On Thursday, the Kansas State Senate voted to pass a measure that will put an anti-abortion amendment on the ballot in 2022, asking voters to decide if the state constitution should say that there is no right to abortion, leaving the power to regulate abortion to the legislature.
If passed, Kansas would join the four states that have added similar anti-abortion amendments to their constitutions since 2014. If challenged, laws like these could make their way through the court system and eventually to the Supreme Court, which could offer the conservative majority a chance to overturn Roe v. Wade.
Elizabeth Nash, lead policy analyst at the reproductive rights research group Guttmacher Institute, explained that states that pass these types of anti-abrotion measures in their constitutions go on to create strict restrictions around abortion care.
“The big picture is that this is part of the effort to undermine abortion rights nationally,” Nash said. “If abortion rights are diminished at the federal level, that opens up the door for bans at the state level. These kinds of ballot initiatives have the potential to be increasingly damaging for abortion rights and access to these services.”
Julie A. Burkhart, founder and chief executive of Trust Women, which has abortion clinics in Wichita and Oklahoma, expressed that it was misleading for legislaters to say that the ballot measure was not a ban on abortion, because “it absolutely is.”
“It will allow to the legislature to put burdensome, punitive laws into place that would further penalize people who are trying to access abortion care,” she said.
Sources: Washington Post 1/28/21; KTUL 1/29/21; ABC News 1/28/21