Voters in Kansas will decide the state’s future abortion policies.

For the first time in any state in the United States since the Supreme Court overruled Roe v. Wade last month, Kansas voters will decide on a constitutional amendment on Tuesday that will determine the future of abortion rights in their state.

Voters are asked to decide on a ballot question known as the Value Them Both Amendment, which asks whether the state constitution should continue to safeguard the right to an abortion. The proposed amendment amendment to the state constitution would do away with language stipulating reproductive rights and ask voters if they would rather leave the decision regarding abortion in the hands of the Republican-controlled legislature, which, according to pro-abortion groups, is almost certain to lead to the outright elimination or restriction of those rights.

By voting in favor of the measure, the state legislature would regain control of the matter and the right to an abortion would be removed from the state Constitution. Abortion rights will remain established in the state Constitution with a “no” vote on the proposal.

Those who oppose abortion claim that the Kansas ballot question offers a chance to put the decision in the hands of the people through elected state officials. Pro-abortion advocates fear that if the ballot initiative passes, existing rights would almost likely be eliminated or restricted in a state with more permissive laws than many of its neighbors.

Elizabeth Nash, a state policy analyst at the Guttmacher Institute, a research and policy organization that supports reproductive rights, recently said that Kansas lawmakers are saying that now that federal abortion rights have been overturned, we need to change our state constitution so that it no longer protects abortion rights, so we can go ahead and ban or restrict abortion now that we are legally allowed to. Abortion restrictions would be easily approved by the legislature if it were determined that the Kansas Constitution no longer clearly protects those rights.

Supporters of Value Them Both, a constitutional amendment that would strike down wording in the Kansas state constitution that guarantees the right to an abortion, rally before holding a campaign event in Shawnee on July 30, 2022.

AFP/Caitlin Wilson/Getty Images

The ballot question has been in the works for more than a year, but in the weeks following the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision in June, which ended the federal constitution’s right to an abortion, it has gained more relevance.

Mid-July saw the start of early voting in the state, and as of last Tuesday, more than twice as many voters had already cast early votes as there were at the same period in the last midterm primary election in 2018.

The measure’s vote on Tuesday is anticipated to be tight.

Although there hasn’t been much polling, the Kansas City-based company co/efficient discovered in a July survey that 47% of respondents said they planned to vote ‘yes’ on the question to remove the right to abortion from the Constitution and give the legislature the power to decide on abortion rights, while 33% said they planned to ‘no’. 10% of respondents were unsure. Both sides of the argument have spent millions of dollars on radio and television advertisements in Kansas.

The bill aims to overturn a 2019 Kansas Supreme Court decision that claimed that the state’s Constitution guaranteed the right to an abortion. By doing this, the state legislature would be able to enact regulations that would limit or outlaw abortion.

The timing and wording of the ballot issue are two of the many things that proponents of abortion rights allege are working against them.

One of their concerns is that they feel the ballot measure’s inclusion of language is intended to mislead voters. For instance, the language used on the ballot states that a yes vote would indicate that the Kansas state constitution does not mandate government funding of abortion, even though there is no such mandate and does not provide or guarantee a right to abortion. A “yes” vote would confirm that the people have the power to enact abortion laws through their elected state representatives and state senators, a power currently restricted by a 2019 court decision.

In order to maintain the status quo, proponents of abortion rights are in favor of voting against the measures.

Advocates for abortion rights also expressed concern that having the issue on the ballot during a primary rather than a general election would significantly reduce turnout for voters more likely to support reproductive rights, even though the secretary of states’ early voting data suggests that may not be the case.

Additionally, they have pointed out that non-affiliated voters in the state who aren’t permitted to vote in the major political parties’ primaries might not be aware that they can still cast ballots on the ballot question.

This attempt was designed in every manner possible to hide that ultimate objective, In a recent interview with NBC News, Ashley All, a spokeswoman for Kansas for Constitutional Freedom, a pro-abortion rights organization that has been assisting in organizing opposition to the amendment, said.

Proponents of abortion rights have claimed that now that Roe has been overturned, the stakes are too high to leave the decision to state GOP lawmakers. They cite a number of recently submitted laws that would limit or outright outlaw abortion, such as one introduced, which they claim will undoubtedly be brought up again in the state legislature in the event that the Kansas ballot initiative is approved.

Opponents of abortion, however, contend that letting the people determine the matter through their elected officials is a more democratic approach. The claim that they want stricter abortion legislation is widely denied.

Republican state Rep. Tory Marie Arnberger, who supported the measure and worked to get it on the August ballot, recently told NBC News that it is not a ban on abortion. I favor allowing each state to enact its own abortion laws. Since Roe v. Wade has been overturned, each state now has the freedom to decide what is best for itself. She continued: “I think it’s up to each state legislature to decide what’s best for their state.”

According to the Guttmacher Institute, abortion is permitted up until roughly the 22nd week of pregnancy in Kansas. According to state law, women seeking abortion care must abide by a number of restrictions, including a 24-hour waiting time before the procedure and parental consent for minors.

Even yet, the regulations are significantly less onerous than those in the states next to us. Following the Supreme Court decision in late June that effectively outlawed almost all abortion treatment in those states, laws that were almost immediately put into force in Missouri and Oklahoma.

At least 22 states have already outlawed abortion or will do so shortly. The new environment makes Kansas a regional outlier and a safe refuge for out-of-state and local women seeking abortion treatment, but if the bill passes, those benefits may be reduced or eliminated.

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