Lee Heidhues 8.2.2022
Kansas, home of The Wizard of Oz. The voters have spoken loud and clear to uphold a woman’s right to control her body.
This is a good omen for the Choice movement which is shaken, stunned, angered and spurred to action by the Reactionary US Supreme Court ruling destroying the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision.
The Kansas vote sends a clear message to the Reactionaries. Their patriarchal take down of a basic woman’s right was a call to battle.
OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — Kansas voters resoundingly decided against removing the right to abortion from the State Constitution, according to The Associated Press, a major victory for the abortion rights movement in one of America’s reliably conservative states.
The defeat of the ballot referendum was the most tangible demonstration yet of a political backlash against the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark decision that had protected abortion rights throughout the country.
The decisive margin came as a surprise, and after frenzied campaigns with both sides pouring millions into advertising and knocking on doors throughout a sweltering final campaign stretch.
“The voters in Kansas have spoken loud and clear: We will not tolerate extreme bans on abortion,” said Rachel Sweet, the campaign manager for Kansans for Constitutional Freedom, which led the effort to defeat the amendment.told supporters that a willingness to work across partisan lines and ideological differences helped their side win.“The voters in Kansas have spoken loud and clear: We will not tolerate extreme bans on abortion,” Ms. Sweet said.
At a campaign watch party in suburban Overland Park, abortion rights supporters yelled with joy when MSNBC showed their side with a commanding lead.
“We’re watching the votes come in, we’re seeing the changes of some of the counties where Donald Trump had a huge percentage of the vote, and we’re seeing that just decimated,” said Jo Dee Adelung, 63, a Democrat from Merriam, Kan., who knocked on doors and called voters in recent weeks.
She said she hoped the result sent a message that voters are “really taking a look at all of the issues and doing what’s right for Kansas and not just going down party lines.”
The vote in Kansas, three months before the midterm elections, was the first time American voters weighed in directly on the issue of abortion since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade this summer.
The referendum, watched closely by national figures on both sides of the abortion debate, took on added importance because of Kansas’ location, abutting states where abortion is already banned in nearly all cases. More than $12 million has been spent on advertising, split about evenly between the two camps. The amendment, had it passed, would have removed abortion protections from the State Constitution and paved the way for legislators to ban or restrict abortions.
“We’ve been saying that after a decision is made in Washington, that the spotlight would shift to Kansas,” said David Langford, a retired engineer from Leawood, Kan., who wants the amendment to pass, and who reached out to Protestant pastors to rally support.
The push for an amendment was rooted in a 2019 ruling by the Kansas Supreme Court that struck down some abortion restrictions and found that the right to an abortion was guaranteed by the State Constitution. That decision infuriated Republicans, who had spent years passing abortion restrictions and campaigning on the issue. They used their super majorities in the Legislature last year to place the issue on the 2022 ballot.
Top photo: Margaret Hamilton and Judy Garland in ‘The Wizard of Oz’, 1939.