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Kansas Voters Reject Pro-Life Constitutional Amendment

August 3, 2022

Kansas voters rejected by a wide margin a constitutional amendment that would have allowed the state legislature to restrict or ban abortion on Tuesday.

The vote was 59 to 41 percent against the amendment, according to the Kansas Secretary of State.

Rural counties voted for the pro-life amendment, as expected, but not nearly as heavily as cities and suburbs voted against it. One extreme example:  Douglas County, which includes the city of Lawrence, where the University of Kansas is, went 81 to 19 percent against the amendment.

It was the first statewide vote on abortion since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade on June 24. The Kansas state election took place Tuesday, August 2 — 39 days after the U.S. Supreme Court’s Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Services decision.

Kansas is a heavily Republican state, though not as conservative as its neighbor Oklahoma, which has banned abortion. The governor, for instance, is a pro-abortion Democrat.

Even so, the state legislature leans pro-life, and was expected to restrict or possibly ban abortion if the state constitutional amendment won approval. 

The proposed Value Them Both amendment would have flipped an April 2019 decision by the Kansas Supreme Court that declared a right to abortion in the Kansas Constitution, which doesn’t mention abortion but does have an equal-rights clause that sounds similar to the all-men-are-created-equal statement in the Declaration of Independence. The state’s highest court, which leans left, found that the framers and ratifiers of the state constitution meant “to protect every person’s right to personal autonomy — and this right enables a woman to make decisions regarding her body, health, family formation, and family life, including the decision whether to continue a pregnancy.”

The court struck down two abortion restrictions passed by the state legislature, finding that “this right to personal autonomy is fundamental and governmental regulation of abortion is constitutional only if it passes a test of strict scrutiny” and passes a test of “a compelling government interest and government action that is narrowly tailored to that interest.”

Abortion opponents have argued that the high court’s decision could eventually lead to the invalidating of all of Kansas’s abortion restrictions. They proposed an amendment to the state constitution that stated:


§ 22. Regulation of abortion. Because Kansans 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.


Abortion supporters crowed over the result.

“This truly a historic day for Kansas and for America. Freedom has prevailed,” said Kansans for Constitutional Freedom, a pro-abortion group that opposed the amendment, by Twitter.

Value Them Both Coalition, a pro-life group that supported the proposed constitutional amendment, called the vote “a temporary setback.”

“Sadly, the mainstream media propelled the left’s false narrative, contributing to the confusion that misled Kansans about the amendment. While the outcome is not what we hoped, our movement and campaign have proven our resolve and commitment. We will not abandon women and babies,” the Value Them Both Coalition said via Twitter.

Kansas will now “become an abortion destination,” the coalition said. Abortion is now illegal in neighboring Oklahoma and Missouri, and some women seeking abortions have traveled to Kansas from Texas, which has Oklahoma in between.


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