TOPEKA, Kan. — Republican gubernatorial frontrunner, Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt, is revealing where he stands on the issue of abortion, and what could happen if the “Value Them Both” amendment passes in August.
If the amendment is approved, lawmakers in Kansas will be able to pass new regulations on abortions. A vote in favor of the amendment does not ban abortion, but some democrats fear that this could eventually lead to lawmakers taking those steps.
In an interview with Kansas Capitol Bureau on Wednesday, Schmidt was asked how he would respond if lawmakers were to pass an abortion ban or set restrictions.
“I think the priority needs to be to restore those laws already on the books, including the ban on dismemberment abortion, late-term abortion of pain-capable, unborn children,” Schmidt said. “Everybody wants to talk about the extreme examples or hypothetical cases, but the fact is this has all arisen in the context of a specific policy decision, and a specific lawsuit.”
A state Supreme Court ruling in 2019 struck down an Act banning dismemberment abortions, which is commonly used in the second term. The ruling established that the State Constitution contains the right to bodily autonomy, including the right to abortion.
“If this were to pass, we’d be right back to where we were prior to the Spring of 2019, which is the general view that the Kansas Constitution doesn’t address the issue of abortion,” Schmidt said. “I think that’s where most Kansans have been comfortable being all of these years. I recognize that there is a very vigorous discussion in our country right now. And that’s why I think it’s so important that we all pay sort of ‘laser-like’ attention to the decision voters make next Tuesday.”
Schmidt said that he plans to “vote yes” on Election Day, August 2. The Attorney General is expected to face-off with Kansas Governor Laura Kelly in November. Kelly’s said that she does not support the amendment and is a strong advocate of reproductive rights.
At an event last week, the governor noted that she’s anticipating lawmakers will look at “more restrictions” next year, whether the amendment passes or not.
“I just hope that I’m here to modify whatever comes forward,” Kelly told reporters.
As the vote on the “Value Them Both” amendment approaches, Schmidt said the decision on the amendment will be left to voters.
“Kansans are going to show us the path forward and it’s then up to policy makers to respect that decision,” he said.
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