People have been expressing their anger against the Value Them Both movement in Kansas this year with the overturning of Roe v. Wade by the U.S. Supreme Court on June 24. This action by SCOTUS puts the decision of laws regulating abortion back into the hands of each individual state, including Kansas.
Citizens of the Sunflower State will have the option of voting ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ on the Value Them Both amendment later this year on August 2. This has led some to vandalize or steal signs showing support for Value Them Both, often by writing ‘No’ on the signs with spray paint.
Both churches and individuals have been targeted by these incidents. Mackenzie Haddix, the Deputy Communications Director of Value Them Both, told 27 News that these reports have come from across the state. She listed Baxter Springs, Wichita, Overland Park, and Garden City as some of the places where the signs have been stolen and vandalized. 27 News also found a sign that had been spray-painted on June 28 at the Most Pure Heart of Mary Catholic Church in Topeka.
“Kansans are battling to pass the Value Them Both Amendment because too many voices have been silenced; mothers, their precious babies and the voters of Kansas. Those stealing and vandalizing signs are trying to silence us because they know that we are a part of the largest grassroots mobilization in Kansas history. Simply put: when the people speak, the abortion industry loses.”Mackenzie Haddix
While the signs are usually replaced following these incidents, property damage has been shown to occur in some cases. Lieutenant Manuel Munoz with the Topeka Police Department confirmed that one person had filed a police report in the Capital City regarding the theft or vandalism of a Value Them Both sign.
Melinda Lavon, a member of the Vote No organization in Kansas, also told 27 News that signs advocating for a negative vote towards Value Them Both have also been stolen and vandalized. She said that this has mostly been seen in places like Pittsburg and Kansas City.
Ashley All, a member of Kansans for Constitutional Freedom, urged Kansans to not engage in sign theft or vandalism in a statement given to 27 News.
“There are strong differences in beliefs when it comes to this issue, but Kansans on both sides should not resort to theft or threats,” All said. “Instead, Kansans should try to listen and find common ground – the vast majority of Kansans agree that people should be able to make private medical decisions for themselves, without government interference. Women are concerned about their constitutional rights being taken away. They are worried about their lives and their health. We should protect the rights of our daughters, family members, friends, and neighbors by voting no.”
The Kansas Supreme Court made the abortion procedure a constitutional right in 2019. This decision is still in place today and gives women the right to make their own decisions regarding their bodies in Kansas. It also means abortions are still legal even though Roe v. Wade has been overturned.
The Value Them Both amendment will need a majority of Kansans to approve of it in August in order to pass the discussion to the Legislature. If it is voted for positively, then the Legislature will have the authority to make abortion laws.
The language that the Value Them Both amendment seeks to add to the Kansas Constitution is as follows:
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
According to the Internal Revenue Service, the law prohibits political campaign activity by charities and churches. However, Revenue Ruling 2007-41 states that churches and all 501(c)(3) organizations can stay within the law regarding the ban on political activity. Churches and other 501(c)(3) organizations can engage in a limited amount of lobbying, including ballot measures, and advocate for or against issues that are in the political arena.
The last day to register to vote in Kansas is July 12.