Saturday, June 10, 2023

A Kansas vote will set the tone for what happens on abortion rights

Wichita, Cannes. In the past few weeks, Janelle Bogart has knocked on dozens of doors in the Wichita suburbs and reminded people of Tuesday’s election. The vote will decide whether to keep abortion legal in Kansas—a state that, against all odds, has become a valuable refuge for millions of people living in states where abortion is now illegal.

“It’s a really personal vote for me,” Bogart told me while campaigning in 103-degree heat. The 37-year-old is in sales, but uses her free time for Consensus for Constitutional Freedom, an abortion rights organization working against the proposed amendment.

“I don’t want a daughter and when she asks, ‘Where were you when Roe fell and Kansas took away abortion protection?’ I don’t want to say, ‘Well, we were really busy,'” Bogart said. “I want to be able to tell her, ‘Girl, I busted my ass trying to defend your right to choose.'”

,value them bothThe amendment, created by anti-abortion Christian groups, will be the first vote on abortion rights since the Supreme Court last month in Roe v. Wade, a 1973 decision that carried federal abortion rights. If the amendment is passed, it would remove protections for abortion care from the state’s constitution and open the door to a complete ban for anti-abortion lawmakers – a move Republicans have publicly denied. Caught on tape discussing, A complete abortion ban in Kansas would reduce access for people in Kansas as well as those in neighboring states.

Revision a. is in response to 2019 Kansas Supreme Court Decision The one who ruled the state’s constitution basically protects abortion rights. A yes vote on the amendment is a vote to eliminate those constitutional abortion protections, while a vote favors retaining the current protections.

“All eyes are on Kansas right now,” said Ashley Brink, director of the Trust Women’s Clinic in Wichita. “What happens here will set the tone for what we expect to see in the coming months, even years, with abortion decisions.”

Across Wichita, there are hundreds of lawn signs, bumper stickers and educational leaflets describing how passionate Consensus on both sides feel about abortion rights. The vote is likely to be a close, with 47% of potential primary voters saying they plan to vote for the amendment and 43% planning to vote against it. a recent survey,

Since Roe’s fall, just over a dozen states in the South and Midwest have severely restricted or restricted abortion, making Kansas an unlikely haven for abortion care. Texas, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Missouri and Arkansas all have total abortion restrictions in effect. Other states, including North Dakota, Nebraska, Wyoming and Iowa, are challenging the severe restrictions in court or waiting for the restrictions to take effect. Put all those states together and you have most of the Midwest and much of the South.

“At this point, Kansas is a geographically impossible sanctuary state with 50% of the nation’s geographically improbable state,” said Dr. Alison Block, a provider of the Trust Women’s Clinic, the same clinic where Dr. George Tiller provided abortion care. Was assassinated in 2009 by an anti-abortion extremist. Tiller’s clinic, once named Women’s Health Care Services, closed after her death until 2013, when the trust moved to Women. Some clinic workers and abortion rights activists pointed to Tiller’s legacy and her activism. Still located in downtown Wichita and within the walls of the Trust Women’s Clinic.

“At this point, Kansas seems like the geographically impossible sanctuary state for 50% of the country.”

– Dr. Alison Block, Trust Women’s Clinic

The fact that Kansas is now a refuge for abortion seekers is a testament to just how tight access is right now. Abortion is already heavily regulated in Kansas: it is banned after 22 weeks except to save a pregnant person’s life, and government funding for abortion care is illegal. There are only five clinics left in the state, and there are many other barriers to care, including 24-hour waiting periods, state-mandated ultrasounds and required religious counseling.

Kansas also has a long history of deeply intertwined and sometimes violent anti-abortion organizing, particularly in Wichita. In 1991, more than 2,000 anti-abortion activists were arrested in what has been called the “Summer of Mercy” after thousands traveled to Wichita for six weeks and blocked entrances to abortion clinics. Before Tiller’s death, anti-abortion extremists regularly subjected the doctor to harassment and violence, including shooting him in both arms and setting his Wichita clinic on fire.

But many consens who spoke with HuffPost reiterated the same line: Don’t underestimate us. Kansas has a rich heritage of progressive politics. Once dubbed “Bleeding Kansas”, it was the first free state in the Civil War. Kansas was also one of the first states to ratify the 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote. The state also has three Democratic female governors, including its current governor, Democrat Laura Kelly, who opposes the “Value Them Both” amendment.

“A lot of people really ignore Kansas, but I think most Kansans are really in favor of progressive history,” said Nigel Morton, abortion rights organizer at URGE: Unite for Reproductive and Gender Equality.

Language: Hindi The amendment is hard to analyze, which State Sen. Dina Sykes (D) told HuffPost was “to confuse people”.

Sykes said of the organization behind the Value Them Both amendments, “Cansons for Life was very deliberate in how they did it.” “They were actually raising the hands they thought would appear and the language they thought would pass away.” Sykes partly left the Republican Party in 2018, she said, as it was becoming “more and more extreme” on reproductive rights.

Cannes for Life did not respond to HuffPost’s multiple requests for an interview.

The vote also takes place during the primary election, which typically has fewer voters than the general election and often skews Republicans — another deliberate move, abortion rights advocates say. In a closed primary election, even if it is on the ballot, the vote is final.

About 44% of registered Kansas voters are Republican, 26% are Democrat and 29% are unaffiliated. “You have a group of people who are registered to vote but are not affiliated with any party and thus do not vote in partisan primaries. About 30% of voters in Kansas are not used to voting in August, said Ashley All, communications director at pro-choice group Consensus for Constitutional Freedom. “It’s a quick uphill battle for us.”

State Sen. Molly Baumgardner (R), who led the Senate push for the amendment, told HuffPost that Value Them both meant a “railing of common sense” that would make abortion safer despite the fact that the amendment would only remove protections. Takes abortion care.

“We as a state don’t want to be a destination state for late-term abortions,” Baumgardner said, although Kansas does ban abortions after 22 weeks. less than 4% Last year, cases of miscarriage in Kansas occurred between 17 and 21 weeks of pregnancy.

Dr. Iman Alsaden, Kansas abortion provider and chief medical officer of Planned Parenthood Great Plains, dismissed the notion that amendments are needed to make abortions safer.

“Abortion is one of the safest medical procedures we do in all of medicine. It’s safer than a colonoscopy; it’s safer than pulling your wisdom teeth. And it’s already highly regulated in the state of Kansas,” Alsaden said. Told. “There’s no way politicians can know how to make abortion care safer because they don’t even understand pregnancy.”

The door knocker Bogart finally called it a day, as the sun was setting around 8 p.m. When I asked her how she felt before the vote, she replied with a laugh, saying she was an eternal optimist. Is.

“We have a history of opposing the Kansas and a history of being very progressive,” she said. “I’m hoping that’s what’s going to happen here.”

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