Kansas voters block attempt to ban abortion in state constitutional amendment vote

“This level of government overreach — literally meddling in the decisions doctor and patient make together — resonated with people in Kansas,” she said. “It’s scary to think that you or your loved one could find yourself in a situation where it doesn’t depend on you or your provider what help you get, but instead depends on the government and what they think you deserve.” .

The turnout in the primaries also sharply exceeded the usual level on Tuesday, and in some districts was close to the turnout usually seen in presidential elections. The in-person early vote, which tends to favor the Democrats, was also close 250 percent higher than in the last midterm primaries in 2018, when both Democrats and Republicans competed in gubernatorial races and mail-in ballots more than doubled.

The no campaign also outperformed in fairly conservative areas like eastern Shawnee County, a few points ahead of President Joe Biden’s 2020 performance there.

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

“Abortion is not a partisan issue – it is a trap that people fall into,” Ashley All, spokesperson for the Kansas Organization for Constitutional Freedom, told POLITICO. “It’s just not how most Americans or most Kansas people think about this issue.”

The results were also welcomed by abortion rights groups across the country, which saw the referendum defeat in Kansas as a blueprint for future efforts in cities and states across the country. The vote also dispelled the notion that the abortion issue is a stronger motivator for conservative voters and could serve as a warning to Republican lawmakers across the country that Caviar the decision could generate significant backlash in the coming months and years.

“Reproductive freedom is the winning issue now and in November,” said NARAL Pro-Choice America President Mini Timmaraju. “Anti-choice lawmakers take note: voters have spoken and they will be at the ballot box to oppose efforts to limit reproductive freedom.”

This decision means statewide abortion clinics can continue to serve not only Kansas residents, but Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas, and other states that banned the procedure after Caviar have fallen, many of whom have traveled to Kansas in recent weeks. The anti-abortion campaign seized on this trend, ad warning that the state would become an “abortion place” like California if the amendment was not passed.

The referendum results particularly shocked the state because the amendment campaign had some structural advantages on Tuesday, and they were ahead in recent polls.

Not only is Kansas an all-red state that has twice voted for President Donald Trump, but a landslide Republican legislature has decided to schedule the vote in a primary rather than a general election. Turnout is typically much lower in August and favors the Republicans, who have more competitive primaries than the Democrats in Kansas. And many progressive college students go away for the summer.

Student activists who campaigned for the repeal of the amendment said they were motivated by what they saw as a behind-the-scenes attempt to stifle their voices.

“It was intentional and I think young people have taken note and realized that there are political structures that can overwhelm us,” said Donovan Dillon, a sophomore at the University of Kansas who helped run the country-western theme. Vote for Ney’s campaign against the amendment. “When I turned to my friends and asked: “Do you want to come on canvas this weekend?” everyone was ready – even friends who had not been involved in politics before.”

The “Appreciate Them Both” amendment became rocket fuel for the usually sleepy primaries. Hundreds of volunteers from across the country converged across the state to knock on hundreds of thousands of doors. Both parties have raised and spent millions of dollars on advertising, mailing lists, telephone banking and other outreach efforts, much of it from the anti-abortion Catholic Church and the pro-abortion rights organization Planned Parenthood.

But while the state has served as a proxy war for abortion rights groups at the national level in the post-Caviar America, the campaigns also had a distinctly Kansas flavor.

On Saturday, outside the state capital in Topeka, people protesting the amendment waved banners covered in sunflowers while speakers on the steps of the Capitol invoked the state motto “Ad astra per aspera” – to the stars through adversity. Local businesses down the street showed Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz urging her Kansas colleagues to vote no.

The final days leading up to the vote were also marked by tension and confusion.

Some lawn signs of the Appreciate Them Both campaign had NO aerosols painted in black capital letters. The Catholic Churches are the main sponsors of the anti-abortion campaign. also vandalizedwhile demonstrators for abortion rights were under threat of arrest.

On Saturday, a pro-abortion group marched back and forth on the sidewalks of Lawrence – a progressive college town – yelling at passers-by, “Don’t kill babies.”

On Sunday, an 18-year-old anti-abortion activist who traveled from Texas to volunteer with Students for Life. said she was physically assaulted a resident knocking on doors in the Kansas City suburb of Leawood. She filed a police report and posted a video that does not show the actual incident, but shows a resident screaming and then giving her the finger.

On Monday, several residents alerted the state ACLU that they had received a misleading robot text from an unknown number suggesting a yes vote would protect access to abortion.

“Women in Kansas are losing their right to choose reproductive rights,” the messages said, according to screenshots provided by POLITICO. “Voting YES will give women a choice.”

Former Democratic governor Kathleen Sebelius received the texts and said in a statement that she was not surprised by the tactics.

“The anti-choice movement has lied to Kansas voters for decades,” she said. “This act of desperation will not prevent Kansas voters from defending their constitutional rights and freedoms.”

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

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

“She can do what she wants. She’s grown up,” he said. “But I am saying that if we take this to the legislature, I will no longer have the right to vote – none. And that’s what it does.”

One of his neighbors, Edianna Yantis, told POLITICO that her “Vote Yes” was recently stolen from her front yard and she suspected her son was trying to convince her to vote no.

“He said, ‘Mom, I don’t like abortions, but that means they’re going to cancel all abortions.’ I told him, “You need to do research,” but he said he did it,” she said with a sad smile.

Ultimately, despite the state’s conservative views, the amendment was deemed too far-fetched by voters.

And while younger voters in the state are leaning towards more progressive views, the failure of the proposal is also fueled by older Kansasans, like Barbara Lawson, who remembers her previous life. Caviar f. Wade.

When Kansas constitutional liberty campaigners approached her on Monday to persuade her to vote against the amendment, Lawson shared that she had a child when she was 17 after she was raped.

“I don’t know if I would [had an abortion] because I had no choice – abortion was illegal. It was very hard,” she said. “Now I’m afraid they’re going to ban all abortion again and we’ll be left in the dark ages.”

In the run-up to Tuesday’s election, there were signs that voters’ views on abortion were more subtle than their partisan views. July vote, for example, found that a third of voters did not support any restrictions on abortion, while only 9 percent said they preferred a complete ban. As well as 2021 survey conducted by Fort Hayes State University found that more than 50 percent of Kansas residents agreed with the statement, “The Kansas government should not make any rules about the circumstances under which women can have abortions.”

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