Dylan Lysen/Kansas News Service
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Today, Kansas voters will decide whether their state constitution should explicitly protect abortion. Protesters against the amendment have taken to the streets, while rallies in support are taking place at church shrines. It also prompted millions of dollars in campaign finance to flood into the state from across the country.
Proponents say the amendment does not ban abortion. They argue that it would correct what they see as the overreach of the state court by undoing some of the state’s previous abortion restrictions. For example, a law shot down in december that mandated specific health inspections for abortion providers could go into effect if voters amend the state constitution next week.
As the state races to vote, campaign arguments have been controversial and the vote seems tight.
“At the end of the day, the vast majority of Kansans are with us,” Mercedes Schlapp said at a recent rally at Central Christian Church in Wichita. Schlapp’s husband, Matt Schlapp is the president of the American Conservative Union. They argued that the vote simply puts abortion policy back in the hands of lawmakers.
“They understand the importance of this amendment to protect women and protect our unborn babies.”
But at least some polls don’t support that. According to a 2021 Kansas Speaks survey by Fort Hays State Universitymost Kansans support at least some access to abortion services.
Alesha Doan, an abortion policy expert at the University of Kansas, said the work of abortion opponents over the past 30 years has one goal in mind: a total ban on abortion in Kansas.
Demonstrations have erupted in even some of the most conservative communities in the western part of the state – Hays, Dodge City and Garden City.