Voters in Kansas Uphold State Abortion Rights, Defeat GOP Political Hypocrisy

by Wall Street Rebel - Michael London | 08/03/2022 8:42 AM
Voters in Kansas Uphold State Abortion Rights, Defeat GOP Political Hypocrisy

The "Value Them Both" proposal, which would have modified the state constitution, was defeated by a majority of Kansans. In the deep conservation state, voters rejected abortion restrictions, finally maintaining women's rights.

 

When the Supreme Court voted on June 24, 2022, to repeal a federal right to abortion that had been in place for the preceding 50 years, the Democrats had little choice except to rely on popular resistance. However, no one could anticipate whether or not the outrage over Roe v. Wade would transfer into votes in the elections until today. Especially in a state with a mighty stronghold of GOP politics.

Tonight in Kansas, Americans received their first sense of that answer, and it was a landslide triumph for abortion rights. The Americans got their first inkling of that response in Kansas tonight. An amendment that would have given the legislature of that state, which Republicans control, the ability to outlaw abortion was soundly defeated by voters there. At this stage in the election, more than 95 percent of the precincts had reported their results, and the "no" vote was ahead by roughly 18 points. The unexpected outcome ensures that abortion will continue to be legal in a Republican stronghold, making it one of the few states in the area that does not already have a conservative majority that have prohibited the practice.

Politically, the decision is certain to have repercussions throughout the nation and support the Democratic Party's efforts to capitalize on the overturning of the Roe v. Wade decision in the next midterm election for Congress. It will boost the party's expectations that the outrage over the Supreme Court's decision would count more than worries about inflation and the leadership of President Joe Biden, which will help the Democrats to keep their slim majority on Capitol Hill. Elise Higgins, a longtime Kansan director of reproductive rights at the State Innovation Exchange, a progressive advocacy organization, told me that "this win tonight proves that abortion is popular in many states, not just on the coasts."

Since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in its ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization, tonight marked the first time voters had the opportunity to cast their opinion on abortion in a direct and unfiltered manner. Public and private polls had revealed that the election was close, and in the last days of the campaign, opponents of the anti-abortion amendment were cautiously confident that they may pull off an upset win. However, none of them anticipated the landslide that really took place.

Long before the Supreme Court handed down the decision, Republican lawmakers in Kansas had placed a constitutional amendment on the ballot. They timed the vote to coincide with a partisan primary election in August, which they hoped would benefit the cause of restricting access to abortion services. Over the course of more than a year, it seemed that that choice would be profitable. However, the ruling handed down on June 24 in the Dobbs case energized proponents of abortion rights, who flooded the most populated counties in Kansas with television advertisements that targeted not just Democratic votes but also independent voters and Republican voters.

A judgment by the Kansas Supreme Court in 2019 that the state's constitution protected abortion rights would have been essentially rendered null and void had the amendment been passed. It would have prohibited public financing of abortions. If the ballot initiative had been successful, the state legislature of Kansas, which Republicans control, would have been free to follow the lead of their colleagues in other conservative states such as Missouri, Oklahoma, and Texas in outlawing abortion altogether. Due to the fact that Republicans have an overwhelming majority in the Kansas legislature, they may be able to override any vetoes issued by the state's Democratic governor, Laura Kelly.

Utilizing polling data collected over the course of the last several years, the "Vote No" campaign maintained that despite the Republican leanings of the state, support for abortion rights spread almost as far in Kansas as it did in the country as a whole. According to Higgins, "the vast majority of Kansans want abortion to continue to be safe, legal, and accessible."

Opponents of abortion in Kansas did not put forth much of an attempt to refute that allegation. Instead of publicly campaigning for voters to give them the right to ban abortion, supporters of the "Yes" side argued that the ballot initiative, which was given the name "Value Them Both Amendment," would merely remove the decision-making authority from the courts and return it to the people and their representatives in government. Canvassers were given the directive to make it very apparent to voters that the amendment itself would not criminalize abortion, even though adopting the amendment would allow the legislature to create such legislation if the GOP controlled it.

At times, pro-life supporters obscured their message by speaking in the language of their opponents, employing terms like "choice" and "regulation" in their arguments. This effort veered into outright misinformation a day before the election, when thousands of voters, including Kathleen Sebelius, a former Democratic governor of Kansas, received a text message warning that women in the state "are losing their choice" on abortion. This message was sent by a group that claimed to be working on behalf of Kansas women. According to the text, voting "yes" on the amendment would provide women with the opportunity to make their own decisions. "The best way to safeguard women's health is to vote YES." Although the source of the SMS could not be determined, The Washington Post stated that a former ultra-conservative lawmaker led the organization that was responsible for sending them from Kansas.

On Monday, the SMS message was sent to the voters' phones, and Higgins was one of them. She informed me that she had sent "a strongly worded message" to the number in question but had not received any further reaction. Higgins expressed his anger by saying, "I was extremely outraged." "It was an integral component of the misleading methods that the anti-abortion movement is adopting in this struggle," the author writes. "The anti-abortion movement is utilizing these tactics to win."

However, Higgins also shared with me that she was optimistic, stating that she saw the desperation that was inherent in the false writings as proof that proponents of abortion rights had already succeeded in overcoming their most significant obstacle. They successfully got voters to show up for what was anticipated to be a dull primary over the summer, a primary in which many voters would not have had any incentive to participate otherwise. That first triumph was reinforced the minute the polls started to close tonight, when Kansas' secretary of state, Scott Schwab, indicated turnout would likely break expectations and match when of a presidential general election. This was the moment that the initial victory was confirmed.

After that, the issue that needed to be answered was whether or not an increase in excitement would be sufficient to carry the abortion-rights side in a state that Donald Trump had won by 15 points only two years before. A few hours later, the solution presented itself, and it wasn't even close to being a close call. Now, Democrats will attempt to repeat that successful tactic in another long-shot campaign: the fight to maintain control of Congress in November.

 

                      Kornacki Shows How Deeply Anti-Abortion Rights Activists Lost In Kansas

 

 

 

 

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