TOPEKA (KSNT) – Kansans will see three statewide ballot measures later this year in August, one of which will be titled the “No Right to Abortion in Constitution Amendment”.
What will this amendment really do if it is enacted and how will it impact abortion rights in the state of Kansas?
With the recent leak of a U.S. Supreme Court draft showing the court’s intent to overturn the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that protects the federal right to abortion on May 2, many Americans have questions as to how that will change abortion rights in their states. For Kansas, whether or not Roe v. Wade is overturned could result in a couple of scenarios for local residents according to Bob Beatty, 27 News Political Analyst.
“In 2019, the Kansas Supreme Court ruled that there is a right to an abortion in the Kansas bill of rights, a constitutional right,” Beatty said. “That means that the Legislature cannot ban abortion.”
This decision gave women the right to make their own decisions regarding an abortion procedure in Kansas, making abortions legal even if Roe v. Wade was overturned. However, Beatty said that it would be “likely” that Roe v. Wade will be overturned soon, leaving it up to Kansas voters to ultimately make a choice regarding abortion rights later this year on August 2.
The No Right to Abortion in Constitution Amendment, otherwise known as the Value Them Both Amendment, seeks to add the following language to the Kansas Constitution:
Regulation of abortion. Because Kansas value both women and children, the constitution of the state of Kansas does not require government funding of abortion and does not create or secure a right to abortion. To the extent permitted by the constitution of the United States, the people, through their elected state representatives and state senators, may pass laws regarding abortion, including, but not limited to, laws that account for circumstances of pregnancy resulting from rape or incest, or circumstances of necessity to save the life of the mother.Value Them Both Amendment
This amendment would not result in any immediate change regarding abortion laws in the state of Kansas. According to Beatty, it would simply get the ball rolling for Kansas lawmakers to then take action.
“If it passes, it doesn’t ban abortion,” Beatty said. “It just puts the abortion issue in the Legislature’s hands. If it passes, it gives the Legislature power to make abortion laws.”
Beatty went on to say that things might change in Kansas depending on what happens at the U.S. Supreme Court level.
“If this passed and Roe V. Wade is overturned… then the Kansas Legislature can ban abortion,” Beatty said. “If it passes, and Roe V. Wade is not overturned, the Legislature can pass some regulations but they cannot ban abortion because of Roe v. Wade at the national level.”
When asked who was responsible for the recent Supreme Court leak, Beatty said that, depending on the political parties involved, whoever leaked the draft could have had different reasons for doing so.
“If conservatives wanted to release it, they would probably want to lock in those justices,” Beatty said. “If a liberal clerk released it, they were probably just shocked and wanted to get people upset because it’s a controversial issue of course.”