly Kansas flavor.

Outside the state capital in Topeka on Saturday, people protesting the change waved placards covered in sunflowers, while speakers on the steps of the Capitol chanted the state motto “Ad astra per aspera” – to the stars in times of trouble. Local businesses displayed Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz on the street urging her fellow Kansans not to vote.

The last days before the vote were also characterized by tension and confusion.

Some of the lawn signs for the “Appreciate Them Both” campaign didn’t have spray-painted black capital letters. Catholic churches – the main funders of the anti-abortion campaign – They also dispersedAnd they were demonstrators of abortion rights threatened with arrest.

On Saturday, a group of anti-abortion advocates marched on the sidewalks of Lawrence, a progressive college town, shouting “Don’t kill the babies” at passersby.

On Sunday, the 18-year-old anti-abortion artist who came from Texas to volunteer with the group Students for Life. He said that he was physically assaulted by a resident knocking on doors in Leawood, a suburb of Kansas City. She filed a police report and released a video that doesn’t show the incident itself, but shows the resident yelling and then pointing the finger.

On Monday, several residents alerted the state’s ACLU chapter that they had received a fraudulent robotext from an unknown number suggesting that a “yes” vote would protect abortion access.

“Women in Kansas are losing their reproductive rights,” the letters read, according to screenshots shared with Politico. “A yes vote for change will give women a choice.”

Former Democratic Gov. Kathleen Sebelius received the texts and said she was not surprised by the tactic.

“The anti-choice movement has been deceiving voters in Kansas for decades,” he said. “This act of desperation will not stop Kansas voters from standing up for their constitutional rights and freedoms.”

Many voters told POLITICO that the debate has also pitted family members against each other.

Asked about the “Vote Yes” sign in his yard, Olathe resident David Shaffer said it belonged to his daughter and he strongly disagreed.

“He can do what he wants. He’s a grown man,” he said. “But I say if we turn it over to the Legislature, I can’t say anything more — none. And that’s what it does. “

One of her neighbors, Ediana Yantis, told POLITICO that her “yes vote” had just been stolen from her yard, and she became suspicious of her son trying to convince her to vote “no.”

“He said, ‘Mom, I don’t like abortion, but that means they’re going to abolish all abortions.’ I told him, ‘You have to do your research,’ but he says he has,” he said with a wry smile.

Ultimately, despite the state’s conservative leanings, voters deemed the amendment too far.

And while the state’s younger voters tend to be more progressive, the proposal’s defeat was also driven by older Kansans, like Barbara Lawson, who remember life before. Roe v. Wade.

When Kansans for Constitutional Freedom activists came to her door Monday to ask her to vote for the amendment, Lawson shared that she had a child at 17 after being raped.

“I don’t know if I would have [had an abortion] Because I had no choice – abortion was illegal. It was very difficult,” he said. “Now I’m afraid they’re going to restrict all abortions again and we’re going to be stuck in the dark ages.”

There were signs before Tuesday’s contest that voters’ views on abortion were more nuanced than their partisan leanings. July surveyFor example, it found that a third of voters did not support restrictions on abortion, while only 9 percent said they preferred a total ban. and 2021 survey A survey conducted by Fort Hays State University found that more than 50 percent of Kansas voters agree with the statement, “The state of Kansas should not impose any regulations on the circumstances under which women can obtain an abortion.”

“People make a lot of assumptions about Kansas,” said Rep. Sharis Davids (D-Kan.), the only Democrat in the state’s congressional delegation, flipped a previously red district in 2018. “People here care about their community and make sure things are fair.”

Kansas voters block attempt to ban abortion by voting on state constitutional amendment

Source link Kansas voters block attempt to ban abortion by voting on state constitutional amendment

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