KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A week after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled there is no federal constitutional right to an abortion, sending the battle ground back to the states.
Kansas finds itself on the frontline of the fight. Three years ago, the Kansas Supreme Court ruled there is a state constitutional right to an abortion as part of the fundamental right to autotomy in health care, limiting lawmakers’ powers over the proceedure.
Kansas voters will ultimately decide what’s next for the state in the upcoming August 2 primary. Will voters decide the Value Them Both amendment mean stricter rules or an end to abortion in the state?
This week on 4Star Politics, you’ll hear both sides of the issue. FOX4’s John Holt and The Kansas City Star’s Dave Helling are joined by Danielle Underwood with Kansans for Life, and Ashley All with Kansans for Constitutional Freedom.
The first issue is understanding what the amendment will do if it’s passed. Underwood said it doesn’t ban abortions in Kansas. It bans state funding, or using taxpayer dollars, to pay for abortions.
“The point of the amendment is to return to the people our ability to have a say in the conversation about what are the right limits on abortion in our state. We know there is broad agreement on things like banning late-term abortions, third trimester abortions, and making sure we have things like safe clinics for women,” Underwood said. “Right now because of that 2019 State Supreme Court decision, that right to have any say and appropriate limits on the abortion industry has been removed from the people.”
If the majority of voters vote yes, the amendment would pass. That means lawmakers could ban abortions from the moment of conception, regardless of circumstance, or enact restrictions different than what Kansas has in place today.
“This returns to the people through our elected officials. We have a representational government, where we have the power to elect officials we think represent our views and will go and take those views and enact those. So that we can govern ourselves as Kansans. By doing that, we have put that back in the hands of the people,” Underwood said. “Right now, unelected judges are making the decision for us.”
Ashley All said the abortion issue is more complicated than that. Her group supports voting no on the issue.
“If you look at the language, it definitely opens the door for a ban. As you might know, abortion is already heavily regulated in Kansas. It has banned what they call late-term abortion. It’s already banned, an abortion after 22 weeks, it was already banned by the Kansas legislature,” All said. “Not only that, government funding is also banned and there are numerous other restrictions and regulations already in place, including mandatory waiting periods, mandatory ultrasounds, parental consent.”
All agrees if voters pass the amendment it will allow lawmakers to make the decisions that a woman should be allowed to make.
“What this amendment does, it hands the power to politicians to pass any law they want regarding abortion, including a ban completely, even in cases of rape, incest, and at risk of the life of the mother,” All said. “It is not hard to make that jump. A bill was already introduce this past legislative session that did just that.”
To hear more about the question and exactly what it means, watch the full episode in the video player at the top of the page.
If you’d like to read the full ballot language for yourself, it can be found by visiting the Kansas Secretary of State’s Website, and click on the blue ballot icon.
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FOX4 and The Kansas City Star are partnering to bring you 4Star Politics, a special venture with new episodes airing on FOX4 every Sunday at 10 a.m. and posted online at FOX4KC.com.