TOPEKA, Kan. — A leaked Supreme Court opinion to overturn Roe v. Wade could fuel a push from some conservatives to ban abortion in Kansas, according to some political experts.
A bill introduced in March aims to virtually outlaw the majority of abortions in the state from taking place. As a critical vote on the “Value Them Both” amendment nears, experts say this could position Kansas to completely ban the practice in the state.
“They could pass a trigger law that said if the Value Them Both amendment passes, and Roe v. Wade is overturned, then abortion is illegal,” said political analyst Dr. Bob Beatty.
The state’s constitution currently recognizes the right to an abortion. However, a vote to pass the “Value Them Both” amendment gives lawmakers in Kansas power to pass laws that place restrictions on abortion.
The leaked Supreme Court opinion to overturn abortion rights at the federal level upset democrats and pro-choice activists groups concerned about the future impact of the decision.
Kansas Governor Laura Kelly, called the possible overturn of Roe v. Wade “regressive” in an interview Wednesday.
“There’s nothing that hurts the Kansas economy more than truly regressive policy… the SCOTUS ruling, if it stands, is truly regressive, and I think Kansans and others will be paying attention,” Kelly said.
It’s unclear whether action to pass an abortion ban will be considered before when Kansas lawmakers return May 23, as they await a state supreme court decision on a controversial redistricting map. However, Beatty said, if Roe v. Wade is officially overturned, there are several routes that legislators could take.
“Some states have these trigger laws, meaning that if Roe v. Wade is overturned…immediately abortion is banned in that state. Kansas does not, so they could do that… that could happen when they come back May 23,” Beatty said. “The other option is…the Legislature could call special session, if Roe v. Wade were overturned, and ban abortion before the gubernatorial election…and the third option is wait until after the gubernatorial election.”
“There’s just a lot of unknowns…and one of the biggest unknowns is does this blockbuster news out of Washington D.C. regarding Roe v. Wade… does it energize more the pro-choice side or the anti-abortion side…” Beatty said.