Voters affirm right to abortion in deep-red Kansas

Kansas voters overwhelmingly voted to protect abortion rights in Tuesday election that would have restricted abortion access in the historically conservative state.

Tuesday’s election was the first opportunity voters had to express their thoughts on the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade, which triggered state-level abortion bans across the country.

Kansans voted “no” on an amendment to the state constitution that would have added language stating Kansas residents do not have a right to an abortion. The measure failed by more than 16 percentage points, according to preliminary results.

“This level of government overreach — literally interfering in the decisions a physician and patient make together — has resonated with people in Kansas,” said Emily Wales, president of Planned Parenthood Great Plains, which covers Kansas, Missouri, Arkansas and Oklahoma.

“It’s a scary moment to think that you or your loved one might be in a situation where it’s not up to you or your provider what care you can get and instead it’s up to the government and what they think you deserve.”

Statewide voter turnout was around 47 percent, according to preliminary results. A total of 908,745 people voted on the abortion amendment, out of 1,950,971 registered voters. Preliminary results also show 18.6 percent of people who voted were unaffiliated with a political party.

Kansas is now one of the few Republican-dominated states where abortion remains legal. Abortion was banned in neighboring Oklahoma, Missouri and South Dakota.

In November, Vermont will vote on a measure to codify abortion rights in the state’s constitution. Michigan will likely consider a similar measure in November as well.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Anna Beahm

Anna Beahm |

I report on the intersection of religion and sexuality in America. Follow me on Twitter @_AnnaBeahm

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